When it comes to setting objectives and key results (OKRs), there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Generally, it is recommended to have 1 to 5 goals with 3 to 5 key outcomes per objective. However, the number of key results can vary depending on the complexity of the goal and the team's needs. For greater alignment, OKRs are often used at all levels of the company.
This helps ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals. When setting OKRs, it is important to consider the most important objective for each employee and then create two supporting objectives. Christina Wodtke, an American businesswoman and OKR expert, advises that companies should make a key objective and results. If you have fewer key results, you may need to think about whether these few key results are enough to define the objective clearly.
If you think of each milestone as its own key outcome, it's perfectly reasonable to say that a given objective should have between 15 and 20 key outcomes. This will be taken over by department heads, managers and individuals who will then turn those key results into one of their objectives. For example, if your goal contains between 8 and 9 key results, it can be confusing to check if all of these key results relate to the objective or if they can be divided into different objectives. In fact, most departments, other than sales and marketing, tend to use key milestone results rather than key metric results. John Doerr and the people at Google recommend that each team have a maximum of 5 objectives with 4 key results per objective.
However, with 15 to 20 key results per given goal, it's unlikely that you'll go more than a couple of weeks without completing a key outcome. The most appropriate thing is to make sure that you assign enough key results so that they can learn by heart or can count without thinking too much.