Michal Sobotkiewicz
Michal SobotkiewiczKANBO PRODUCT OWNER
He leads the KanBo Technology & Innovation strategy team to map, build and inspire a future we want to work in.

OKR is a powerful framework and can help your business stay on track with your goals. Use OKRs to communicate, prioritize, and achieve business Key Results with measurable Objectives.

What are the Key Results?

Key results are:

  • Objectively measurable
  • Monitored over the time period of the OKR
  • Not tasks or to-do lists.
  • Made to specify the objectives.
  • Used to measure success

How do you write objectives and key results?

While writing your OKRs you have to pay special attention to what Objectives and Key Results entail. Objectives:

You can consider objectives as your current business priorities. They should:

  • Have a due date.
  • Be qualitative or non-numeric.
  • Be ambitious.
  • Reflect what you are aiming for without nay focus on the tasks you need to perform to get there.
  • Encourage collaboration.
  • Have a clearly defined subject, object, and a journey that the subject can progress through.

Key Results:

Key results are assigned to each objective. They should:

  • Be quantitative in nature.
  • Measure change with a delta or threshold measure.
  • Not be the task themselves but the end results of the tasks.
  • Have a baseline measurement.
  • Answer whether you have achieved the corresponding objective.

OKRs may be adopted by multiple departments who can define their own key results to match their projects and define their contributions to the given objective.

Here is a useful example of an OKR that checks all the boxes:

Objective: Successfully launch a monthly newsletter.

Key Results:

  • Build and launch 1 newsletter per month.
  • Finish sending 3 newsletters in [Quarter Number]
  • Boost CTR rates to 3% or above

How do you define key results in OKR?

Contrary to popular belief, a key result in an OKR is not a task, action, or project. It is simply an end result that can be achieved through a set of tasks. This gives you the flexibility to change your approach as needed without bounding you to a certain approach. Key results are:

  • Objectively measurable
  • Monitored over the time period of the OKR
  • Not tasks or to-do lists.
  • Made to specify the objectives.
  • Used to measure success

Defining key results goes hand in hand with the objective. Often, companies start by asking what needs to be improved in a particular quarter. That might provide a base for your Objective which can be refined later as needed. Next, you can come up with some end-results that signify your successful achievement of the goal. This means you need to find different quantitative ways of measuring success. This can include usage, revenue, or satisfaction metrics, or whichever metrics best fit your objective.

How do I track OKRs?

Tracking OKRs is critical to your company’s performance management. Here’s how you can make tracking easier:

Qualitative Objectives and Quantitative Results

Objectives should be written while keeping in mind the qualities you wish to achieve. For example, an object could be: Create an engaging Customer Experience. This can be used to create key results which will be measurable and quantitative in nature.

Setting Percentage Benchmarks for OKRs

All key results are not created equal. Using weighted measurements for your key result allows you to measure your progress depending on the effort required by each one.

Assigning Responsibility and Accountability

Key results are usually a collaborative effort and can be assigned to multiple teams and departments. It is important to define the responsibilities and accountability for each key result to ensure maximum performance.

Tracking Schedule

Build a regular schedule to track your OKRs and progress. This can be done through daily, bi-weekly, or weekly meetings to discuss OKRs with the team.

Discussing Key Learnings

Once your Key Results are achieved it is important to define how they were achieved and what were the learning outcomes. Perhaps you weren’t able to meet your KR completely, in that case, key learnings allow you to discuss why you fell short and what can be improved in the future.

What Are OKRs?

OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results. Together they combine to form a goal-setting framework that can help track objectives and their outcomes. It is an outcome-driven methodology that is widely used in organizations of all sizes to meet business goals.

What is OKR in business?

OKRs are a powerful tool for aligning the organization around some measurable outcomes and business goals. Companies can use this framework to accomplish outcome-driven success. OKRs allow businesses to avoid defining tasks from the get-go, focusing on outcomes instead. This promotes accountability in every step of the way while giving measurable key results using metric indicators.

How do you implement OKRs?

Here are some best practices for implementing OKRs at your organization:

Introducing OKRs to the Team

Start off with keeping your team in the loop and introducing OKRs to them. Answer questions such as,

What are OKRs? Introduce the basics of OKRs.

Why are you using OKRs? Highlight the issues with the current approach and tie your employees’ work to the overall mission of your company.

How do OKRs work? Elaborate on how they will be used in your company. Discuss the OKR cycle, responsibilities, and criteria for success.

Start Slowly and Iterate

OKRs may be a new concept in your organization so it is better to start small and iterate according to your company’s needs.

Keeping it Transparent

OKRs are heavily based on communication and prioritization. Due to their public nature, everyone needs to be able to see what others are working on and the metrics they are aiming for.

Tracking and Regular Check-Ins

OKRs need regular check-ins and tracking with cadence to maximize their advantages. This can be done by introducing planning sessions, weekly check-ins, mid-cycle reviews, and company-wide meetings at regular intervals.

Conclusion

As more and more organizations move towards a more agile way of performing work, OKRs are becoming an important method of ensuring growth and alignment. Through the right usage of OKRs, companies can evolve through positive collaboration and keep employees invested in work that really matters.

According to John Doer, an early backer of Google and author of “Measure What Matters”:

“OKRs are not a silver bullet. They cannot substitute for sound judgment, strong leadership, or a creative workplace culture. But if those fundamentals are in place, OKRs can guide you to the mountaintop.”