How to Create Good OKRs 🎯
Outputs vs outcomes, a simple process to get started, and examples from successful companies.
OKRs is the world’s most popular goal setting framework.
It stands for Objectives & Key Results, and is used by companies and individuals alike to define goals and track their outcomes.
🎯 Objectives are qualitative descriptions of what you want to achieve. They are short and inspirational. E.g. Increase application speed.
📈 Key Results are a set of metrics that measure your progress towards the objective. E.g. Bring API response time under 1 sec for the 95th percentile.
They were famously introduced at Google by John Doerr, in the early 2000s, and they spread rapidly across big tech and startups alike.
However, OKRs are way older than that.
John Doerr learned about OKRs from Andy Grove during his time at Intel. Grove introduced them in his seminal book High Output Management, in 1983, but Doerr recalls hearing about them as early as in 1975!
Despite almost 50 years in the business, there is still controversy on how to create good OKRs. Companies struggle with the right formulation, cascading goals, following up with their teams, and more.
Examples online are often incomplete, and it isn’t clear how to adapt them to your use case.
This article is a primer on OKRs and how to work with them. We will cover:
✨ What makes OKRs special — why they are so successful and widespread.
⚔️ Outputs vs Outcomes — the key separation to make OKRs effective.
🔭 Beyond OKRs — frameworks and ideas that complement OKRs.
🎽 How to create OKRs with your team — a lean process and tips to get started.
🍱 Real-world Examples — from the likes of Atlassian, GitLab, Buffer, and more.
Let’s dive in 👇
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