Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are a simple concept that does heavy lifting, all the best concepts share this commonality.
The TLDR goes something like: Objectives and Key Results are a tool used to create alignment in an organization, by setting goals and establishing what success will look like when you achieve that goal.
Objectives and Key Results
The OKR system was formalized by the management legend Andy Grove in the 1970s. OKRs are finding their place in the spotlight because they were brought to early-Google in 1999 by VC John Doerr and have been done by Google employees every year since introduction.
Objectives should be ambitious, actionable, time-boxed, and qualitative goals you wish to accomplish.
Key Results should be 2-3 quantitative measures that define if the Objective was completed successfully. Oftentimes, Key Results will be either yes/no (E.g. Did X happen?) or numbers you are trying to meet (E.g. 1 million daily-active-users).
An Example Using a Hotel
Here’s an example set of Objectives and Key Results that a hotel might make at the beginning of a quarter.
- Objective: Increase international guest bookings.
- Key Result: Check-in 100 guests from outside the country using their passports.
- Key Result: Check-in guests from 5 different countries.
- Objective: Have more guests eat breakfast at the hotel restaurant.
- Key Result: Increase revenue from breakfast by 20%.
- Key Result: Increase average number of guests served breakfast daily to 25.
An Example Using the Empire
- Measure What Matters by John Doerr is the deep dive into OKRs authored by the man who brought OKRs to Google in its infancy. John Doerr spoke about OKRs at TED2018 in Vancouver.
- Good basic OKR explainer can be found here on Medium. Also see the Google Playbook below.
- High Output Management by Andy Grove is a management resource that is touted by thinkers such as Marc Andreessen and Peter Drucker.
- Google’s OKR Playbook
- John Doerr’s example OKR cycle
- Website for John Doerr’s Measure What Matters book
- The first time I read about OKRs came from going through the awesome lists repository, which is one of my favorite ways to find new libraries and information on programming topics. The awesome-okr repository is a great place to find more resources specific to OKRs.