A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Implementing OKRs

OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) is a performance management framework designed to help companies establish, communicate, and monitor broad organizational objectives and results. This framework is designed to be transparent and align business, team, and individual objectives in a hierarchical and measurable manner. OKRs stand for Objectives and Key Results, and it is a collaborative goal-setting methodology used by teams and individuals to set ambitious and challenging goals with measurable results. OKRs are the way to track progress, create alignment, and encourage participation around measurable goals. When an objective can last a long time, the key results evolve as the work progresses.

Your KR list should be MECE (Mutually Exclusive and Collectively Exhaustive), meaning that all key results are mutually exclusive and collectively comprehensive. This means that each key result tracks an important key indicator or process, so you'll be able to know if your goal is complete based on these key results. It's important to remember that OKRs are not everything. You should write OKRs that reflect the areas most important to achieving measurable progress instead of trying to reflect everything you do. We recommend starting with an OKR workshop where all key stakeholders responsible for company strategy first ask and then gather employee input on what they think should be top priorities. Group objectives should always align with company objectives and support the ultimate goal of your organization.

The goal is your destination, the Key Results show if you are going in the right direction, and the Initiatives are what you will do to get your car going. Health metrics are monitored and are important to track, but unlike key outcomes, they are not the focus of short-term improvement. The only way to learn OKRs is to do OKRs. As a beginner, you may struggle to write down your thoughts such as clearly defined goals and key outcomes. When writing key results, it's important to focus on results (outcomes) rather than production (amount of work delivered).

Additionally, each key result should have a measurable indicator (count, dollar amount, or percentage) that planners and decision makers can use to determine if the people involved in working toward the key outcome have been successful. The group's key results should reflect a big change - something that, if you reach 70-80% of your goal, the rest of your organization will realize. Individual and team OKRs express what tactics teams and individuals will implement and what results they will need to achieve to help the organization achieve its long-term objectives. There is overlap with other strategic planning frameworks such as Objectives, Goals, Strategies and Measures (GMOs) and the Hoshin Kanri Matrix X. Typically, you'll want to check key results weekly or biweekly to ensure that all updates are communicated to other team members and that all learnings are recorded.