OKRs have been a hot topic in the startup and business world for some time. If you haven’t heard of them, they are Objectives and Key Results, which has been most widely used by startups working closely with investors. Companies like Google use this for large projects that need to be completed.

What are OKRs?

OKR = Objectives and Key Results

Objectives are what we want to achieve, the end results.

Key Results are the measurable actions that we need to take in order to achieve our objectives.

The objective should be very clear, but there is often a lot of room for interpretation of the key results. The key results should be specific and measurable. They should align with your objectives and help you achieve them.

OKRs are a great framework for setting goals and measuring progress. Here’s a quick overview of the OKR framework:

Objectives are measurable, time-bound objectives. These are your goals — the “stuff” you want to accomplish.

Should be written by the employee, not by line management. This is important. The objective is what the employee thinks is most important, not what line management thinks is most important.

The objectives should be set at a high level (the top of the hierarchy). Objectives at this level must be measurable but still provide a goal that is sufficiently challenging to drive ambitious behaviour without causing burnout.

Key Results (KRs) are objectives broken down into specific metrics or measurable outcomes that will contribute to achieving the objective. This is where you get into the weeds and figure out how you’re going to accomplish your goal. KRs could include sales goals, product feature launches, market penetration targets and so on.

Key results should be written by line managers and should align with their OKRs (objectives).

Doesn’t need to be part of an organizational hierarchy, but typically sits between individual contributor performance reviews and business unit or corporate strategic planning sessions.

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Why should I use them?

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are a brilliant management technique. You should be using them. But, the truth is, a lot of people don’t really know why or how to use them well. In this post, I’m going to share my view on OKRs and how they can help you reach your goals faster and with more focus.

I recommend that everyone at my company use OKRs. They’re a great way to motivate yourself and to create a shared understanding of priorities across the company so that we’re all moving in the same direction each quarter. My team has used OKRs for years and has seen huge benefits from their use — both personally and professionally.

Here’s what we do: Each quarter, we think carefully about 3-6 things that are most important to us as individuals and as a company over the next 90 days. Then, each employee creates an OKR goal for each of those three to six things — one personal goal, one team goal, one company goal — and shares it with their manager. Everyone also knows whether or not they met their previous OKRs because we review them at every weekly standup meeting and celebrate or lament our progress together as a company.

What do they look like?

The best way to understand OKRs is by looking at examples. Here are some OKR examples.

Example 1

Objective: Enhance the capabilities and training of the Customer Sucess team members

Key Result 1: Build personal development plans with 100% of the team

Key Result 2: Increase task success rate from 80% to 95%

Key Result 3: Submit 5-8 training and coaching opportunities

Example 2

Objective: Reduce the number of Customer-Reported bug tasks after major launches

Key Result 1: Find 30-50 volunteers across the organization to test features before launch

Key Result 2: Decrease time to fix critical bugs in production from 24 hours to 16 hours

Key Result 3: Audit QA testing every three weeks for efficiency

Example 3

Objective: Improve the response rate for critical bugs in testing

Key Result 1: Hire seven engineers by [date]

Key Result 2: Improve response time from 20 to ten minutes

Key Result 3: Audit non-critical meetings on the team calendar every two weeks to determine if necessary

OKRs can be used to set targets for individuals and teams, as well as for companies as a whole. They are most useful when they have been developed jointly by the individual and their peers, manager or team members.

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How do you get started using them?

OKRs can be a powerful tool, but they’re not magic. To get the most out of OKRs, you need to make sure that the process is universally understood and implemented. The best way to do this is by defining what everyone’s OKRs are, and focusing on them as a team.

The first step in implementing OKRs is to clearly define what success looks like for a particular objective. Once you’ve done that, you can translate it into concrete metrics. If your goal is to increase profits for the quarter, for example, you might set your objective on increasing revenue 20% or reducing expenses by 15%.

Once you’ve defined and set your OKRs, you have to give them the weight and attention they deserve. In order to do this, it’s important that each team has their own unique goals. Then, you can hold each other accountable for achieving those goals. This is where OKR goal tracking software comes in handy; with these tools, you can track your progress against each objective as well as compare it to your overall performance goals

Conclusion

The goal of OKRs is to make it easier to make decisions and stay on track, so you can grow your business larger while working less. They can serve any kind of business, from a solo freelancer to an entire team. Not only will they help you decide what you’re going to work on next, but they’ll also tell you if you’re not making progress or if you’ve strayed away from what really matters.

In the end, OKRs can be a valuable tool for creating and growing a business, whether you are an entrepreneur or operate within an established company. But, like anything with potential for greatness, it’s up to you to put in the work, play by the rules, and reach your full potential. With the tips we discussed above in mind, you’ll be well on your way to achieving success with OKRs.

For OKR consulting, get in touch with us today.