What are OKRs ?

Objectives and Key Results is a popular methodology for maintaining focus and alignment between each department and teams's various initiatives, to ensure everybody is working towards the same set of goals and that the goals are properly tracked to monitor progress towards them being achieved. OKRs were originally invented by Intel and are central to many successful firms such as Google and LinkedIn.

An OKR starts with a list of Objectives, with a start and end date that typically covers a quarter year. The "Objectives" aspect should be somewhat "aspirational", in that it should be a goal that people should aspire to achieve but that may not be perfectly achievable. In fact, many OKR experts recommend that an Objective should be only 75% achieved: any more then the objective simply wasn't challenging enough, any less then the objective was too unrealistic.

An OKR isn't just an Objective, though. It is also a list of "Key Results" that are very specific measurements of whether that objective has been achieved. By having this set of measurements you are saying that you can know for sure that the objective has been met, so long as the key results' target values were reached.

It's important to remember that a Key Result is not a task. It is simply a measure of performance or some consequential factor. 

The same can be said of an Objective: They should not be tasks, but outcomes that are desired. You should not be able to read the objective or key results and know exactly what needs doing. The objective should indicate more the "why", now the "how" of what needs to be done.

Next Topic: Creating an Objective

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