Set goals with OKRs

How to write objectives and key results

The acronym OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results, a great way that agile organisations can use to translate their strategic priorities into more specific goals that teams can work on. OKRs are a goal management framework to align company, department and team objectives towards one strategy. The main benefits of the framework are improved focus, an increase in alignment and transparency as well as higher engagement of the employees.



Increase productivity by focusing on what’s most important right now



Make sure everyone is aligned and works towards the same goal



Focus and alignment will increase engagement and purpose

The idea behind OKRs is to connect company and personal objectives in a hierarchical way to measurable results so that everyone knows how he contributes to the bigger picture. This helps tremendously making all employees work together in one unified direction. OKRs have to ensure that each individual knows, what’s expected of them in a working context. OKRs are supposed to be public in front of everyone, so people and teams know what others are focusing on.

“When people have clearly defined goals that are written down and shared freely, everyone feels more comfortable, and more work gets done. Goals create alignment, clarity, and job satisfaction – and they have to be revisited and discussed regularly.”

Deloitte Insights

How to set up Objectives and Key Results?

OKRs consist of a list of 3-5 high-level objectives, a clearly defined qualitative change. An objective should be concrete, significant, inspirational and action-oriented. Under each objective then usually 3-5 key measurable results are listed. A specific, often quantitative performance target that must be met. A good key result should be specific & time bound, aggressive yet realistic, measurable and verifiable. Each key result should have a progress indicator or score of 0-100% that shows the level of achievement. Each OKR can also have Initiatives (tasks, projects, etc.), they are things that you do to achieve your Key Results. It is crucial, that the initiative-owner has full control over completing the initiative.


An Objective descrips a goal and sets a clear direction of where you want to go


A key result is a metric that measures the level of progress towards the objective


An Initiative describes the work that you need to do to influence your key result

Depending on the size of the company it is advisable to set OKRs annually and assess progress against them on a quarterly basis during a quarterly planning session. In a session like that management and leaders from all functions should be represented and the teams should describe their progress and business outcomes with respect to their objectives and key results. Furthermore, the teams can use this platform to outline their plan for the next quarter and identify potential dependencies to other teams early enough. The management can use such a quarterly session to get an overview of all running initiatives and assess funding for new ones.

Written by Tobias Beau

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