OKR Methodology

OKR Methodology – An Ultimate Guide to Objectives and Key Results

Anonymous goals are unfeasible. A precisely oriented set of goals are 10x times easier to achieve. One of the most important attributes for running a successful business is setting up the right goals and executing them well. Being a team leader, you should possess one of the most crucial skills to align your team together to achieve the big vision that your company has set. Without a specific vision, your peers will be walking in the fog. They will be moving needles without any purpose, and they couldn’t even possibly contribute anything meaningful. That’s why you need OKR methodology to abet manager at all levels in setting up company-wide objectives established with leadership.

OKR guide is the most searched and a vibrant topic amongst business professionals. We haven’t put the title OKR Guide just for a clickbait. Instead, it’s a practical guide that offers a step-by-step guide on goal setting and even has concrete examples for setting impactful goals. There are many OKR guides available on the internet. But many lack the solid foundations and proper concept that will help you start from the beginning and win the OKR.

OKR Methodology

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You Should Further Read the Article if:

  • If you want to enhance your goal-setting abilities.
  • If you want to follow the methodology that made Google, Intel, and LinkedIn successful.
  • If you want to do more every day.
  • If you want to align the team and elevate their performance.
''OKR's have helped lead us to 10x growth, many times over''. Larry Page

Do you have ambitious goals? Want to accomplish it? You need to focus on your objectives and start scaling all the elements or aspects that are crucial. One of the biggest obstacles businesses faces is that their leaders and subordinates have different goals and follow different approaches to achieve them. But when a workforce employs a multi-directional approach to achieve something, they are likely to wander around and ruin business time and resource as they are not on the same page. So, questions might be brimming about what can be done exactly? If you want to align your team together and make them strive towards a single goal, then the OKR model is one of the best ways. However, the concept and success of the OKR model might be questioned by many. The methodology has been proven successful by many successful entrepreneurs around the globe. And even has witnessed significant changes after implementing this promising framework.

What is the OKR Methodology?

The acronym OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results. It’s a rock-solid framework that being implemented by most successful businesses around the globe to implement strategies. OKR is a goal-setting tool that pushes the team beyond its comfort zone. When implemented consistently, it has significant chances of elevating your success rate and producing top-performing employees that are motivated and engaged. Rather then this, it has numerous benefits such as improved focus, increased transparency, and better alignment. An OKR framework consists of an Objective that determines what needs to be achieved? And the 5 key results which scale your progressions towards reaching the goals. The framework has a set of rules that help the employees prioritize their works, align, and focus on the work they perform. Moreover, the OKR system organization can communicate the strategies efficiently and even in a more understandable and actionable way.

History of OKR Methodology

OKR Methodology

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The term OKR was coined by Andy Grove, one of the founders and first CEO of computing giant INTEL; he introduced the OKR system at Intel and documented everything in his books “High Output Management” in year 1983. It was further expained by John Doerr, the investor behind Amazon, Sun Microsystem, Google, and many others. He learned about OKR when he joined Intel from Grove. Doerr explained when he joined Intel; the company was transitioning from memory to microprocessor company. Grove and the management wanted to transit employee’s focus to a newer set of priorities, to make the transition successful. OKR method helped in communication, alignment, and make the switch. After a few decades, in 2000, John Deorr introduced OKR to Google. And today, Google sets quarterly and yearly OKR and holds company-wide meetings to OKR’S.

For OKR 70% goal fulfilment is customary and sufficient.Failure is the Standard. John Deorr

Structure of the OKR System

The structure of the OKR is simple and straightforward. It consists of two elements, Objective and Key Results.

Objective: It’s the milestone that the company wants to achieve by the end of the quarter. The objective sets a roadmap and provides a clear vision of where the company wants to be in the near future. Using OKR, you can easily set and prioritize company, team, or personal life goals.

Characteristics of Objectives:

  • Objectives should be of a high standard.
  • It should align and galvanize the team to achieve it.
  • It should be realistic, achievable and easy to understand, so it can be implemented easily.
  • Objectives should be flexible enough so that you can adjust them accordingly.

Results: For every objective you set, they’re not to be some measurable outcomes, so you can scale your progressions towards the goals.

Characteristics of Results:

  • Results help measure your progress
  • They reveal how close you are from achieving the goals.

OKR Methodology – Business Simulation Game

There are two different types of questions which need to be answered for the successful setup of the system, which are:

  1. Where are you want to be? – It will define the objective
  2. How much should I pace myself to get there? It gives the answer to the milestone and key results.

 The gameplay consists of three stages:

  1. Setting OKR
  2. Scoring OKR
  3. OKR Retrospective

Let’s first understand the terminologies

  1. Objective: It’s the milestone you are trying to achieve.
  2. Results: The outcome that states the impact you will have on reaching your millstone.
  3. Score: A Scoreboard between 0-1, which scale whether you have missed, almost reached, or achieve the target.
  • STEP 1 – Set the Goals: Fatasize the terminology and the goals with the team. Remind them the OKR’s aren’t supposed to be comfortable if the whole system makes them nervous its good. Because real growth happens when they are out of their comfort zone, feed them that they won’t be punished or fired if they set ambitious goals and fails to achieve them.OKR Methodology
  • STEP 2 – Choose the Objective: Ask the team a question – What is the most important objective we need to win in the coming quarter? Then conduct a brainstorming session and extract a few ideas and write them on a whiteboard. Then distil the ideas and pinout the most aspirational objectives.
  • STEP 3 – Identify your Key Results: For each objective you set, think of the desired result which you want to achieve. If you achieve it, these tasks aren’t a task anymore its result now.
  • STEP 4 – Amp Your Ambition: Review the objective and the Key results among your team, which you have built and ask them whether its ambitious enough. If your team if confident enough to hit the KR, Increase the target by 30% and set out a new plan.
  • STEP 5 – Agree on Next Step: If you end with lots of confusion, that’s ok. Set up follow-up sessions in a few days and even ask the KR owners to update the task with their KR’s prior to the session.
  • STEP 6 – Monthly Check – Check the tasks on a monthly basis. Give each KR’s a score.
  • STEP 7 – RETROSPECTIVE: At the end of the quarter, give the KR’s a final score. Use a retrospective approach and quote some questions to your team.
    • Was the objective ambitious enough?
    • Were the results measurable? Do we know the baseline, which was at the start of the quarter?
    • Were the OKR’s were aligned with the company’s strategies?
    • Were we focused on delivering value to customers?
    • Do we feel connected with the OKR’s?

Best Practices in OKR

  • Time-Bound: OKR’s aren’t meant to stay long. You should mention a clear end date. When a task is time-bunded, it increases the employee’s efficiency.
  • Limited Goals: When you have many goals, it often leads to distractions, inefficiency, and lack of focus among the employees. So set the number of goals to 3-6. Remember, OKR is for a limited time period, so also prioritize your goals.
  • Annual OKR’s: These are very important as it reflects the company’s mission.
  • Quarterly OKR’s are Significant: Quarterly OKR’s are important because three months can really be too short of achieving significant results, whereas a year can be too long to keep the team aligned and motivated without any taste of success and accomplishments.
  • Set Realistic and Almost Achievable Goals: Set realistic and ambitious goals. A 100% score in the OKR meter doesn’t indicate success, but it reveals that the company has played safe by setting easily attainable goals. Your score should be somewhere between 60% – 80%.

Remember, before setting up the OKR system, seek approval from your team members, which is crucial for the system’s effectiveness. Team involvement, suggestions, and feedback are important for the sake of success. You also need to empower team members so they can put more effort. The manager should even review individuals objectives and key results, and team members will boost the success rate. Do consider introducing the OKR system in your company. It’s even been used by fortune 100 companies and will surely reap major benefits for your company too.

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