“If you set a crazy, ambitious goal and miss it, you’ll still achieve something remarkable.”
Larry Page, Co-Founder at Google
In previous chapters of this OKR guide, we have seen the ‘why’ of OKRs and how their implementation impacts your organization. OKRs are personified leadership that gets woven into the complete organization and drives the visionary goals.
In this section, we will start implementing OKR by understanding in depth what Objectives, Key Results, and Projects mean and how to design them.
We also have a 10-day email course on implementing OKR specifically for early-stage startups that you can use to take actionable steps each day for rolling out your OKR program.
*add a link to OKR email course subscription*
Objectives are the strategic priorities you envision for your organization, that could be immediate or long-term. They are focused on attaining the high-level goals that cut across the organization and depend on all teams for successful execution. Depending upon your organization’s priority, objectives are of 2 distinct types:
Committed OKR Objective example:
Aspirational OKR Objective example:
The type of OKR you choose truly depends on the ambition and stage at which your company resides. For a stagnated business or an ambitious entrepreneur, Moonshot OKRs would make more sense. For everyone else, Committed OKRs could be focused on.
Writing Good OKRs, as mentioned previously in this OKR Guide, can send either your organization to the moon, or your organization's rocketship could deflect off somewhere in the ocean.
The first step to writing good OKRs is to nail your Objectives that reflect your vision, the organization's aspirations for business growth, and available resources. Here’s what makes a good OKR objective:
At Superbeings.ai, we have designed an easy to use tool for you to create and manage your OKR program. One can view and track their objectives and key results in one single place along with assigning roles and organizing OKR meetings. We also provide you intelligence on your progress to ensure maximum achievement in completing the designed OKRs.
Here’s a glimpse into our tool with some OKR Objective examples written by implementing best practices:
Let’s understand more about writing OKRs by studying some examples.
In this section, we have demonstrated here how an objective can be made more effective to ensure it is well understood and can be attained by the team.
Increase traffic by 10%
Scale website traffic to 1 Million unique visitors by Q1 2022
We have made the Objective more specific and assigned a timeline that would help employees design measurement scales with Key Results and chart out an adequate plan of action in the form of Projects.
*Read this article for more OKR rewriting exercise examples*
While you have marked your goalposts, the pathway towards the same seems hazy at first. To ensure your team can visualize progress and know if they are going in the right direction, defining key results helps.
“If it does not have a number, it is not a Key Result.”
Marissa Mayer, former Vice President at Google
Hence, Key Results are the measurable steps that your execution teams need to take to achieve the objectives. Also, a Key Result needs to measure what matters. It’s an answer in terms of ‘How’ to the ‘Why’ of your Objectives.
Your team should be able to visualize Key Results as small steps that can lead to giant leaps towards achieving your objectives.
Let’s take an objective and key result example where we are achieving a monopolistic market share of a product. While monopoly dreams sound great, how will your team know we are indeed creating a monopolistic product? We do so by defining the key parameters to track that helps us move our organizational efforts towards the objective as follows:
Here, you can observe how each of the key result examples helps your team reach the desired OKR goal-setting defined.
By the end of your OKR writing exercise, you should not feel that:
Writing Key Results using best practices is critical to ensure your OKRs are executed and realigned towards the right direction desired. At Superbeings, we enable accountability, collaboration alignment that helps you view a holistic picture of how your key results are shaping.
Thus, writing an apt Key Result to your objective involves:
At Superbeings, we help you include the above aspects into your OKR writing exercise to ease your OKR writing and tracking activities. Let us sharpen our understanding of writing Key Results by rewriting less effective Key Results as an example.
Let’s do the rewriting exercise to hone your skills for writing Key Results for any OKR goal-setting example defined. We will take the previously rewritten objective.
Scale website traffic to 1 Million unique visitors by Q1 2022
Here, the rewritten Key Results example has well-defined targets, has time limits, and is more specifically aligned to the objective.
*Read this article for (add article title for key result topic)*
When you’re finalizing your objectives and key results for your OKR exercise, use the below checklist to go through once to see if what you’ve written is the best you could do:
We have covered the ‘why’ and ‘how’ in this OKR guide of our OKR implementation exercise. Let’s close it by educating ourselves about ‘what’ your execution team should be doing to achieve the OKR goals defined.
We all have been there - loaded with to-do lists that simply seem never-ending. As a business, you don’t want to get stuck in your bubble and become like the hamster in the wheel - always working hard, running, but not going anywhere. With Objectives and Key Results, your employees will finally be able to prioritize and complete their tasks.
Projects and Key Results could get confusing - but the distinction is very clear. Key Results are the measured outcomes you must complete while Projects are the ‘tasks’ you need to do to make that progress and reach the measured outcomes.
“Success is not checking a box. Success is having an impact. If you complete all tasks and nothing ever gets better, that’s not success.”
Christina Wodtke, author of Radical Focus
Projects are simply the main headers to the subsequent bunch of small to-do lists that you always meant to narrow down. Post writing down your Projects is when you finally get to work in checking your task list, measuring the impact of your work with key results while looking up to see if you’re closer to the objective.
When you’re executing a plan of action, it’s important to have a flexible mindset because plans always change due to various uncertainties.
"Give up the thought that you have control. You don't. The best you can do is adapt, anticipate, be flexible, sense the environment and respond."
Frances Arnold, Nobel Laureate
It’s important to understand that the action plan and tasks you have defined under your Projects are mere hypotheses. You need to optimize your tasks as per the situation you are in while keeping in mind it takes you closer to the main objective you’re supposed to chase.
You also need to ensure your project is not too vague or broad. All your Projects need to tie up to a specific Key Result and not have any random or independent existence of their own.
Let’s take the previous Key Results examples and write Projects for the first three:
Increase market share of Product A towards monopoly in City B
Once you are done writing measurable goals, Superbeings helps you jot down the actual tasks to be done to ensure your organization is able to drive performance towards them. Here’s how to define Projects under an OKR:
Hence, writing an apt Project under OKRs would involve:
Using Superbeings, you can easily track your Projects and assign them to the relevant employee for execution. This ensures your OKR ambitions are not just on paper, but actionable with accountability assigned. Let us understand designing better Projects by rewriting less effective ones as an example.
Let’s do the rewriting exercise and jot down OKR Projects for the Key Results examples we rewrote before for the OKR goal-setting example.
Scale website traffic to 1 M unique visitors by Q1 2022
Here, the rewritten Projects ensure the tasks help us achieve the Key Results and are linked to them. Here’s the complete OKR of the example:
*add superbeings image*
Use the below 5 questions before you start working on your Projects. When you pass the questions, your next step is to break the Projects down further into your daily to-do lists!
While OKR software is great for automating and tracking your OKR exercise, at Superbeings, we understand it might be too soon for you to adopt one, especially if you’re still learning about OKRs. Hence, we have created a FREE Google Sheet Template added to this OKR Guide for you that you can use to write OKRs for your organization.
When you’re ready, consider the following points while choosing the right OKR software to scale your OKR exercise for your organization:
Our OKR tool at Superbeings tick marks each item on the above checklist and enables a successful OKR implementation for you. Contact us at email@example.com for a Demo!