•     •   9 min read

OKRs: Meaning, Examples, and Best Practices

Intro­duc­tion to OKRs

One of the most wide­ly used tools in busi­ness process man­age­ment is Objec­tives and Key Results (OKR). OKRs help set goals for the entire team, syn­chro­nize their actions, and moti­vate them to achieve.
Impres­sive and moti­vat­ing, right? Let’s take a clos­er look at what are OKRs pow­er to orga­nize and inspire your team to achieve the results you want.

Defin­ing OKRs: Mean­ing and Framework

In order to under­stand why and how OKRs can help and syn­chro­nize a team, let’s start with some basics.

What is an OKR? Def­i­n­i­tion and Core Concepts

An OKR mean­ing is a strate­gic frame­work that orga­ni­za­tions use to set and com­mu­ni­cate clear and mea­sur­able goals. OKRs con­sist of an objec­tive, which is a clear­ly defined goal, and key results, which are spe­cif­ic mea­sures that are used to track the achieve­ment of that goal. 

The objec­tive should be ambi­tious and moti­va­tion­al, designed to push the orga­ni­za­tion or team beyond its cur­rent lim­its. Mean­while, to make it easy to mea­sure progress, the key results should be quan­tifi­able and action­able. This approach ensures that efforts are focused and aligned with over­ar­ch­ing orga­ni­za­tion­al goals and allows for agile adjustments.

The OKR Frame­work: Objec­tives and Key Results Explained

The OKR man­age­ment frame­work works on two lev­els: Objec­tives and Key Results. This frame­work helps break down the path to strate­gic goals into action­able, quan­tifi­able steps. 

Here’s a detail break-down of the acronym:
  • O stands for objec­tive, or goal. It is the Objec­tive that deter­mines where you want to work and inspires your team. In order to do this, it has to be attrac­tive and moti­vat­ing for every­one involved.
  • KR stands for Key Results. These are the step-by-step work items that help you track progress toward the goal.
O (Objec­tive) and KR (Key Results) work in an inte­grat­ed way, com­ple­ment­ing and acti­vat­ing each oth­er. For exam­ple, the objec­tive has no numer­i­cal mea­sure­ment, so the key results are nec­es­sary to track the achieve­ment of the objective.

Craft­ing Effec­tive OKRs

How to Write an OKR for busi­ness: A Step-by-Step Guide

Focus on your team’s goals in dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives, from the short term to the long term, to set OKRs for your organization. 

The goals should be:
  1. Ambi­tious (what the com­pa­ny wants to achieve);
  2. Spe­cif­ic (to avoid misunderstandings);
  3. Mea­sur­able (to see the result for sure);
  4. Achiev­able (to avoid frustration);
  5. Rel­e­vant (for moti­va­tion);
  6. Time-based (dead­lines are disciplinary).
Depend­ing on the com­pa­ny’s ambi­tions and cur­rent sit­u­a­tion, goals can be very different:
  • Increase annu­al sales by 20%.
  • Launch a new prod­uct by the end of the year.
  • Reduce costs by 10%.
  • Depart­ment and team goals
The goals and key results should be in line with the com­pa­ny’s vision and strategy.

You can use the fol­low­ing cri­te­ria to help ensure that OKRs are aligned with the com­pa­ny’s mission:
  1. Con­sis­ten­cy with the com­pa­ny’s mis­sion. The com­pa­ny’s goals should be con­sis­tent with the com­pa­ny’s mis­sion, or why the com­pa­ny exists.
  2. Direct link to strate­gic ini­tia­tives. The com­pa­ny’s goals should be linked to the com­pa­ny’s strate­gic ini­tia­tives, which are the spe­cif­ic steps the com­pa­ny is tak­ing to achieve its mission.
Involve senior exec­u­tives who have the best under­stand­ing and vision of the com­pa­ny in the OKR devel­op­ment process to ensure that the OKRs are not out of sync with the com­pa­ny’s strat­e­gy. Anoth­er use­ful resource for devel­op­ing objec­tives is doc­u­men­ta­tion of the com­pa­ny’s vision and strategy.

Types of OKRs

🎯Com­mit­ted vs. Aspi­ra­tional OKRs

Com­mit­ted OKRs are those that the orga­ni­za­tion must achieve because they are direct­ly linked to crit­i­cal busi­ness objec­tives. They require a high lev­el of com­mit­ment and resources because they are essen­tial to success. 
  • Exam­ple. Increase com­pa­ny rev­enue by 20% by the end of Q4.
In con­trast, aspi­ra­tional OKRs are stretch goals designed to push the bound­aries of what’s pos­si­ble and dri­ve inno­va­tion and growth, even if they’re not ful­ly achieved.
  • Exam­ple. Expand into two new inter­na­tion­al mar­kets by the end of the year.

🤓Learn­ing OKRs

Rather than focus­ing on spe­cif­ic per­for­mance out­comes, learn­ing OKRs focus on the acqui­si­tion of knowl­edge and skills. They explore new areas, devel­op com­pe­ten­cies, and pre­pare teams for future challenges. 
  • Exam­ple. Enhance team com­pe­ten­cy in machine learn­ing by Q3.

↕️Top-Down vs. Bot­tom-Up OKRs

Top-down OKRs ensure that each team’s efforts are aligned with the com­pa­ny’s strate­gic goals by start­ing at the exec­u­tive or man­age­ment lev­el and cas­cad­ing down through the orga­ni­za­tion­al hierarchy. 
  • Exam­ple. Improve oper­a­tional effi­cien­cy by 25% across the company.
Bot­tom-up OKRs, on the oth­er hand, are ini­ti­at­ed by indi­vid­ual teams or employ­ees and pro­posed upward for approval.
  • Exam­ple. Enhance cus­tomer ser­vice sat­is­fac­tion scores.

🌟Per­son­al OKRs

Indi­vid­ual objec­tives are goals set for indi­vid­ual employ­ees. They are typ­i­cal­ly in sup­port of, and have links to, depart­men­tal and team OKRs. 

Exam­ples of indi­vid­ual OKRs:
  • For a mar­keter: Increase newslet­ter sub­scribers by 10%.
  • For a pro­gram­mer: Devel­op a new prod­uct fea­ture by the end of the quarter.
  • For a sales man­ag­er: Close a $100,000 deal with­in a month.

OKR Exam­ples: Illus­trat­ing the Concept

What is an OKR in busi­ness method­ology can be applied to a vari­ety of activ­i­ties and to dif­fer­ent types of teams. The exam­ples below will illus­trate this:

Objec­tive: Dou­ble the num­ber of clients

​Key Results
  • Attract 2000 new cus­tomers over the next quarter
  • Increase con­ver­sion on the web­site by 10%
  • Increase the effec­tive­ness of mar­ket­ing cam­paigns by 5%

Objec­tive: Make the prod­uct the best in its niche 

Key Results
  • Reduce the num­ber of soft­ware bugs by 20%
  • Increase the num­ber of pos­i­tive reviews from users by 25%
  • Increase the prod­uct rat­ing by 5 posi­tions in the App Store ranking

Objec­tive: Clients rec­om­mend our ser­vice to their friends 

Key Results
  • Reduce the aver­age response time from 10 to 3 minutes
  • Reduce the aver­age tick­et clos­ing speed from 40 to 12 hours
  • Increase the cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion index to 80%

Objec­tive: Become a glob­al com­pa­ny 

Key Results
  • Launch the prod­uct in 5 new coun­tries with­in the next year
  • Increase the num­ber of sales in new coun­tries by 25%
  • Increase prod­uct aware­ness in new coun­tries by 10%
This approach is suit­able for any busi­ness sec­tor and com­pa­ny size, as you can see from these exam­ples. The most impor­tant thing to remem­ber when set­ting goals and key deliv­er­ables is to take into account the spe­cif­ic goals of the project and the capa­bil­i­ties of the team. 

That’s why goals should be ambi­tious but not too com­pli­cat­ed. That is, they should be achiev­able. Key Results should be spe­cif­ic and mea­sur­able to objec­tive­ly track progress toward the goals.

Advan­tages of Imple­ment­ing OKRs

For orga­ni­za­tions seek­ing to increase pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and align goals at all lev­els, objec­tives and key results (OKRs) have become a crit­i­cal tool. Key ben­e­fits of imple­ment­ing OKRs include:

  1. Align­ment and engage­ment: OKRs pro­mote cross-depart­men­tal align­ment by link­ing cor­po­rate, team and indi­vid­ual goals to mea­sur­able results.
  2. Increased trans­paren­cy: OKRs help fos­ter a cul­ture of open­ness by mak­ing goals and key results vis­i­ble to all team members. 
  3. Focus on results: OKRs encour­age orga­ni­za­tions to define suc­cess in terms of real results, not just the com­ple­tion of tasks. 
  4. Increased account­abil­i­ty: Because OKRs require set­ting spe­cif­ic and mea­sur­able goals, they help increase account­abil­i­ty by mak­ing it clear who is respon­si­ble for what results. 
  5. Agili­ty and adapt­abil­i­ty: OKR agile approach sup­port a dynam­ic plan­ning process that can quick­ly adapt to change. The short plan­ning cycles allow teams to adjust their strate­gies in response to changes in the busi­ness envi­ron­ment or priorities.

Com­mon Pit­falls in OKR Implementation

When it comes to set­ting goals, it’s easy to get car­ried away and make some com­mon mis­takes. For­tu­nate­ly, these mis­takes are also not dif­fi­cult to avoid if you think about them in advance:

1️⃣Set­ting Too Many Goals at Once

Team mem­bers feel over­whelmed and don’t know what to focus on when you set too many goals. Set only 2 – 3 high-pri­or­i­ty goals and then move on to the next ones to avoid this mistake.

2️⃣Fail­ure to update data regularly

Update your data reg­u­lar­ly. This is impor­tant to keep your goals and key results effec­tive. Fail­ing to do so will make it dif­fi­cult to know if you are pro­gress­ing toward them and to make time­ly adjustments.
Set a sched­ule for reviews and updates and stick to it to avoid this mistake.

3️⃣Lack of Align­ment and Focus 

Goals and key results work best when the team has align­ment and focus on the process. A sim­ple train­ing ses­sion is all that is need­ed so that every­one in the com­pa­ny has an under­stand­ing of what OKRs are and how they work.

If you focus on qual­i­ty rather than quan­ti­ty, you can eas­i­ly avoid these mis­takes. Also, be real­is­tic about what you think you can accom­plish. This will help get the team aligned and buy in.

Mea­sur­ing Suc­cess: OKR Grad­ing and Evaluation

How do you know if goals are being achieved accord­ing to plan? The use of key per­for­mance indi­ca­tors (KPIs) is an effec­tive way to mon­i­tor progress toward key objectives.

Key Per­for­mance Indi­ca­tors (KPIs) are met­rics that teams use to mea­sure their per­for­mance against their goals when viewed in the con­text of OKRs. In oth­er words, KPIs are ful­ly use­ful in con­junc­tion with OKRs.

In order for KPIs to work, they must be:
  • Clear­ly defined and understood;
  • Mea­sured and trackable;
  • Achiev­able with rea­son­able effort.
  • Rel­e­vant to the goals you are try­ing to achieve.
  • Have a spe­cif­ic time frame for completion.
Don’t for­get to include progress checks. Check­ing help ensure that your goals are still rel­e­vant and that you are on track to achieve them. And depend­ing on your orga­ni­za­tion’s spe­cif­ic goals and cir­cum­stances, the fre­quen­cy of check-ins will vary. Some orga­ni­za­tions choose to check in week­ly or month­ly, while oth­ers choose to check in quar­ter­ly or annually.

Role of Report­ing in OKR Tracking

In track­ing goals and key results, report­ing plays an impor­tant role. You can share your progress with col­leagues and get their feed­back, syn­chro­niz­ing your efforts.

Report­ing can be done for­mal­ly or informally:
  • For­mal report­ing is usu­al­ly done accord­ing to estab­lished pro­ce­dures and formats.
  • Infor­mal report­ing can be more free-form and infor­ma­tive in nature.
Each com­pa­ny needs to deter­mine how best to report to itself. How­ev­er, expe­ri­ence shows that report­ing that is built into” the Project Man­age­ment Sys­tem tends to work best. This ensures that each task pro­gress­es accord­ing to plan and is eas­i­ly tracked through­out the entire system.

Work­sec­tion: Plat­form for project align­ment with OKR

The Work­sec­tion project man­age­ment sys­tem is ide­al for teams that want to start or con­tin­ue work­ing effec­tive­ly with OKRs. You can set, track and eval­u­ate goals and key deliv­er­ables in detail with Work­sec­tion’s tools.

Work­sec­tion has pow­er­ful fea­tures for the fol­low­ing tasks:

Set­ting Objec­tives and Key Results

Using Work­sec­tion is a con­ve­nient way to define and doc­u­ment goals. You can set up one big goal and then break it down into almost any num­ber of small­er tasks and even subtasks.

Track­ing Progress

Eas­i­ly mon­i­tor project progress with a dash­board. Detailed info­graph­ics show the speed and suc­cess of the project. You can visu­al­ly track progress with charts, timers, and oth­er use­ful infor­ma­tion. Mean­while, access to up-to-date infor­ma­tion and reports can be tai­lored with dif­fer­ent lev­els of access.

Flex­i­bil­i­ty and Adapt­abil­i­ty of OKR Display:

All Work­sec­tion tools are high­ly cus­tomiz­able and adapt­able to the specifics of a par­tic­u­lar team and its tasks. This is opti­mal for track­ing and adjust­ing Objec­tives and keep­ing them up-to-date.


OKR is a pow­er­ful method­ol­o­gy that can help an orga­ni­za­tion achieve its goals. It’s impor­tant to use team resources wise­ly and find tools that auto­mate all stages of work when devel­op­ing objec­tives and key results.

Such tools are at the heart of the Work­sec­tion project man­age­ment sys­tem. They allow you to cus­tomize work­flows for each com­pa­ny, tak­ing into account the tasks of dif­fer­ent teams.

With its flex­i­bil­i­ty and adapt­abil­i­ty, Work­sec­tion allows you to set and achieve any goals you want, track­ing objec­tives and man­ag­ing teams at all lev­els of your organization.

Sign up now to achieve your goals faster!

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