How many objectives and key results should you have?

In general, we recommend setting a maximum of 3 to 5 OKRs per team per quarter. This is a maximum, not a minimum. It's perfectly appropriate to have just 1 or 2 OKRs. The most important thing is that you don't choose a number and let that dictate the number of goals you must achieve within a given time frame.

These pages should contain the concise objectives of a single sentence. The goals are meaningful, action-oriented, and, hopefully, inspiring. They represent the “North Star”, which guides all team members in the same direction. Each objective must be accompanied by 3 to 5 key results that indicate how to achieve them in a measurable way.

A key result will explain how you follow the North Star. It is specific, limited in time, and measurable. Just like a goal, a key outcome must also fit on one line. They will then be taken over by department heads, managers and individuals, who will then make those key results one of their objectives.

The methodology of objectives and key results encompasses a common business objective that causes all team members to work in a certain direction. Since teams usually set OKRs every quarter, 12 key results more or less mean that your team only has 1 week to get a key result. To capture your organization's ambitions, you must have a maximum of three objectives, each with between 3 and 5 key outcomes. The key result is the metric by which you'll measure your progress toward your goal: attracting a million visits to the web, making sure that a quarter of your product material is compostable, etc.

Also, make sure that the key results you establish are truly representative of a measure of what you want to achieve. So, keep these goal alignment best practices in mind: the number of key results a company achieves will depend on the number of teams contributing to the goal. KPIs, which stand for key performance indicators, are a way for teams to track the performance of projects and initiatives. Once the company's objective is agreed and communicated to the teams, the teams should individually analyze what their objectives will be for the quarter and how they will contribute to the overall picture.

Each team is responsible for a specific key outcome, advancing the company's goal as collective progress progresses. For example, if your company's goal is to offer the best solution in your field, your marketing team's goal might be to create a demonstration of the best product in its class and share it with a certain number of people. If you set a business objective and align the team's OKRs with that statement, you'll create a more purposeful business OKR, in which the team's objectives will become the company's key outcomes. Instead of focusing on the number of key results of an objective, focus on the total number of key results achieved in a quarter.

Establishing an OKR at the company level is a top-down approach in which key results are assigned to teams.