OKRs Explained

Here we introduce OKRs and outline the basics to get you going

Ronan McCabe avatar
Written by Ronan McCabe
Updated over a week ago

The Basics

We use the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) framework within Frankli for all things goal setting. OKRs help your business stay aligned by connecting company, team and personal objectives to measurable results. When it comes to OKRs, two important characteristics exist. Structure and Philosophy.

1. Structure

OKRs are built around two different questions.

Objective: where do I want to go?
Key Results: how will I get there?

Think of an objective as the goal of the company, team or individual and the Key Results are the measurable steps needed to accomplish the objective. This same framework is then repeated from those setting company goals down to the individual, which creates a cascading set of goals that keeps a group of people aligned.


Objectives are always qualitative and aspirational.
They are something that you, your team, or your organisation aim to achieve (and should not contain numbers!)

Key Results are always quantitative.
They will tell you if you have achieved your objective, so they should be clearly measurable to avoid any doubt. 

2. Philosophy

Developed by Andy Grove at Intel and made popular by John Doer, OKRs have a unique belief system around goal setting that distinguishes itself from other goal methodologies.

Example of an OKR:

Objective: Research and improve customer satisfaction

Key Result 01: Exceed Net Promoter Score (NPS) of over 8.0
Key Result 02: Get 1000 survey responses to annual satisfaction survey
Key Result 03: Conduct 50 phone interviews with top customers
Key Result 04: Present an action plan of 10 improvements for next quarter

Who should own OKRs?

OKRs can be owned by an individual or by a team. A business itself should have its own company level OKRs. 

Tip: Depending on the size and maturity of your company you may want to consider assigning OKRs only to teams in your first planning period. This will greatly simplify the process of adopting OKRs, as you won’t need to get every single employee onboard.

How many Objectives?

A person or a team should have up to 3 objectives per planning period (for example, quarter). 

How many Key Results?

While there is no hard rule on how many key results an objective should have, less is more.

It should obviously be more than zero, otherwise we don’t have definition of success. At the same time, we have found in practice that objectives with 5 or more key results are hard to maintain. Typically, well defined OKRs have 3 key results

How long should an OKR last?

We’ve seen some objectives last for years, with the key results adjusting to match the ambition of the team. When you run your OKR cycle on a quarterly cadence, you have an opportunity every 3 months to tweak, improve, or stop pursuing an objective and/or its key results.

In some cases, you will find out very quickly that an objective or key result is wrong and needs to be changed. 

You should only keep an OKR around as long as it makes sense to do so.

What Next?

Check out our playbook on Goal setting using the OKR framework here.
Take the first steps to creating a goal

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