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The Art of the OKR

http://eleganthack.com/the-art-of-the-okr/

eleganthack.com

The Art of the OKR
I wrote a book on using OKRs called Radical Focus: Achieving Your Most Important Goals with Objectives and Key Results Get it on Amazon or Gumroad As well, I run OKR workshops to get you started if you want to adopt this powerful technique. Contact me.

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Objectives and Key Results (OKR)

Objectives and Key Results (OKR)

The Objective is qualitative, and the KR’s (most often three) are quantitative.

They are used to focus a group or individual around a bold goal. The objective sets a goal for a set period of time, usually a quarter. The key results tell you if the objective has been met by the end of the time.

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Objectives

Objectives

Your objective defined in a single sentence should be:

  • Qualitative and inspirational. The objective is designed to get people jumping out of bed in the morning with excitement.
  • Time-bound. You want it to be a clear sprint toward a goal, doable in a month or a quarter.
  • Actionable by the team independently. Your Objective has to be truly yours, and you can’t have the excuse of “marketing didn’t market it.”

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Key Results

Key Results

Key results take all that inspirational language and quantifies it.

You create them by asking a simple question “how would we know if we met our objective?”

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KRs Should be Difficult, not Impossible

You are looking for a sweet spot where you are pushing yourself and your team to do bigger things, and where you have a 50/50 shot of failing.

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OKRs Cascade

Much of the value in OKRs comes from the conversations on what matters, how it will be measured and what it means for the teams who are used to working from their own standards, apart from the business goals.


Individual OKRs are about becoming better at your job, as well as helping your product get better.

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OKRs Part of Your Regular Rhythm

OKRs Part of Your Regular Rhythm

Often people fail ...

...because they set OKRs at the beginning of the quarter, and then forget about them until the end of the quarter.

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Don't Change OKRs...

...halfway through your bounded time period.

Changing them dilutes focus, and keeping teams focused is the entire point of the OKR.

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Get Ready to Fail

OKRs aren’t just about hitting targets but about learning what you are really capable of. When missing a KR you've learned a ton about what works and what doesn't. 

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Goals should be aspirational

If you fail to meet them, you probably set difficult ones for yourself.
Goals should inspire you to stretch yourself. If you hit all of your goals every time, they might not be ambitious enough.

SMART goal-setting framework

Set goals that are:

  • Specific: It will be easier to see what you need to accomplish.
  • Measurable: How will you know when you’ve achieved your goal?
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Locke and Latham’s 5 Principles of Goal-Setting

  1. Clarity: clear goals help with understanding the task at hand.
  2. Challenge: the goal should be challenging enough to prove motivating, but not impossible to achieve. 
  3. Commitment: involve your team in the goal-setting process.
  4. Feedback: measure your progress and seek advice.
  5. Task complexity: be careful in adding too much complexity to your goals as it can impact morale, productivity, and motivation.

Objectives & Key Results (OKRs) framework for goal setting

  • Objectives – This is what you hope to accomplish. Objectives usually take the form of broad goals that are not measurable (that’s what the Key Results section is for).
  • Key Results – Based on objectives, the key results are almost always defined with a specific number.

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Your people need to feel your presence as a leader as they will have fewer opportunities to see you face to face when they work remotely.

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