Goal Setting Method OKR


OKR short for Objectives and Key Results is a simple goal setting system which mainly focuses on excellent execution. It helps teams, organisations or even the individual person by encouraging ambition to go after the goal (objective) they seek. OKR has become pretty famous since it is used by famous organisations like Google, Intel or Twitter. It helps to accumulate a great working environment and a clear path of consistently achieving goals with better chances of successful outcome.

In summary, OKR is a method for self-improvement and focused collaboration. The idea is to be more effective so that everyone should define their goals into objectives, which are measured via key results they aim to achieve for the objective. These objectives and corresponding key results should be challenging, have to be negotiated with superiors and should be made public inside the organisation.

An example: A Serlo unit for the community might define their main objective to achieve a stronger bond among authors. The Key results regarding to the objective, will be organised in 2 groups: 50 % of active authors and 30% of active teachers.

As you can see, our and other Objectives should be qualitative, ambitious, time bound and achievable with the team. Key Results have to be measurable in a quantifiable way to make the objective achievable. The key results lead to objective grading and should be set to be difficult to achieve but not impossible.

A good benchmark for using OKR is 1-3 objectives per team, 2-3 key results per objective which are set for a 3 month period. Reviews should be monthly or weekly. If the score reaches 0,7 you have achieved enough.

Key Results

Definition KPI:

A key performance Indicator (KPI) is a key figure with significant information regarding the state of a project or process. The indicator can consist of one or several key figures that relate to the success of the current objective.

Definition Key Results:

Key results are quantitative target settings for an objective. Thus they answer the question when an objective is achieved. Often they set a target value for a KPI in the defined time range of an objective.

Asking How:

Regarding Key results the question one must ask themselves is “how exactly am I going to achieve my goal” questioning themselves with “how” can lead to a more precise way that will straighten up the path from the beginning so that Teams, Organisation or the individual person will increase the rate of success by completing the task which has been assigned to do.

Questions to find good key results

Key Question

Proposed Answer

Do you have an objective which the KPI operationalize?

No? -> Start with defining objectives for your project / unit first.

Which figures are related to your general objective?

Those figures are good candidates for KPIs / key results.

Is there a strong relation between the figure and the progress?

No? -> Define a new key result.

Does it reflect progress towards your objective?

No? -> Define a new key result.

Are there other, more important key figures for an objective?

Take the others: It is worse to have too many key results than no key results at all.

Is the KPI / key result simple and understandable?

If it is to complex, it’s better to use multiple KPI for one project.

How long does it take you to measure the current value of the figure?

< 5min: perfect ;-)

> 5min: Ask the KPI project whether they can automate the measuring of the figure (In exceptions it is okay to have key results which take longer to measure, for example when you take a survey. Such key results should be avoided).

Do those key figures enable team members to make decisions?

If they are not necessary for decision making or validation, they are probably unnecessary.