OKR Examples & Writing Tips

Go From Generic OKR Examples
To Writing Your Own OKR

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.

okr examples

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 your 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

  • How to write great Objectives

  • How to write Key Results that fit perfectly with your Objective

  • How to avoid common issues those new to OKRs face when creating 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.

 
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A practical guide for C-Levels to optimize strategy, OKRs, people and company culture to create a step-change in performance.

Company OKR Examples

Finance OKR Examples

HR OKR
Examples

Marketing OKR Examples

Sales OKR
Examples

Customer Service OKR Examples

Engineering OKR Examples

Product Marketing OKR Examples

Product Mgmt OKR Examples

Data Science OKR Examples

Growth OKR Examples

A simple guide to writing OKRs

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 and will fail, 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.

  • Your Objective – What do you want or even need to make progress on, why and why now?
  • You Key Results – Which measurements (1 – 4), if achieved would meant that you have achieved that Objective? 

John Doerr, who introduced OKR to Google, uses a simple way to express how you should write OKR.

OBJECTIVE: I will: E.g. Grow our Product Range

KEY RESULT: As measured by: ____________________

 Another approach that can make it easier to write good OKRs is:
 
OBJECTIVE: What do we need to make progress on this (year / quarter) and why now?
KEY RESULT: We will achieve this if we get anywhere near this target by the end of the year / quarter
KEY RESULT: And this target
KEY RESULT: And this one
 
The above format would then look like:
 
OBJECTIVE: Grow our Product Range so customer get what they want more often
KEY RESULT: Increase SKUs from 5000 to 10000
KEY RESULT: Increase website conversion from 3.5% to 5%
KEY RESULT: Increase Average Order Size from $130 to $200
 
How to write an Objective
  • Describe the change the company or team needs to see
  • Write it a little like a Mission Statement for a Year or a Quarter
  • Describe the challenge / opportunity
  • Describe the benefits to help the reader understand ‘what’ and ‘why’
  • Be qualitative and not quantitative – that’s what Key results are for
  • Be positive and even inspirational
 

Financial Objective Examples

  • Increase profitability so we can re-invest more in growth
  • Diversify revenue sources so we are more resilient to change
  • Reduce the Cost of Production so we are more price competitive

 

Customer & Product Centric Objective Examples

  • High levels customer satisfaction will be the foundations for growth
  • Launch a product that customers clearly value and prefer
  • Achieve Product Market Fit so we can fund growth
  • Deliver customer value faster and usage and revenue will grow
  • Increase customer choice and we will grow AOVs and order frequency
  • Lead the way on price and sell way more
  • Proactively provide support and deal with issues faster
  • Be seen as trusted advisor and business partner
  • Be the ‘go-to’ company for X
  • Provide more opportunities for customers to grow and we grow
  • Be considered a long-term partner
  • Build deeper relationships with customers so we know how and when to help
  • Provide expert guidance when needed
  • Understand customer needs and we can help them succeed

 

Process Centric Objective Examples

  • Make our complicated reporting process simple
  • Improve target account selection process to sell more
  • Improve Marketing & Sales alignment to drive more sales
  • Expand into new territories to grow our sales
  • Strengthen Key Account relationships to remove high value churn
  • Improve management of Risk & Compliance
  • Create a plan for fast full system recovery
  • Use technology to improve efficiency of X
  • Improve the Procurement Process to we have the best suppliers
  • Make distribution more efficient so we improve margins
  • Gather and share customer insights systematically

 

People & Learning Centric Objective Examples

  • Company-wide continual learning and development helps everyone succeed
  • Make high levels of Psychologically Safety a company-wide standard
  • Make goal, role & executional plan clarity a given so we know how we all succeed
  • Ensure all of the work we do has a know impact
  • Make appraisals a positive experience
  • Help our managers become multipliers and never diminishers
  • Provide wellbeing support to those that need it
  • Compensation & benefits are fair, consistent and competitive

How to write Key Results

The Best Key Results Have Measurable Outcomes

 

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.

  • Increase [METRIC /KPI] from X to Y
  • Reduce [METRIC /KPI] from X to Y
  • Keep [METRIC /KPI] above X
  • Keep [METRIC /KPI] below X
  • Keep [METRIC /KPI] between X & Y

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:

  • The metric value at the end of the year or quarter
  • The sum of the weekly or monthly value updates
  • An average of the weekly or monthly updates across the year or quarter

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:

  • Increase [METRIC /KPI] from X to Y or at a stretch Z
 

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

0% Start
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.

 

Key Results With Harder To Measure Outcomes


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:

  • Completing
  • Defining
  • Providing
  • Helping
  • Developing
  • Planning
  • Creating
  • Delivering
  • Building
  • Implementing
  • Releasing
  • Launching
    Etc…

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?

 

What would be the desired measurable outcomes?

If we ‘build’ the new feature we ‘think’ we will:

  • Increase Weekly Active User from X to Y
  • Increase Free to Paid Conversions from X% to Y%

If we ‘launch’ a campaign we ‘think’ we will:

  • Increase Organic Traffic from Paid Search Keywords by 20%
  • Generate 1000 downloads
  • Generate 200 MQLs for Sales

If we ‘complete’ the re-platforming of our tech we ‘think’ we will:

  • Increase Story Points Per sprint from X to Y
  • Increase release frequency from X to Y
  • Reduce Customer Reported Bugs from X to Y

 

Try making your Activity your Objective

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

  • Get 50% of existing customer adoption to adopt new feature
  • Reduce X as reason for churn or closed / lost to zero

“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.”

 

Key Result guidance

  • Create a set of 2 to 4 Key Results for each Objective
  • Key Results should be measurable and therefore ‘ideally’ contains a metric (KPI) & a target (increase, decrease or maintain over time) with leading indicators being better than lagging, especially for quarterly Key Results.
  • Metric based Key Results should be hard to achieve with 70% to 100% being good and amazing achievements.
  • Milestone based Key Results are OK as well but need success criteria defined – is 70% good?
  • Binary – Done / No Done Key Results should be the exceptions

 

Why should Key Result targets be hard?

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.

  • Goals increase our focus on the relevant activities – Goals serve as a directive function. They direct attention towards goal relevant activities, and away from irrelevant ones.
  • Hard goals prolong effort – When employees can control their time, e.g. they work remotely, hard goals prolong their effort, with sustained effort helping to achieve more.
  • Hard goals increase effort – Hard goals are energising and lead to greater effort. Easy to achieve goals have low levels of impact and value so should be avoided.
  • Hard goals accelerate learning & improved collaboration – Hard goals cause the arousal, discovery and use of task relevant knowledge and strategies. Easy goals don’t.

 

Useful tips:

If you are not measuring the right KPI or Pirate Metric 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.

 

More OKR Examples

Social Media OKR Examples

Executive Assistant OKR Examples

Operations OKR Examples

Food & Restaurant OKR Examples

School & Education OKR Examples

Media Industry OKR Examples

Manufacturing OKR Examples

Public Sector OKR Examples

Further Reading For Objectives & Key Results

Ultimate Guide To Objectives & Key Results

OKR can be made complicated but they are actually pretty simple. Here’s a simple guide for getting started with OKRs fast.

Book – Measure What Matters

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.

OKR goal-setting framework – Wiki

Read the background behind how and why OKRs accelerate performance in companies on this Wikipedia page about Objectives & Key Results.

What The Best OKR Software Looks Like

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.

New Language For Remote Working

Explore the challenges of remote working and learn how to set OKRs that will set up remote teams for success.

Use OKRs for Teams, Not Individuals

OKRs fall short when companies attempt to apply them to individual contributors.

Revolutionize Education with OKRs

If schools were to adopt OKRs, maybe this would allow for a personalized approach to education that is currently missing.

Using OKRs in Local Government

Private organizations use performance management to understand progress toward goals. The public sector is no different.

The Success of OKRs in a Medical Clinic

Medical clinics can count themselves as some of the most complex businesses to run. Learn about how OKRs can be implemented here.