Are Key Results Milestones? A Comprehensive Guide

The key results of an OKR (Objective and Key Result) framework express measurable milestones that, if achieved, will directly promote the objective. These milestones should describe the results, not the activities. Over the years, some experts have argued that there is no room in the model for key milestone-setting results. However, there are several reasons why you should include key results of milestones as part of an OKR.

Practically all of our customers who are new to the world of OKRs achieve key results that mark milestones. This is often necessary because the key outcomes of the final business impact that they would like to track have never been measured before. For example, we've had clients that are growing rapidly and have never measured employee engagement. To measure (and improve) participation, it is first necessary to identify a framework for participation and then to administer an initial survey. Actions and milestones are not performance measures.

They definitely help in project management, in setting progress goals during the implementation of a project. But they are not results or evidence of results. Teams have to work hard before they can achieve significant and measurable results such as activation, retention or revenue. OKR stands for Objective and Key Result, which is a framework that helps you define objectives and track your progress towards them. Therefore, we can define a key outcome as a quantitative statement that demonstrates the achievement of a given objective.

If it is true that the key to strategy is omission and that improvement requires a relentless approach, then the previous objective is the polar opposite. You can think of “objectives” as what you want to achieve and “key results” as how you are going to achieve that goal. In reality, the vast majority of the key results I've read, in hundreds of OKRs from various sources, describe how to achieve the goal, rather than how to know if the goal has been achieved. However, there should be minimal gray area when it comes to key results. You must know objectively if (or to what extent) you achieved your key result. An OKR is like a more specific KPI, since key result calls per day would be directly linked to the business objective. For this OKR to better measure what matters, key results must be converted into measures that are direct evidence of the objective.

The objective is a performance result, and the key results are quantitative performance measures with targets. It's more useful to assume that OKRs were conceived as result-oriented objectives, and that key results are quantitative measures of performance. This way you can get maximum benefits from your investment in OKR.