What are OKRs?

OKRs or “Objectives and Key Results” are a goal setting framework used to align a company around common goals and measure progress towards them.

Cool things about OKRs:

  • OKRs are transparent across the organization
  • OKRs help define both what is important and what is not important
  • OKRs give you team focus
  • OKRs are set every quarter

Objectives are set first and ideally are inspirational.

Under each objective you create several key results that measure if you achieved the objective.

Some notes about Key Results:

  • Key Results need to be measurable.
  • Limit your Key Results to 3-5 per objective.
  • Set your Key Result target to be uncomfortable but not impossible.
  • Where possible measure the outcome not the output of work.
  • Assigned your Key Results to an owner who is responsible for updating them.
Objective: Successfully enter a new market
Key Result: Get 20 customers in new market
Key Result: Get 5 partners in new market
Key Result: Close 500k in revenue from new market

Objective: Successfully enter a new market

Key Result: Get 20 customers in new market

Key Result: Get 5 partners in new market

Key Result: Close 500k in revenue from new market

Where did OKRs come from?

OKRs were developed by Andy Grove at Intel and then brought to Google by John Doerr when Google was about 40 employees. From there is spread to many Silicon Valley companies and is now used by companies of all sizes and industries.

Companies that are known to use OKRs:

  • Adobe
  • Amazon
  • Anheuser-Busch
  • Asana
  • Box
  • Dell
  • Deloitte
  • Domo
  • Dropbox
  • Eventbrite
  • Facebook
  • Gap
  • GE
  • Google
  • InsideSales
  • Intel
  • LG
  • LinkedIn
  • Lumeris
  • Microsoft
  • Moz
  • Mozilla
  • Netflix
  • Oracle
  • Panasonic
  • Rackspace
  • Salesforce
  • Samsung
  • Sears
  • Siemens
  • Slack
  • Tableau
  • Trello
  • Twitter
  • Uber
  • Viacom
  • Vmware
  • Yahoo

OKR examples

The easiest way to understand OKRs is to look at some examples. Let’s say you’re a startup looking to launch a new product.

Your objective may be:

Objective: Find product market fit

Now you can ask yourself what key results would measure that you’ve found product market fit.

Key Result 1: Get 50 customers to trial our new product

Key Result 2: Get 20 customers to purchase our new product

Now you have an objective and key results that measure if you’re making progress towards that objective.

How do OKRs align across the company?

OKRs can align vertically and horizontally and are set at different levels.

OKRs are set at the company level, at department or team level and at the individual level.

Company Quarterly OKRs

Sales OKRs
Head of Sales OKRs
Sales person OKRs

Marketing OKRs
Head of Marketing OKRs
Marketing Specialist OKRs

Product OKRs
Head of Product OKRs
Product Manager OKRs

How frequently do you set OKRs

You can set OKRs at any time interval but the most common is every quarter.

Smaller companies may feel the need to set them more frequently as change happens quickly whereas larger companies may prefer a longer time frame.

With JustOKRs you set your OKRs every quarter.

How do you grade or score OKRs?

OKRs are commonly scored from 0 to 1.0 or from 0 to 100 percent.

Key results are graded first and then to get a score for the objective you take the average from all the key results under the objective.

For example:

If you have three KR’s with scores of 60%, 60% and 90% your objective would be scored at 70%.

(60 + 60 + 90) / 3

What’s a good score for OKRs?

A key tenet of OKRs is setting stretch goals. You want your team to set ambitious goals.

Because of that an average score of 60 to 70 percent across all OKRs shows that you’re in the right range.

If your scores are less then your team may be under performing or setting their goals to ambitiously.

If you’re getting 90 to 100 percent your team is likely not setting ambitious enough goals.


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