Writing Good OKRs

Before writing an OKR you need a good understanding of what you want to accomplish. First focus on your Objective. Think of the potential Objectives you’d like to accomplish this quarter, and ask yourself the following questions:

    • Does the Objective help achieve company goals?
    • Is the Objective inspiring?
    • Does the Objective move the company forward?
    • Is the Objective timebound?
    • Is the Objective set for the end of the quarter or year?

It is also important to consider what Objectives are not:

Objectives should not be easy. You should only expect to achieve up to 2/3rd of your objective in a quarter. If an Objective is achieved well before the end of the quarter you weren’t thinking big enough. And if you don’t reach anywhere near that you may have set an annual goal instead.

Objectives are not projects with sub tasks. Objectives are aspirational goals. They are not one off activities, which would be considered as Tasks or Plans.

So if we wanted to write an Objective for a company to increase their revenue a good objective would be to:

Achieve record 3rd quarter revenue growth

This Objective works, since its aspirational, time bound, and helps move the company forward.

An example of a bad Objective would be:

Keep making revenue

This is a bad Objective as it is not time bound, inspiring, and not forward looking.

With Objectives, it’s all about being qualitative. They should describe the desired outcome. For example: Understand customer needs is a good Objective because it’s clear and aspirational. You don’t need Objectives to be measurable, unlike with key results.

Keep in mind that Objectives should also be time-bound (quarterly or annually). There’s no point in setting goals at all if they’ll just carry over quarter to quarter without any improvement. You can see more examples of Objectives for your given field at okrexamples.co. To play around with defining OKRs, sign up for free OKR software.