OKR (Objectives and Key Results) is a goal-setting framework that pairs objectives with key results. It creates focus, transparency, and alignment across teams and the entire organization.
The framework was invented by Peter Drucker and further developed into the OKR methodology by Andy Grove at Intel Corporation. It has since been adopted by companies like Google, Allbirds, and Apartment Therapy.
How to Set Your OKRs
The OKR framework provides a transparent and clear way to translate company goals into bite-size objectives and key measurable results. It can be used at all levels of an organization and works well with any type of goal.
In his New York Times bestseller, Measure What Matters, venture capitalist and OKR evangelist John Doerr describes objectives and key results as “the yin and yang of goal setting.” Objectives describe where you want to go, and key results make sure that you actually get there.
To be effective, an objective must inspire and resonate with everyone working on it. It should also align with the larger organizational strategy and be clear and measurable.
Having too many objectives can be a distraction and lead to an overly complex set of key results. It is recommended that organizations set no more than four to five objectives per quarter and three key results for each. This allows teams and individuals to focus their energy and mind power on the goals that will have the biggest impact in that period.
OKR is a goal-setting methodology that creates alignment, engagement, and accountability through measurable goals for every team. It’s a framework that allows teams to prioritize, track and measure progress, bringing together a fast-paced cadence of objectives and key results that are reviewed and reevaluated on a quarterly basis.
John Doerr, who popularized the OKR framework in his book “Measure What Matters,” has described five benefits of OKR that can be summarized as FACTS: Focus, Alignment, Capabilities, Tracking and Stretching. These are the “superpowers” of OKR that allow a company to be successful and grow in an agile manner.
For OKR to work, it must be an integral part of the company culture. For this reason, it is important to separate OKRs from compensation and promotions, as it will be hard for employees to set ambitious moonshot goals if they fear their bonuses may be at risk. Also, the company must be committed to keeping the OKR process lean and not overburden it with meetings or excessive documentation.
OKR templates make it easier for teams to use the framework and get started. They help to narrow down strategy and focus efforts on impactful initiatives that will drive growth. A general rule of thumb is to select three to five objectives per quarter. This is enough to keep teams stimulated and engaged without overwhelming them.
The template also helps to create clear definitions for the objectives and key results. In addition to being measurable and verifiable, objectives should be ambitious and action-oriented. Similarly, key results should be specific, time-bound and aligned with the larger company goals.
Using an OKR template can be beneficial for companies of all sizes and industries. It can help to standardize the goal-setting process and raise visibility of the OKR framework company-wide. Try creating and sharing an OKR template with Miro’s whiteboard tool to simplify your goals and track progress. Then, set up weekly, monthly and quarterly check-ins to monitor and take corrective actions when needed.
The process of working with OKRs is iterative, and a weekly Check-in meeting is a vital part of that. During these meetings, teams discuss what’s going well and uncover any potential roadblocks that may hinder progress towards goals.
The meeting format is typically a short (15-30 minute) session where each team member reviews their progress on key results for the week and identifies priorities for the upcoming week. The goal is to create a transparent environment where all teammates are aware of each other’s work and how it relates to overall company objectives.
Viva Goals makes it easy to manage and host this type of meeting, with the ability to track key metrics in real time. For most organizations, a weekly cadence is ideal to allow for quick reactions if any key metrics aren’t on track. This ensures that everyone is held accountable for their objectives and accountability becomes a core value of the organization.