Objectives and Key Results

  • OKR: Objectives and Key Results
  • Objectives: lofty goals that we want to achieve. Really big things. What you want to achieve to “win”.

The Objective is what your team or company is marching toward. Should be lofty and only attainable if everything is done perfectly. These should be difficult to measure by themselves.

Example: become category king

Key Results: metrics and numbers you use to track how well you are tracking towards that objective. They are time bound: achieve X percentage by date. Set at quarterly level and measure at weekly or monthly level. KR are the harder part of OKR process: difficult because they have to be measured and track towards that objective.

How to measure progress against those objectives. These should be measurable and track toward that objective. The KRs are what teams and individuals should be focusing on.

Example: Increase market share by 10% by the end of Q2. (10% should be lofty as well)


Top down: set OKRs for your company > team > individuals.

How many objectives: 3-7 at each level. Focus is key. Narrowing down as much as possible

How many key results: 3-5 KRs per Objective


  • Should be ambitious
  • No one will be fired for setting an ambitious goal and missing it


  • What are the most important impacts we need to make in the coming quarter? (should be high-level, qualitative statements that are aspirational)


  • Successfully launch a new product in Q1
  • Decrease time between idea and deployments
  • Achieve $1MM annual recurring revenue by Q3
  • Increase profit by 10%
  • Win a Super Bowl


  • Brainstorm and write down every idea
  • Group relevant ideas together
  • Distill into 3-5 aspirational objectives

TIPS: Write an objective with a “risk scenario”

Improve authentication from developer laptops into production.

… becomes:

Reduce the risk of “An adversary has accessed production from a developer laptop in Q3.”



  • Significantly more difficult to finalize than objectives
  • They must be measurable

Important points:

  • Be sure you track progress against the key results
  • Score progress
  • Transparently communicate

Scoring Key Results:

  • Monthly checkpoints
  • 70% of predicted KR is ideal
  • Don’t punish if KRs aren’t met, they are there to help course-correct

Examples (Objective: increase profit by 10%)

  • KR1: Reduce call center costs by 30%
  • KR2: Increase sales conversions by 12%
  • KR3: Switch to supplier of widget 1 at 40% cost reduction

Examples (Objective: win Super Bowl)

  • KR1: Increase pass completions by 10%
  • KR2: Decrease yards per rush by 0.5 yards
  • Engage a sports psychologist (binary KR. is fine but try to not have too many)
  • Sign to-tier quarterback (same)


  • Don’t set and forget
  • Evaluate how to raise the bar
  • Ask yourself “Did they keep us focused?”
  • Evaluate what was learnt and make adjustments

Identifying People’s Strengths (including own)

Less about overcoming deficits but about leveraging strengths.

  • Don’t focus on most weaknesses
  • Find what drives each person
  • Assemble team with complimentary strengths
  • Assign tasks/roles based on those strengths

Measuring What Matters

“You have to understand what it is you are better at than everybody else and mercilessly focus your efforts on it.” – Andy Grove - Former Intel CEO

Without measurement: don’t know what we are working toward. Aligned team marching toward shared objective is a high performing team

Importance of Direction:

  • Juggling: no priorities, juggle between multiple priorities
  • Focus: know what company/team is driving toward; simplifies decisions
  • “We want to deliver X. Is this decision good for X?”

What does productivity means?