What is an OKR? Definition, Examples, and a Template

Project managers do more than manage people and time. They must also be able to coordinate people and resources to achieve success.
Project managers have a lot of work to do and are always looking ahead to the next project. You might be wondering how big-name companies such as Amazon, Alphabet and Samsung can sustain their growth over time.
The answer is OKRs.
Before I get ahead of myself, let’s start with the basics: What exactly is OKR?
What is an OKR?
OKR stands for Objectives & Key Results. OKRs are a way for employees to align with company goals by achieving measurable outcomes. This framework is unlike other goal-setting methods because it pushes people beyond their comfort zones to achieve success beyond the limits of what they thought possible.
Each OKR has a set of key results that support it. These key results are the outcomes you need to achieve your goal. Each key result will identify projects or tasks (or initiatives), that can help you reach your goal.
Why are OKRs so important
If you don’t know how you will get there, it is useless to know where to go. OKRs can help align your projects and strategies with company goals so that your team has a clear path towards success.
The OKRs can be used to build company culture and assign meaningful tasks to employees.
The OKR framework: Determining goals and key outcomes
It is important to understand the differences between key results in OKR and objectives in OKR so you can better understand how it can help with your goals.
OKR goals
OKR goals are the primary objectives of an organization. These are the major goals that require dedication and perseverance over many years to achieve positive results. Your goal is the crownstone of OKR’s pyramid. Your key outcomes are the bricks that support it.
OKR key results
The OKR key outcomes are the results that show your progress towards the goal. Your team can track your key outcomes to help them achieve lofty goals. To reach the top of the pyramid, you must first achieve your key objectives.
What is the difference between OKR & KPI?
OKRs are very similar to key performance indicators (or KPIs) which look very similar. An OKR is not the same as a KPI. Key performance indicators are a snapshot of your company’s progress towards your goals. Key results and objectives are more general and look at the future of the organization.
This chart shows a quick comparison of OKRs and key performance indicators.
KPIs of OKRs Numbers used to measure business success. Monitor the current state of affairs and make adjustments every quarter. The OKR methodology: A brief history of the OKR methodology
Andy Grove’s introduction of goal-setting at Intel led to the OKR framework. Intel was moving towards microprocessing and needed a way for employees to stay focused on their goals to succeed.
John Doerr, an Intel employee learned about OKRs and how to use them to communicate business priorities and ensure long term alignment. This knowledge was taken to Google as an investor. After introducing Google’s leadership to the OKR method, they began using OKRs for their quarterly and annual goals. They continue to do this to this day.
OKR has been used by companies in other industries since 2000, when it was implemented by Google.