Objectives and Key Results (OKR) is a management framework that bridges the strategy to execution gap. The OKR canvas is a set of tools that will help you implement OKR in your organization.
Much of Google’s success early success and rapid growth is attributed to its adoption of the OKR framework.
Learn how to use OKR’s to improve strategy execution in your organization. In addition, I have three free OKR pdf canvas templates you can download.
The original idea for OKR can be traced to Andy Grove when he was CEO at Intel.
Initially, it was framed as Management by Objectives, but John Doerr changed some of the principles and as a result, it evolved into the Objectives and Key Results framework.
If you want to explore OKR in more detail I recommend you read the book Measure What Matters.
One of the first companies to embrace it was Google. Although they are known as a technology company, their biggest asset is the smart creative people they employ.
Google recognized the power of their people developing their own solutions to the objectives and key results.
They soon realized the benefits of this approach by engaging and aligning the talent within Google to the broader organizational goals.
However, Google (and all companies using OKR) need to set the governance and boundaries around what work takes place. This is where weekly bottom-up and top-down meet. Managers and their teams work together to agree the best way to tackle problems and set key results.
The OKR method provides a team with a common purpose.
Google invests in training people from day one on the OKR method and how they can use it.
A key requirement is to train people at every level of the business to understand and buy-in to the OKR approach. Although training can take valuable time out of the day-to-day business, the benefits are soon realized.
What Are OKR’s
Google’s OKR methodology is a LEAN and FOCUSED approach to align strategy with team objectives and tasks. It helps on three levels:
1. Simple – Simple and easy to understand.
2. Discipline – Follow up, performance focus and with regular feedback.
3. Transparency and Communication – open team policy ensures people are aware of alignment within and across teams.
It’s very simple and anybody can create objectives and key results.
The two parts of OKR:
• Objective (your goal).
• Set of three Key Results (how do we measure our goal achievement).
Achieve product income growth of X% by end of first quarter.
1. Launch three campaigns to increase top end of marketing funnel by 50%.
2. Improve conversion rate optimization across from X% to Y% – Acquisition stage (see growth marketing blueprint)
3. Develop five free guides to improve sign-ups from X to Y.
Improve the length of time people spend on website by 40%:
1. Rework existing content into six guides.
2. Launch two new features to make pages lighter and with improved usability
How OKR Scoring Works
Scores – A sliding scale between 0 and 1 that indicates whether you missed, came close to, or hit your stated target for the KR. For example:
.3 = you missed the mark by quite a lot
.7 = you didn’t hit your target, but made great progress
1 = you hit your stretch target (awwwww yeah…)
Objective: Increase product use in mobile app
1. Launch a new feature (1st-month score: 1.0)
1. Have 80% of customers adopt new feature (1st-month score: 0.5)
2. Generate XX number of partners posts/reviews about the new feature (1st-month score: 0.3)
3. Have 0% error rate for new feature (1st-month score: 0.7)