You’re a startup founder, and you’ve just found out that Google has this handy-dandy tool called OKR. It helps you track your company’s progress, split into key objectives and key results. You love the idea of measuring your progress versus a target, and you’re convinced it will help you get your startup to the next level. But if you are like most founders, your heart is pounding in excitement — which means your brain is doing what it usually does under these circumstances: going blank. “How will this work? What should my first OKR be? What metric should I choose? Should I talk to someone at Google?” Creativity crashes, and confusion sets in.

Here are our top 5 tips for startups when setting OKRs

Set goals that can be measured.

The OKR system is a great way to not only meet your company’s goals but also make sure everyone knows how they can contribute to the overall success of the business.

The first step in setting up an effective OKR system is setting goals that are measurable. While there is some flexibility in the types of goals you set up, it’s important to make sure that you’re setting realistic and attainable goals for each department or team. The goals should be clearly defined within a specific time frame, so you can easily track if the goal has been achieved within the allotted time (or if adjustments need to be made).

Once you’ve established measurable goals, it’s important to ensure that every team member understands their role in reaching those goals. As long as each employee has a clear understanding of what’s required of them, then they will know exactly what results in they need to produce in order to reach their own personal objectives.

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Be specific

Make sure that your OKR is focused on one specific thing. It should be actionable and measurable. For example: ‘Drive more traffic to Trello’ is better than ‘drive more traffic. How you measure it is entirely up to you, but make sure you know how successful you’ll be when it’s achieved, so you can gauge how well your OKR was executed. Include a time frame

This is where it gets tricky as we’re aiming for a balance between too big (as in impossible) and too small (as in insignificant). Set an appropriate time frame so that your goal is still realistic but has enough urgency to get things done Be challenging but achievable

Focus on 1-3 key metrics and use others to measure progress.

The most important thing to start with is to define your 1-3 key metrics and make them quantifiable. A metric is quantifiable if it can be expressed numerically, such as monthly active users, revenue or number of signups.

Once you’ve decided on your key metrics, you’re ready to set objectives. An objective is a quantifiable way to measure progress towards a goal. For instance, if your goal is to increase monthly active users by 15 percent over the next 3 months, then one objective might be to “generate 10 blogs posts in 30 days.” Once you’ve defined your objectives, then you can set key results (KRs) for each objective. The KR is how you will measure success on that specific objective. It’s like a mini-measurement or checkpoint along the way. Finally, check in every week or two on how you’re doing on each KR by reviewing your key results dashboards.

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Set a deadline for your goals so you can create a clear plan on how to achieve them.

Set a deadline for your goals so you can create a clear plan on how to achieve them.

Create a hierarchy of objectives based on their impact on your business outcomes, and then break them down into specific results.

Assign individuals to each objective who will be responsible for tracking progress and helping discuss solutions if the goal is not being met.

Hold regular meetings (e.g., weekly) to discuss progress, identify roadblocks and agree on adjustments as needed.

Identify individuals who can serve as “champions” for specific goals or objectives to ensure they are being properly tracked and updated as needed. They also may be willing to provide insights into where things stand at various times throughout the process.

Share your OKR with your team members.

1. Make them public. Make your OKRs available to everyone on your team to avoid conflicts and help your team members understand the scope and time of their responsibility in terms of each OKR.

2. Involve everyone in setting OKRs, but let one person be responsible for each one. Don’t let every team member set their own OKRs as it will lead to confusion about what is being done and when. It is better to have one person set everyone’s OKRs so that everyone can be held accountable for the goals within their OKR.

3. Keep them simple and clear. If there are too many goals within an objective, you can lose sight of what is the priority or what you want to measure progress on, which defeats the purpose of using OKRs in the first place.

4. Be realistic with your goals and timeframes, but also be ambitious enough to push yourselves as a company or team to achieve something you didn’t think was possible before creating these objectives. You should also make sure that the goals are measurable (i.e., if you say that someone will “drive more traffic”, how are they going to do this?).

Team Group People - Free photo on Pixabay

Conclusion

Overall, we believe that there are countless benefits to using OKRs in startups. By creating a clear picture of your goals to help you get smarter and improve the team over time, you will be able to compete with other startups in the market. And in the end, it is always wise to be strategic when launching your startup towards long-term goals.

Take the time to set where you want your company to be in the next couple of years early on, and layout a clear plan to achieve those OKR goals.

For OKR consulting, get in touch with us today.