Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are a management method for effectively measuring the performance of an individual, team, or organization.
In the OKR system:
- Objectives describe the what — what are your company, team, or individual objectives?
- Key results are the how — how will your company, team, or you accomplish the objective?
Objectives and key results should be straightforward and directly to the point, rather than long-winded or needlessly complex.
Objectives are often broad in scope, but clearly stated and easily communicated to everyone.
Key results are specific and measurable, and can also adhere to “SMART” (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound).
In practice, when a team creates OKRs, the objectives will be defined together with direction from team leadership. A team will usually have one to three objectives per quarter.
Since the team will be held accountable for the key results, the team should define key results, not leadership. There will be one to five (average of three) key results for each objective. Key results need to be agreed upon since they should accomplish or significantly advance an objective.
OKRs were created by Andy Grove in the 1970s during his time at Intel and is a big reason why they were so dominant in the 80s and 90s. Specifically, OKRs provided the framework needed for Intel to beat Motorola in the early 80s, when Motorola arguably had a superior processor.
Objective Improve the company’s marketing website.
- KR1: Redesign the interface and layout with a responsive design.
- KR2: Increase monthly visitors by 20%.
- KR3: Decrease load time by 30%.