Outcome-ORIENTED GOAL SETTING WITH

Objectives and Key Results
(OKR)

Learn all about the most successful framework for implementing
Outcome Management -
based on outcome-oriented goal setting and collaboration

Definition

History

Benefits

Drafting OKRs

The OKR Cycle

Connect OKRs

OBJECTIVES AND KEY RESULTS

A short OKR definition

What are OKRs?

OKR stands for "Objectives and Key Results" and is an agile leadership and goal management framework. It is used to set ambitious goals (objectives) that deliver measurable results. OKR is used to bridge the strategy execution gap as the framework links strategies to outcomes and improves transparency, alignment, and employee engagement.

What are OKRs not?

OKRs are not a to-do list: The framework is not used to monitor individual initiatives or staff. Outputs are not in the foreground, as this would lose focus on the essentials.

Objectives

Objectives are ambitious goals and answer the question: "Where do we want to go?".
They provide clear direction and are intended to motivate everyone involved to work towards them.
Objectives are described qualitatively, not quantitatively. There are three core to consider when formulating them: who is the customer, what is the value to be created and what is the future state?
objective example

Key Results

Key Results answer the question "How far have we progressed towards the goal?" They are ideally quantitative and measure whether you are achieving what you promised in the Objective. Key Results usually have a start and a finish value to measure how you are progressing towards the Objective. This allows you to see how close you are to the end goal at any time, and whether adjustments are needed along the way to reach the goal.
Key result example
HOW IT STARTED

The history of OKRs

The history of OKR

Are OKRs a new phenomenon?

Not really, the history of Objectives and Key Results already begins in 1968: At that time, Intel’s CEO, Andy Grove, further developed Peter Drucker's "Management by Objectives" framework into the OKR model. When John Doerr joined Intel in 1974, he got to know OKR and took the method with him to Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers - one of Google's first major investors. Doerr brought OKRs to the corporation, which is now part of Alphabet, and the method is still used company-wide at Google today.
Why OBJECTIVES and KEY RESULTS?

The benefits of OKRs

Over time, the OKR framework is constantly changing and adapting to the challenges of the era. This makes it the ideal companion for agile transformation. As it is an open source framework, it can be applied pragmatically and offers organisations the opportunity to use the exact building blocks that are suitable for their use case.
This brings many advantages:
Focus on outcomes

The most important goals are in focus: Each team works on a limited number of OKRs per cycle. The rule of thumb is: max. 5 Objectives with max. 4 Key Results. The quality criteria of OKRs automatically focus on the most important business results and added value for clients.

Stronger collaboration

Alignment of all teams and individuals at the beginning of the quarter is an essential part of the OKR framework. Vertical and horizontal linkages are taken into account. The resulting cross-functionality ensures a proper use of resources and increases efficiency.

Continuous learning

Since the OKR cycle usually lasts between three and six months, and is thus significantly shorter than the usual strategy cycle, it offers more frequent opportunities to learn and improve the strategy implementation process.

More transparency

OKRs make strategies and their progress visible across all team goals. This creates space for dialogue.

Purpose and motivation

Given all teams know how they are contributing to the strategic goals at all times, their sense of purpose, as well as their commitment, are increased.

Measurable goal achievement

OKR is also an empirical framework. This enables data-driven decisions to be made. This is done through the Key Results assigned to each Objective as well as the data for the strategy implementation process.

OKR Drafting

How to formulate good Objectives and Key Results

A functioning OKR framework stands and falls with the formulation of Objectives and Key Results. For a successful application of OKRs, it is important to maintain and regularly review certain quality criteria for drafting. These are different for Objectives and Key Results. But don't worry: with a little practice, anyone can become a drafting professional for OKRs!
How to draft great OKRs
GO WITH THE FLOW

The OKR cycle

The OKR cycle is at the heart of the goal management framework. It is a clearly defined process with regular events to plan, align, update, reflect and adjust the OKRs. Find out in detail how the OKR cycle works here.
The OKR cycle
BEYOND OBJECTIVES AND KEY RESULTS

Combining OKRs

KPIs, Scrum, Kanban, Hoshin Kanri, SAFe & Co.: The OKR framework can be combined with a variety of classic and agile methods. This often makes implementation easier, as OKRs can be integrated more easily into existing processes. However, the interaction - depending on the method - always looks a little different. That's why you'll find more content here on many possible combinations that could be relevant for your use case.

Workpath employee working
Content

Deep Dive OKR