How many OKRs should you set?

The number of OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) that you should have will depend on the size and needs of your company. Some organizations may only have a few OKRs, while others may have many more.

A reminder of why we set OKRs?

Before we explore how many OKRs you should set, let’s remind ourselves of why we set OKRs, with the main reasons being:

  1. To have a north star
    Without some sort of measurable goal, it can be difficult to know whether you’re making progress or not. OKRs can help provide that guidance.
  2. To improve focus and efficiency
    By setting specific goals, you can ensure that everyone in the organization is working towards the same objectives. This can help eliminate wasted effort and increase overall productivity.
  3. To foster a culture of accountability
    When everyone has specific goals that they are responsible for achieving, it creates a sense of accountability and ownership. This can lead to greater engagement and buy-in from team members.
  4. To track progress over time
    By tracking OKRs over time, you can see how well the organization is doing in terms of meeting its goals. This information can be used to make necessary adjustments and improvements.

How many OKRs should you set?

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including the size and scope of your company, the amount of resources you have available, and the nature of your business. That said, there are some general guidelines you can follow when determining how many OKRs to set.

If you’re just getting started with setting OKRs, it’s generally advisable to start small and gradually increase the number of OKRs as you gain experience. This allows you to fine-tune your process and ensure that each OKR is properly aligned with your company’s overall strategy.

Once you’ve got a few successful cycles under your belt, you can begin to increase the number of OKRs in order to achieve more ambitious goals. However, it’s important not to bite off more than you can chew – setting too many OKRs can lead to confusion and frustration among team members, which can ultimately sabotage your efforts.

As a general rule of thumb, most companies should aim for 3-5 major OKRs per quarter. This gives you enough flexibility to pursue a variety of objectives without over complicating things. Of course, there’s no hard and fast rule – ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what works best for your company.

There are a few factors to consider when determining the number of OKRs that is right for your company:

  • Size of your team
    The size of your team may impact the number of OKRs that you have. If you have a small team, you may be able to focus on a few key OKRs, while larger teams may need to set more OKRs to ensure that everyone is aligned and working towards the same goals.
  • Resources and capabilities
    It’s important to consider the resources and capabilities of your team when setting OKRs. You should aim to set OKRs that are challenging, but achievable, given your team’s resources and capabilities.

 

Overall, the number of OKRs that you should have will depend on the size and needs of your company. It’s important to find the right balance between setting enough OKRs to drive progress, but not so many that your team becomes overwhelmed or unable to focus.

A good rule-of-thumb is that the fewer active OKRs running at any one time the more likely they are going to be achieved as focus is not being diluted. Which is why your choice of OKRs, and more specifically, the creation of OKRs that will move-the-needle is important.

What is the role of OKR tools?

OKR (Objectives and Key Results) tools are software platforms designed to help organizations manage and track their OKRs. These tools typically offer features such as the ability to set and track OKRs, assign tasks and responsibilities, and monitor progress towards achieving goals.

There are a number of OKR tools available, each with their own unique features and capabilities. Some common features of OKR tools include:

  • Setting and tracking OKRs
    OKR tools allow you to set and track your objectives and key results, typically through the use of a dashboard or other visual interface.
  • Assigning tasks and responsibilities
    OKR tools often allow you to assign tasks and responsibilities to team members, helping to ensure that everyone is aligned and working towards the same goals.
  • Monitoring progress
    OKR tools typically offer features for monitoring progress towards achieving your OKRs, such as the ability to track key results and measure progress using a grading system.
  • Collaboration and communication
    OKR tools may also offer features for collaboration and communication, such as the ability to share OKRs and updates with team members, or to hold team meetings or check-ins.

 

Overall, OKR tools can be a useful tool for organizations looking to implement the OKR goal-setting method. They can help teams set and track OKRs, assign tasks and responsibilities, and monitor progress towards achieving their goals.

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Matt Roberts - ZOKRI

Matt Roberts

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Ian Harvey

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Matt Roberts

Project Principle

Matt is the founder of ZOKRI and author of the book Force Multipliers. His career started in media planning, advertising and digital marketing. He founded his first VC backed technology company in 2009, exiting in 2016.

Having held positions like Chief Strategy Office, and Chief Product Officer, in addition to various sales and marketing roles, Matt has a rare combination of perspectives and skills. He can seamlessly transitions between leadership conversations to being in the trenches with sales, marketing, customer service, data and HR teams.

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Customer comment on Matt’s energy and passion, not just his know-how. In workshops this is an important and welcomed attribute, passion is infectious.

A guiding principle Matt lives by is ‘rapid value delivery’, and together with the team, many of the frameworks and tools used are geared towards this goal. Part of the rapid value delivery philosophy is to leverage what you know already as much as possible.

To enable this, Matt and the team will want to absorb and build on what you know and make positive changes, blending short-term opportunity with longer-term strategic advantage.

Ian Harvey

Project Principle

Ian is a Strategy and OKR thought leader with over 30 years of experience, helping organizations ranging from world leaders to ambitious startups and scale-ups.

His unique professional journey spans roles as a strategist, software engineering leader, product manager and a co-founder. This multidisciplinary background equips him with a comprehensive perspective, making him a valuable consultant capable of quickly identifying capabilities that hold an organization back.

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In the last four years, Ian has focused on collaborating with C-suite executives of startups and scale-ups, aiding them in articulating their strategic vision and bringing it to life through effective OKR frameworks. His work has led to enhanced strategic clarity and execution for these organizations.

Ian champions the philosophy that continuous learning is the cornerstone of continuous improvement. By leveraging his expertise in product management, he assists organizations in engaging more deeply with their customers, powering strategic and tactical insights.

This approach not only aligns with his belief in the transformative power of learning but also ensures organizations are primed for sustained success.