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Using Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) and Slack: A Case Study of Coordination in Large-Scale Distributed Agile
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  • Viktoria Stray ,
  • Nils Brede Moe ,
  • Henrik Vedal ,
  • Marthe Berntzen
Viktoria Stray
University of Oslo, University of Oslo

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Nils Brede Moe
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Henrik Vedal
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Marthe Berntzen
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Today, many large-scale software projects have members working from home, which has changed the way teams coordinate work. To better understand coordination in this setting, we conducted a case study through which we examined two teams in a large-scale agile project by observing meetings and conducting 17 interviews. Through the lens of Relational Coordination Theory (RCT), we analyzed the use of the goal-setting framework Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) and the collaboration tool Slack. Slack was used for frequent, timely, and problem-solving communication and, and its use decreased the number of planned meetings. However, discussions often started on Slack and continued in virtual ad-hoc meetings. The use of OKRs facilitated knowledge sharing, helped the teams align their goals, and provided inter-team insights. The main implication of our research is that projects using OKRs need to support project members, especially in formulating the key results that align and motivate the teams to work toward the same mission.