> OKRs: Objectives and key results for team goal-setting
How does your team measure success? Is it when the project is completed or a revenue milestone has been reached? Or, do you start thinking about success before you reach the goal?
Tracking success is key to ensuring teams can achieve their goals. There are many ways to measure that performance, but too often we put an emphasis on the success instead of focusing on the systems needed to cross the finish line.
That’s why taking time at the beginning of a project to understand the goals is crucial. At Coda, are inspired by companies like Adobe, Google, and Netflix that have found their own goal-setting success with OKRs. And we’ve implemented a similar OKR system so we can not only set audacious goals — we can achieve them, too.
So, what is an OKR and how can you use Coda to implement this system with your team? Let’s start with a quick definition.
What are OKRs?
The term OKRs stands for “objectives and key results.” OKRs are the foundation of a collaborative goal-setting framework to set, track, and measure goals over a given period of time. They’re are widely used by companies at the org-level and team-level to create goal alignment and encourage team engagement on key initiatives that roll up key results.
Since the foundational principles of OKRs are inspired by individual performance, a lot of this framework translates well to our personal lives, too. OKRs can help map out your future success as it relates to career planning, money management, and retirement savings.
One reason OKRs are so popular is that the methodology emphasizes specificity. The more specific and measurable your key result, the more achievable your goal. And in that measurement, you have a range of levers to adjust, like metrics and timeframe. For example, some companies treat OKRs as stretch goals and aim for 70% completion, while others strive for 100% OKRs achievement.
What is the difference between OKRs vs KPIs?
OKRs are a strategic planning framework. They specifically focus on visibility and alignment on goals across the company and team, as well as employee engagement on the creation and tracking of goals across all levels. As such, OKRs serve as the basis for the organization’s
Key performance indicators, or KPIs, track progress and success within that framework over time. They’re usually segmented across departments or teams, and they should absolutely be measurable.
Essentially, KPIs and OKRs are both tools of measurement, but on different scales. While KPIs measure in-progress work with a focus on short-term, OKRs measure progress toward the lofty goals your company and team hope to achieve.
Who created OKRs?
OKRs were originally created by Andy Grove to track goals at Intel. John Doerr, a then-salesman at Intel, carried the
to his new job at venture capitalist firm Kleiner Perkins. He also introduced OKRs to Google—one of Kleiner Perkin’s investments—who, according to Alphabet CEO and Google co-founder Larry Page, used them to propel 10x growth on multiple occasions. In other words, we can trace the diffusion of OKRs across innovative companies and thinkers.
OKR planning strategy
When planning objectives and key results, the OKR framework calls for selecting a few high-performing quantitative initiatives and reprioritizing everything else. John Doerr suggests asking the following questions to frame your discussions:
What is most important for the next three (or six, or twelve) months?
What are our top priorities for the coming period?
Where should people concentrate their efforts?
What are our aspirational goals?
And while there are many ways to decide which initiatives matter most on a company level and to your team, planning is the time for disciplined thinking. Even though it’s usually done in a short time frame, the OKR process isn’t a thing to rush. At Coda, OKR planning takes place in conversations across the company, and we lean on a few best practices to help us focus on respecting energy and time.
Teams everywhere use Coda to brainstorm, set, and measure objectives and key results all in one doc—keeping the path to success clear of obstacles. Coda centralizes the power of docs, tables, and apps so you can write your strategic direction in the same place you’re updating your team on progress to keep everyone together and aligned. No more wrangling out of control spreadsheets, copy/pasting into slide decks, or hunting down a long-forgotten strategy doc.
Yes—if you make them effective. OKRs are a framework like many others, but there's a lot of room to adapt within the methodology. If the traditional OKR framework doesn't work for your company goals, create your own OKR tool that does. Here's an example of how the team at YouTube turned company OKRs into their own
Many companies—from startups to large companies—use OKRs to measure what matters (as John Doerr would say). As you may have guessed from our survey, Coda uses OKRs. Google and Intel still use OKRs. Other companies include Amazon, Spotify, LinkedIn, Adobe, Netflix, Brex, Uber, Twitter, Moz, Trello, and Salesforce.
What are good OKRs examples?
Learn about OKRs and goal-setting from the person who knows them best, in