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Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)

Define goals and make a plan to measure them along the way. Setting OKRs propels your team to achieve more than you ever thought possible while continuously learning.

Pencil icon
Prep Time
10 mins
Stopwatch icon
Run Time
Up to 2 hrs
Connected people icon
People
3-11
People throwing darts

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)

Define goals and make a plan to measure them along the way. Setting OKRs propels your team to achieve more than you ever thought possible while continuously learning.

People throwing darts
Pencil
Prep Time
10 mins
Stopwatch icon
Run Time
Up to 2 hrs
Connected people icon
People
3-11

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)

Define goals and make a plan to measure them along the way. Setting OKRs propels your team to achieve more than you ever thought possible while continuously learning.

Pencil icon
Prep Time
10 mins
Stopwatch icon
Run Time
Up to 2 hrs
Connected people icon
People
3-11
People throwing darts

OKRs in action

This remote team of web developers uses Zoom and Trello to discuss and capture their KR over the quarter.

These dating app marketers use Confluence to track their progress on their OKRs for the quarter.

This HR team creates OKRs in Miro and reviews them after the first month.

What you'll need

Remote

Video conferencing with screen sharing

Digital collaboration tool (see templates)

In-Person

Meeting space

Digital collaboration tool (see templates)

Large screen projector

Timer

Optional templates

Instructions for running this Play

1. Prep 10 MIN

For remote teams, start by creating a collaboration document, like a Trello board or Confluence page. You can use the templates provided, if you’d like, or create your own.

For in-person teams, create a collaboration  that you plan to share on a screen during the session.

As a team, decide what period of time you’re setting OKRs for. If your company runs on quarters, quarterly is a good start.

Share any information that will help inform your OKRs with your team before the meeting. This could include broader company goals, project roadmaps, customer metrics, customer feedback, or previous quarters’ OKRs.

Tip: GUIDED BY THE TOP

Use the organization’s OKRs to inform team OKRs. This ensures they are meaningful and worth your team's investment.

2. Set the stage 5 MIN

Ask the team to remember the following before starting the meeting:

  • It’s important to think of the value we want to achieve for our customers, clients or people we serve.
  • The team should consider how to measure success towards achieving that value.

3. Choose Objectives 30 MIN

Pose the question, "Where can we bring the most value to our customers in the upcoming quarter?"

Have the team brainstorm objectives by adding them to the collaboration document. Group similar objectives together, then summarize your ideas into 1-3 objectives.

TIP: BE SMART

Good objectives are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound
TIP: LESS IS MORE

Choosing no more than three objectives allows the team to focus on progress on the areas of highest customer value.

4. Set Key Results 5 MIN

For each Objective, decide on a few Key Results that, when reached, would confirm you’ve achieved the objective. Ensure the team is choosing metrics that demonstrate the result of the work the team has done.

TIP: RESULTS, NOT TASKS

KRs are a measure of the work, not the work itself.

“Create 5 web pages” is work.

“5% increase in page views” is a key result.

5. Assign owners 5 MIN

Assign each key result (KR) an owner on the team. While the KR belongs to the whole team, the owner is responsible for tracking the team’s progress on it.

TIP: TAKE A BREAK

OKRs require substantial brainpower and time. Take breaks to recharge. Or, hold multiple, smaller sessions instead of a long one.

6. Review 10 MIN

Review your objectives and key results and ask whether they're ambitious enough. Balance setting achievable goals with creating enough of a challenge to keep the team motivated.

Ensure the KRs can be scored periodically on a sliding scale from 0 to 1.

0.3 = We missed the mark

0.7 = We came very close

1 = We knocked it out of the park. Maybe we should set harder objectives moving forward.

TIP: NOT PERFORMANCE

OKRs are not effective if they are tied to individual performance reviews because then teams don’t aim high. Make sure managers agree with this approach before setting OKRs.

TIP: SHARE RESOURCES

Do any of your OKRs overlap with other teams’ goals? Create a shared OKR and pool your resources.


Follow-up

Save them

Save your OKRs in a place where your team and stakeholders can easily find it.

Score them

If your organization is on a quarterly cadence, try reviewing your OKRs once per month. Set a team meeting each month to review your progress. Come up with a score that reflects how you’re tracking towards each objective.

Include the reasoning for that score and how it changed since last month.

Retrospect

End the quarter by giving each KR a final score. Using a Retrospective, reflect on your OKRs and what you can improve when setting them next time.

Current status description
EXAMPLE: MONTHLY SCORING

This team shares their current KR score at the end of the first month.

Variations

Start small

For teams just getting started with OKRs, limit the session to one hour and one objective.

Working groups

If you operate as a working group (a group of individuals accountable for individual work products) instead of a team (a group responsible for a collective work product), the owners of each objective should be held accountable for results, instead of the whole team.

Agile objectives

For teams using agile methodologies, OKRs can be tied into Sprint Goals or Program Increment objectives.


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Still have questions?

Start a conversation with other Atlassian Team Playbook users, get support, or provide feedback.

Still have questions?

Start a conversation with other Atlassian Team Playbook users, get support, or provide feedback.

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