Before you review our OKR examples it helps to remind ourselves of what OKRs are and review how OKRs are written. This way you are in a better position to understand the examples described below for both Objectives and Key Results.
There are lots of examples of OKRs to learn from. They range from Company OKRs and extend to examples of OKRs for all of the common departments found in a company who might use OKR software like ZOKRI.
Because there’s nothing like being able to write you OKRs vs reading other generic examples, we have started there. In fact, by the end of this page we hope that you actually don’t need to search for OKR example ever again!
Part 1 – A step-by-step guide to writing great OKRs
Part 2 – A useful tool called an OKR canvas to help you learn to write your own OKRs and not have to use OKR examples.
All the way through – There are lots of OKR examples to see all the way through the article and at the end.
Thinking about using OKR?
This is what you and your colleagues need to know about succeeding with this goal setting framework.
In learning to write and manage OKRs, if you’re not careful you can find yourself down rabbit holes and get the impression that OKRs are complicated, when they are simply goals. Every company, team and individual benefits from having them. So let’s write some goals.
Good goals happen through discussions and describe precisely where the biggest improvements need to be made, and a desirable future end-state that is hard to achieve and measurable. Nothing more or less.
OBJECTIVE: I will: E.g. Grow our Product Range
KEY RESULT: As measured by: ____________________
Metrics / KPIs Make Great Key Results
Key Results that are trying to improve metrics make great Key Results. The debate then becomes about which and how many metrics to measure, and what the target values should be. We will discuss Key Result difficulty and OKR grading in a moment.
Give thought to how the target is achieved as well. If you are trying to increase a KPI to a target value, is success measured by:
Adding Ambition aka Stretch In
A good way to dial-in ambition and stretch is to set two targets. One you should or would expect to hit 100% and another that is a stretch but not impossible. Using this method a Key Result could look like:
Milestones Can Work As Key Results As Well
If your Objective is to achieve specific milestones in a period then your might set-up a Key Result that looks like this in ZOKRI. This type of Key Result could easily be an To-dos as it’s an Activity / Project.
Open New Office Location
5% Propose Region
10% Agree Region
15% Propose Location
20% Agree Location
50% Hire Region Head
70% Acquire Office
80% Hire Team
100% Up & Running
The definition of what success looks like for Milestone Key Results is a little more complicated as it might be Hard to achieve but unlike KPI based Key Results, 70% might not be a good result. So if you do want to use Milestones as a Key Result and not an To-dos, where possible we would recommend setting the difficulty as Business-as-Usual, where 100% is the definition of success.
Binary Key Results
There’s no rule that says Key Results can not be binary – either done or not done. It is however hard to track progress between weeks, and it’s hard to grade as 70% of not done is a little strange. That said we do have the ‘Confidence’ input in ZOKRI’s OKR Software. If progress looks back in time, Confidence is a prediction of the future state of your Key Result and can actually be a better indicator of how a Key Result is progressing.
Activity Based Key Results
With Key Results you want to be measuring outcomes not effort. This means you’re measuring a ‘success factor’, not your means of achieving success.
The general guidance is that if you’re doing an activity that involves: completing, defining, providing, helping, developing, planning, creating, delivering, building, implementing, releasing, or launching, then this might be better denied as an To-dos. To-dos can have more flexible due dates that can be within a period or extend beyond the standard OKR planning periods. Which is common for activities.
That said, if you want to create Key Results that are activities you can. ZOKRI makes these easy as well and even link tools like Jira to a Key Result in a number of different ways.
Try To Turn Activity Based Key Results To Outcome Based Key Results
If your Key Results involve:
And success means completing valuable and important projects and tasks, then a question that needs to be answered is – what would be the impact of delivering this project or task?
If we ‘build’ the new feature we ‘think’ we will:
If we ‘launch’ a campaign we ‘think’ we will:
If we ‘complete’ the re-platforming of our tech we ‘think’ we will:
Another way to make activities in to OKRs is to use the activity as the Objective. For example:
Launch [FEATURE NAME] to help sell and retain more customers
“Avoiding measurement is a zero sum game where the impact of hard work is ambiguous and therefore matters less, we ultimately achieve less, and perhaps worse of all, we learn less because we can’t connect what we’re doing with what works or doesn’t – opening the door to being busy doing things that don’t work.”
There is over 35 years of research on goal setting that beyond telling us what we know, which is goal setting is an essential part of achievement, the research tells us why goal setting works and the conditions that make some goals way more effective that others.
If you are not measuring the right metric (KPI) find out if it’s possible and get a baseline. It’s better to define and target the right metric and plan to track it than measure the success of a poor metric you do have.
If you want to add a project or a task, it’s usually better to add it as an To-dos.
An OKR canvas is a great way to practice creating OKRs. Our coaches often use exercises like this for teams learning OKR.
The canvas will guide you to think about and create your OKRs in a structured and best-practice way. It’s a great way to prepare for using OKR software as well if you’re new to OKR.
OKR can be made complicated but they are actually pretty simple. Here’s a simple guide for getting started with OKRs fast.
OKRs – The simple idea that drives 10x growth. Written by John Doerr who brought OKRs to Google, this book is a great for read any team leader interested in growth.
Read the background behind how and why OKRs accelerate performance in companies on this Wikipedia page about Objectives & Key Results.
OKRs are best managed in OKR software. Here is a list of free and paid for OKR software plans and OKR tools for organizations of varying sizes.
Explore the challenges of remote working and learn how to set OKRs that will set up remote teams for success.
OKRs fall short when companies attempt to apply them to individual contributors.
If schools were to adopt OKRs, maybe this would allow for a personalized approach to education that is currently missing.
Private organizations use performance management to understand progress toward goals. The public sector is no different.
Medical clinics can count themselves as some of the most complex businesses to run. Learn about how OKRs can be implemented here.