How do you write a good objective and key result?

When writing OKR, a good start is to think about a company goal first. Depending on the company's objective, let teams write down their key objectives and results to align with the company's direction. Company-level objectives represent high-level directions and team objectives, when linked to those of the company, become key results at the company level. Teams would also establish their initiatives to drive key results.

OKRs were Google's entry to industry success. OKRs help you to clearly express your company's objectives. A goal is what needs to be achieved. Ideally, they should be a succinct, measurable one-line statement.

For each objective, there are 3 to 5 key outcomes that reflect the path to achievement. Objectives should be brief, memorable, aligned, impactful and inspiring. Use language that describes movement and progress rather than maintaining the status quo. That said, be clear and avoid ambiguity.

Rather than focusing on the number of key results of an objective, I think it's best to be pragmatic and focus on the total number of key results that are achieved during a quarter. Key results specify what is meant by objective and are feedback mechanisms that will allow each taxpayer to know if they are actually achieving the objective. Unlike traditional lenses that start at the top and filter down, OKRs are bidirectional. Key outcomes often include activities with objectives, but simply marking items on a to-do list doesn't always lead to measurable change.

What really matters is that you don't end up with too many key results overall, considering all your goals for the quarter. When measuring things for the first time, you're probably guessing where to place the target for your key result. Your goal tells you where to go, key outcomes are the results you need to achieve to achieve your goal, and initiatives are all projects and tasks that will help you achieve your key results. Once your target is directional and strategically aligned, you can be sure that you are moving in the right direction with that goal.

Key results are feedback mechanisms that tell you whether or not you are getting close to your goal. The answers to these questions would present good ideas for your team's goals that could be further analyzed and recorded in a shared document for further review and comment. To measure if you're making progress toward your goal, you need to establish key quantitative results. You'll configure your OKRs in another view to make it easier for the team to maintain their focus and develop initiatives to drive key results.

Expanded objectives correspond to more ambitious and aspirational OKRs, which provide variability in working towards a goal, reduce the need for quality or time trade-offs, and allow more space to interpret results.