What is an OKR? Definition, Examples, and Template

Project managers are more than just managing people and time. They also have to be able to align people and resources for successful outcomes.
Project managers have a lot to manage and are constantly looking ahead to the next projects. You might have wondered how large-name companies like Amazon, Alphabet, and Samsung can sustain their growth over time.
The answer is: OKRs.
Before I get ahead of myself, let’s first look at the basics: What is OKR?
What is an OKR?
OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results. OKRs help employees align with company goals through measurable outcomes. This framework is different from other goal-setting methods in that it pushes individuals beyond their comfort zones to achieve success beyond what they believed possible.
Each objective in OKRs is supported by a set key results. The key results are the outcomes that you must achieve in order to reach your objective. Each key result will indicate projects or tasks (or initiatives) that can help you maximize your key outcomes and get closer towards your goal.
Why are OKRs important
It is useless to know where you want to go if you don’t know how to get there. OKRs help you align your strategies and projects with company goals, so your team has a clear path to success.
To build your company culture, and give employees meaningful tasks, the OKRs will be a purposeful way to give meaning to mundane everyday activities.
The OKR framework: Defining goals and key results
Understanding the difference between key results and objectives in OKR is essential to understand how it can help you achieve your goals.
OKR goals
OKR goals are the primary goals of an organisation. These are the major goals, which require commitment and perseverance over many months to achieve positive results. Your goal is the capstone of OKR’s pyramid. The bricks supporting it are your key outcomes.
OKR key results
The OKR key outcomes are the outcomes that indicate your progress towards the objective. Your team can track your key results to help them reach lofty goals over time. You must first achieve your key goals in order to reach the top of the pyramid.
What is the difference between OKR and KPI?
OKRs look very similar to their cousins, key performance indicators (or KPIs). An OKR is different from a KPI because key performance indicators provide a snapshot of your business’s progress towards your goals. Key results and objectives, on the other hand, are more general and focus on the future of an organization.
This chart shows a quick comparison between OKRs and KPIs.
OKRs KPIs Numbers that measure business success Bold plans to the future Monitor the current state of affairs Reset every quarter. Ongoing goals Flexible, changes over the time Indicate the trajectory business activities Analyze and track business performance A brief history about the OKR methodology
The OKR framework is a result of Andy Grove’s introduction to goal-setting at Intel. Intel was moving towards microprocessing at the time and needed a way to help employees stay focused on their goals in order to succeed.
John Doerr, an Intel employee, learned about OKRs and how they could be used to communicate business priorities and ensure long-term alignment. This knowledge was then taken with him to Google as an early investor. After introducing Google’s leadership the OKR method, they started using OKRs to achieve their quarterly and annual goals. They continue to do so to this day.
Companies in orlando have been using OKR since Google implemented it in 2000.