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How Dashlane uses Agile and OKR to scale product and growth

Originally published:|Last updated:|Frederic Rivain

A few years ago, Dashlane decided to move to Agile software development. At that time, it essentially meant adopting the Scrum project methodology inspired by the Agile Manifesto. But that was only the start of the Agile journey at Dashlane.

As the company grew, we went through several steps of change, always trying to adapt our organization to best fit our needs and aspirations.

Scrum is an Agile framework that helps you organize teams and projects at the operational level, but it needs to be backed up by strong technical foundation and practices. We have used the inspiration of Extreme Programming (XP)  for that.

On top of our Scrum practices, we added 2 tools: a roadmap and a portfolio of projects. This helped give alignment and clarity to the teams. You can read more about that evolution in a previous blog post about tools to scale your team’s Agile development.

We were then faced with the challenge to try and evolve our strategy in the Agile way. How do you transform a strategy process that was essentially top-down to something more aligned with Agile?

OKR was our way of attacking the problem.

What is OKR?

OKR is a Goal and Performance framework, designed by Intel, and promoted by Google and Silicon Valley companies. It is simple in principle, but quite complex to do the right way.

O stands for Objective. You define qualitative objectives, that need to be simple to remember and inspiring. For each O, you attach 1 to 3 KR (Key Results): quantitative metrics that you measure to validate your progress towards your goals.

There are different approaches to OKR. You can use them for individual performance, but at Dashlane we decided to use them to define the yearly Company strategy and quarterly Team objectives.

OKR have a huge impact on the whole organization. It forces everybody to be more business-driven. It evolved our Roadmap process to something with a stronger focus on business impact, as well as a more bottom-up approach.

Setting up OKR came with challenges and we have our fair share of fails, but we progressively try to overcome obstacles to better manage our objectives and be more efficient as a company.

The next big move was changing our Team Organization. We were originally organized by Platform team (iOs team, Desktop team, Server team…). This organization was reaching its limits as the product and engineering teams scaled and our business grew. So we decided to switch to an organization of Business Teams (inspired by the Spotify model of Feature Teams). Now each team includes the various skill sets and the different platforms and manages their own business scope and goals, associated to their OKR.

I shared our experience recently at and Agile Conference called Agile en Seine in Paris. See below the slides to know more about the Dashlane Agile Journey.

As always, feel free to comment or provide feedback on your own experience.

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