What is OKR - Objectives and Key Results

William Meller - What is OKR - Objectives and Key Results
Objectives and key results are goal-setting frameworks used by individuals, teams, and organizations to define measurable goals and track their outcomes.

It all started with Peter Drucker, the godfather of modern management. 

Peter Drucker published "The Practice of Management" in 1954, focusing on management as a separate responsibility for the first time. 

It's easy for managers to get caught in the "activity trap," unable to focus on the broader company vision and long-term strategy. 

He introduced MBO - Management by Objectives - in order to fix that.

As Intel's CEO, Andy Grove upgraded Peter Drucker's idea of MBO with the concept of Key Results. In this way, OKRs were born, and Andy Grove became the father of the OKR framework.

Despite its simplicity, the idea is brilliant. In order to meet the Objective, the Key Results were designed to measure and facilitate that achievement. 

As a result, subjectivity is reduced and shortcuts are avoided. 

The OKRs ensured that the team was moving in the right direction and knew exactly what they needed to measure.

It was in 1999 that Kleiner Perkins invested in Google, and John Doerr became one of its advisors. 

As a Google advisor in 1999, Doerr introduced OKRs. 

As a result, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin adopted the idea across the entire team (around 30 employees at the time). 

As a result, OKRs have become an integral part of Google's culture and DNA. 

Google's growth, many innovations, flat hierarchies, and high employee morale can be attributed to OKRs (explained in the book "How Google Works").

Well, to make it simple, the OKR methodology is used by teams and individuals to set challenging, ambitious goals with measurable outcomes. 

Objectives

Objectives are simply what needs to be accomplished, nothing more, nothing less. 

Objectives are significant, concrete, action-oriented, and (ideally) inspiring. 

They can prevent fuzzy thinking and ineffective execution when properly designed and deployed.

Key Results

We benchmark our Key Results and monitor our progress toward our Objective. 

A successful KR is specific, time-bound, and both aggressive and realistic. 

Most importantly, they are measurable and verifiable. There is no gray area, and no room for doubt when it comes to a key result's requirements. 

Each quarter, we do a regular check and grade the key results based on whether they have been achieved or not.

What is OKR - Objectives and Key Results

A measurable goal is a way to track progress, create alignment, and encourage engagement.

Most organizations without goal management already in place benefit most from OKR by shifting their focus from output to outcomes. 

In most cases, OKRs are created on an annual and quarterly basis. 

In general, company objectives are set annually, while individual and team OKRs are set quarterly.

Company OKRs set the direction for the entire organization. 

OKRs are typically written with an Objective at the top and 3 to 5 supporting Key Results below it. 

They can also be written as a statement: I will (Objective) as measured by (Key Results).

The OKR process creates focus, accountability, transparency, and alignment within an organization. 

As a result, employee engagement and performance increase.

For quite some time, I have been using OKRs in both my personal and professional lives. 

Basically, my career and personal goals are organized based on key results that I must achieve to succeed.

Consider practicing the OKRs to see how you can benefit from this framework in practice.

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