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The Steel Chain of the Adaptive Enterprise that Builds in Resilience and Adaptability

In the prior posts, we discussed the four organizational capabilities:

  1. Strategic Planning

  2. Planning & Budgeting

  3. Delivery Excellence

  4. Data-Driven Learning

We also discussed the three critical links between the four organizational capabilities being:

  • Link 1: Strategy informs planning

  • Link 2: Planning and budgeting support stable delivery

  • Link 3: Delivery enables data-driven learning

Build in Resiliency and Adaptability through Quarterly Performance Reviews

Steel Chain of the Adaptive Enterprise
figure 1: The steel chain of the adaptive enterprise

The four business capabilities stand together. A verticle slice of value delivered via business outcomes passing through the four business capabilities of strategic planning, planning and budgeting, delivery excellence, and data-driven learning form a steel chain; unbreakable but can bend through vigilant monitoring and adjustment throughout the year.

Strategy Informs Annual Strategic OKRs

A yearly strategy establishes an outline for the business over one to three years. This plan is further formed with the executive business review team when discussing their goals or Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).

The OKRs should be set annually and inform the work of each part of the organization. Annual OKRs ensure that all teams work towards a common goal in a coordinated fashion to ensure the organization can align with its objectives. Each team should have specific goals and tasks tied to their OKR to help them measure progress. Quarterly business reviews ensure the teams stay on track and adjust as needed.

Additionally, quarterly performance reviews should also focus on building organizational resilience and adaptability by looking at internal and external trends, understanding changes in customer behaviors or needs, and exploring opportunities for experimentation or innovation.

Annual OKRs Inform Quarterly Tactical OKRs

Establishing and measuring quarterly objectives with OKRs keeps everyone focused on the same goals. This technique guarantees that all team members are working towards a common purpose.

At the same time, linking quarterly OKRs to annual OKRs helps create a sense of connection between the current quarter and the future direction of the business. This structure allows teams to progress on their yearly objectives while allowing for necessary adjustments based on changing market conditions or customer needs. Quarterly tactical OKRs can also help identify areas where an organization is underperforming or has room for growth to reach annual goals.

Finally, quarterly business reviews using the tactical OKRs should consider any necessary changes needed to align the organization's strategy with current conditions and market needs. By regularly evaluating and updating objectives, teams can focus on essential tasks while building resiliency and adaptability in the system.

Quarterly OKRs inform Prioritization and Sequencing

Quarterly Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) for prioritization and sequencing allow teams to plan their projects and tasks efficiently by breaking down the year-long objectives into smaller, achievable goals for each quarter. Aligning to quarterly results ensures that everyone focuses on progress and milestones, which allows for more transparent feedback between teams. It also encourages a sense of accountability since each team member can track their progress against the agreed-upon objectives. We also ensure that allocating resources towards the activities will have the most impact throughout the year rather than just reacting to urgent tasks.

Planning Informs Continuous Delivery

Planning is essential for successful continuous delivery. Make a plan that includes what you must do and the resources you need to deliver a product or service. Having a plan helps organizations deliver products and services consistently. We can fix issues more quickly if we find them before they happen.

Continuous delivery is a process by which organizations deliver products and services continuously rather than in large batches. By planning, an organization can ensure that what they need to do is mapped out appropriately and that people and resources are available to complete the tasks. A plan allows teams to be more responsive when incidents or issues arise and have confidence that they can deliver on set objectives. Additionally, having a plan in place also allows teams to try new things while at the same time being aware of any risks involved with the project. Finally, planning prevents teams from getting overwhelmed by tasks or any unforeseen challenges during development. Planning is vital for successful continuous delivery and helps ensure the organization can deliver products and services efficiently.

Continuous Delivery Enables Business Outcomes

Businesses can reach their targets quicker and more safely with continuous delivery. This process ensures that software changes are expeditiously delivered to users while minimally disrupting existing operations.

Continuous delivery helps organizations quickly and reliably deploy software to users while minimizing the risk of disruption to existing operations. By deploying new software features incrementally, teams can monitor each release and respond immediately if any issues arise. Frequent deployments allow for applying this adaptation language to any business or organization, large or small. Additionally, having a strategy for deploying software quickly and reliably enables teams to reduce costs associated with manual processes such as testing, packaging, and deployment of updates.

Continuous delivery allows organizations to experiment with new features and services while meeting customer expectations. Finally, continuous delivery will enable businesses to respond more quickly to market needs, giving them a competitive edge. In this way, continuous delivery enables businesses to reach their targets in a shorter time frame with minimal risk.

Business Outcomes Inform Metrics and KPIs

We use the progress made in business to determine if we are achieving our quarterly key results. Additionally, based on the progress made, we can identify which KPIs can be helpful to metrics for predicting a particular outcome.

Metrics and KPIs inform the decision-making process in continuous delivery. By tracking progress against business outcomes, teams can identify which strategies and activities led to successful results and which require improvement. Evaluating business outcomes against metrics allows groups to adjust accordingly to reach their desired objectives.

Additionally, metrics and KPIs measure the success or failure of new features or services. Understanding the cause of the win or loss allows teams to identify which areas need more attention and adjust their strategy accordingly. Finally, using metrics and KPIs, businesses can gain insight into customer behavior and market trends that inform product decisions. By tracking the progress against quarterly OKRs, teams can make smarter decisions about optimizing their continuous delivery.

Metrics and KPIs Inform Progress and Performance

Using metrics and KPIs is a powerful way to measure the advancements made and identify areas of improvement. This feedback loop helps create a picture of success that allows continual growth and optimization.

By tracking metrics and KPIs, teams can monitor their progress against specific objectives and adjust their strategies accordingly. Additionally, by monitoring performance, teams can identify areas of improvement to meet business goals better. Monitoring performance includes analyzing customer feedback or measuring the success of a new feature launch.

Metrics and KPIs provide insight into how customers use the product and can inform decisions about product direction. Data allows teams to decide what features and services continue or sunset to give the best user experience possible. By monitoring progress against quarterly OKRs, teams can ensure they are continually improving their products and services.

Actual Business Outcomes inform Quarterly Calibration

Collecting and interpreting data for your upcoming quarter is crucial to the success of any organization, as it will guarantee that your business stays on course and continues its expansion.

By tracking actual business outcomes against the tactical OKRs, teams inform their strategic decisions and set realistic goals for the upcoming quarter. Additionally, by understanding current trends in customer behavior and market forces, teams ensure they make the best decisions to reach their objectives. Finally, actual business outcomes provide valuable insight into the effectiveness of current strategies and help teams identify any areas that need improvement. Validating against actual business outcomes allows groups to adjust as required and ensure they are on track for success in their upcoming quarter.


An adaptive enterprise operates quarterly, emphasizing four key organizational capabilities: strategic planning, budgeting and planning, delivery excellence, and data-driven learning. When these four facets of the enterprise align and work together seamlessly, it results in an exceptional organization that can grow and thrive over time. Applying this adaptation language to any business or organization, large or small, is possible. By structuring an operational schedule around the four core competencies of adaptive organizations – setting clear objectives and analyzing past success – you can create a robust system of continuous improvement that will undoubtedly benefit your business now and in the future. While it may require some adaptation to reflect the unique needs of your business, embracing this organic approach is well worth the effort for ambitious growth.

The steel chain of an adaptive enterprise is a powerful tool that helps organizations to stay current and competitive. This process requires harnessing the power of strategy, OKRs, planning, metrics, and KPIs to ensure success. By leveraging the continuous delivery cycle, teams can drive tangible business outcomes with agility and resilience. With quarterly business reviews, organizations can review progress and adjust to reach higher heights. When building an adaptive enterprise with a steel chain, you ensure that execution ties to strategy.

Dedicate your organization to exceeding in execution and delivery while always keeping sight of the fact that data-driven learning offers invaluable insight into any mistakes made. By taking a gradual, strategic approach and beginning with quarterly closed-loop reviews, you can establish an adaptive cycle that will lead to success!

In my next posts, I'll continue on this thread with the following topics, be sure to follow us at Scaled OKRs to get notified of these posts:

  1. OKRs and Agile, I don't care, but...

  2. The 3 Critical Links between the 4 Organizational Capabilities

  3. ✅The Steel Chain of the Adaptive Enterprise that builds in resilience and adaptability

  4. Anticipating Issues with Data-Driven Insights

  5. Adaptive Leadership

Contact us below if you'd like to align and drive your adaptive enterprise.

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