Learn all about OKRs

by answering most commonly asked questions on OKRs

What are OKRs?

OKRs are a strategy execution framework based on critical thinking, streamlining teams to business objectives, and being thoughtful about how metrics and work is measured. 

OKRs are made up of three separate but interrelated fundamentals;

O - Objectives: What do we need to achieve and why do we need to achieve it?

Tasks and Initiatives: What do we need to do to get there? 

KR - Key Results: How do we measure success?

OKRs work with a simple philosophy - let’s shift the focus from me to we. It ensures employees work together to focus their effort on what is most important, in order to make measurable contributions that will drive the company forward.

This framework was developed by Intel’s Andy Grove and publicized by John Doerr in his book “Measure What Matters.” Organizations like Google are known for their functioning on OKR systems to supercharge growth and drive change and innovation. More than 80% of Silicon Valley startups have adopted OKRs and experienced a meteoric rise in their growth - so yes, this method really works!

Check out our awesome collection of Ebooks on OKRs

How big should my startup be before adopting OKRs?

Even small startups with just three members adopt OKRs. However, when choosing an OKR tool, it is recommended that you are an organization of at least 10-15 members strong with at least 2 distinct functions e.g. Sales & Marketing, Engineering.

Teams tend to adopt OKRs tools better when they are 25 or more wherein process adherence is a strong need!

Where do Tasks Fit in OKR Framework?

Tasks are your to-do list as activities needed to achieve your Objectives. They should not be mistaken for Os and KRs.

How to get an OKR Meeting right?

There’s a number of things to look out for when it comes to OKR meetings. Keep in mind that these meetings are not a task-performance-evaluation tool - the goal is to review progress, make tweaks in the strategy if needed, and inspire teams to keep up the good work!

  • When setting OKRs, do it with teams rather than individually - and make them aspirational but not unrealistic
  • Visualize OKR alignment and team collaboration
  • Focus on outcomes, not activity check-offs - don’t let things get tasky! 
  • Call out blockers and identify at-risk KRs early
  • Give constructive feedback and recognition
  • Celebrate success and failures both!
  • Do this on a weekly or fortnightly basis

What is the best time to introduce OKRs?

In short - NOW!

OKRs are a strategy execution framework that has gained popularity globally - we hear success stories everywhere, so get into it now! The best time to introduce OKRs is when your company has a clear mission, your sponsor and business leaders are 100% on board, and the organization is ready to take the key steps to integrating OKRs into its business cycle. If your team is new to OKRs, getting an OKR coach is a huge added bonus!

So how do we start, you ask? Take off with an OKR pilot and get scaling! Our ebook on How To Run an OKR Pilot has all the basics covered.

What are the common mistakes while executing OKRs?

OKRs, when executed correctly, can really improve your business performance. If you’re not seeing the results as promised, you might be making one or more of the following mistakes:

  • Uncertain sponsorship
  • Setting ‘safe’ goals or creating way too many OKRs
  • Turning company Key Results to the Objective of a team
  • Using the wrong metrics to measure achievements
  • Not tracking regularly enough
  • Using OKRs to play the blame game, rather than inspiring teams

Want to learn more about OKR Execution? Check out our free ebook How to Avoid Execution Traps in 5 Easy Steps here. Or learn from the expert as KC, Senior Customer Engineer at Google, shares his experience with OKRs here.

What Are Common Pitfalls and Mistakes in Understanding OKRs?

To get the best out of OKRs, one needs to understand what this system really is. OKRs are not a performance evaluation tool, nor are they a task list to fill and forget. Rather, OKRs are a framework to align the goals of different teams and departments and measure the growth of the company as a whole, and how each employee contributes towards achieving the larger mission. They improve overall business performance by setting a rhythm for review, feedback and conversations. The best part is the flexibility of OKRs - they are never set in stone, and they can and should be revised for changing business climates. 

Still curious? Get a more in-depth look at OKR mistakes here.

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