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What are Objectives and Key Results?

Ruben Buijs

Founder & Digital Consultant

Written on Aug 10, 2023

2 minutes

Product Management

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is a goal-setting framework that helps teams and individuals align their efforts towards achieving specific outcomes. It provides a clear and measurable way to define and track objectives, as well as the key results that indicate progress towards those objectives. OKRs are commonly used in product management to drive focus, prioritize work, and foster a culture of accountability and transparency.

Examples

  • Objective: Increase user engagement.

    • Key Result 1: Increase daily active users by 20%.
    • Key Result 2: Increase average session duration by 15%.
    • Key Result 3: Achieve a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 9 or above.
  • Objective: Improve product quality.

    • Key Result 1: Reduce the number of bugs reported by customers by 50%.
    • Key Result 2: Achieve a customer satisfaction rating of 4.5 out of 5.
    • Key Result 3: Decrease average response time to customer support tickets by 30%.

Importance

OKRs are important because they provide a framework for setting ambitious but achievable goals. They help teams and individuals focus their efforts on what truly matters and avoid getting lost in day-to-day tasks. By defining measurable key results, OKRs provide a way to track progress and ensure alignment towards the desired outcomes. OKRs also promote transparency and accountability, as they are often shared and reviewed with stakeholders, fostering a collaborative and results-driven culture.

How to Use Objectives and Key Results

  1. Define clear objectives: Start by identifying the desired outcomes you want to achieve. Objectives should be inspiring, specific, and time-bound. They should answer the question, "What do we want to accomplish?"

  2. Determine measurable key results: Once you have defined your objectives, identify key results that indicate progress towards those objectives. Key results should be measurable, achievable, and push you outside your comfort zone. They should answer the question, "How will we know if we are making progress?"

  3. Set ambitious targets: OKRs are not about incremental improvements, but rather about setting ambitious targets that drive growth and innovation. Aim for objectives that require effort and stretch your capabilities.

  4. Cascade OKRs: OKRs should be cascaded throughout the organization, ensuring alignment from top to bottom. Each team and individual should have their own OKRs that contribute to the overall company objectives. This alignment ensures that everyone is working towards the same goals.

  5. Track progress and provide feedback: Regularly track progress towards your key results and provide feedback. This can be done through weekly or monthly check-ins, where you review progress, discuss challenges, and make adjustments if needed. Celebrate achievements and learn from failures along the way.

Useful Tips

  • Keep it simple: Avoid setting too many objectives or key results. Focus on a few high-priority goals to maintain clarity and prevent dilution of efforts.

  • Make it measurable: Ensure that your key results are measurable and have a clear target. This allows you to track progress objectively and provides a basis for evaluation.

  • Be transparent: Share your OKRs with relevant stakeholders to foster transparency and alignment. This encourages collaboration and helps create a culture of shared responsibility.

  • Embrace stretch goals: Don't be afraid to set ambitious goals that push the boundaries. OKRs are designed to challenge and inspire, so aim high to foster innovation and growth.

  • Iterate and adapt: OKRs are not set in stone. Regularly review and adjust your objectives and key results based on changing circumstances or new insights. Flexibility and adaptation are key to success.

  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • SMART Goals
  • Alignment
  • Accountability
  • Transparent Communication
  • Performance Evaluation
  • Continuous Improvement

FAQ

OKRs are a goal-setting framework that helps teams define and track their objectives and key results.
Objectives are the goals or outcomes you want to achieve, and key results are the measurable actions or milestones that indicate progress towards those goals.
OKRs help align teams and individuals towards common goals, provide clarity on priorities, and foster a culture of transparency and accountability.
OKRs can be used by teams of any size and in various industries, including product management, software development, marketing, and more.
OKRs are typically set on a quarterly basis, but some organizations also set them annually or monthly, depending on their needs and business cycles.
A good Objective is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART), and it should inspire and motivate the team to work towards it.
A good Key Result is measurable, verifiable, and directly linked to the Objective. It should provide a clear indication of progress and success.
Progress on OKRs can be tracked through regular check-ins, update meetings, or by using OKR software tools that provide visibility into individual and team progress.
If Key Results are not achieved, it is an opportunity to reflect, learn, and adjust strategies. It's important to analyze the reasons for the shortfall and take corrective actions.
Yes, OKRs can be changed or modified during the quarter if there are valid reasons for doing so. However, frequent changes should be avoided to maintain focus and consistency.

Article by

Ruben Buijs

Ruben is the founder of ProductLift. I employ a decade of consulting experience from Ernst & Young to maximize clients' ROI on new Tech developments. I now help companies build better products

Table of contents

  1. Examples
  2. Importance
  3. How to Use Objectives and Key Results
  4. Useful Tips
  5. Related Terms

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