Most Frequently Asked Questions
Before introducing OKRs, it is very important to set the context. OKRs require sponsorship and CEOs are the best sponsors of OKRs.
A powerful message by the sponsor helps anchor the organization around: Why OKRs, and why now?
OKRs requires leadership to adorn a coach-led exploratory style of leadership to support teams, rather than a directive one. With OKRs, leadership styles move from telling + directing to exploratory + participative. This is where you shift gears from ‘hand-me-down’ to ‘connect and align.’
Having alignment not just within teams, but within the entire organization, is guided by the leadership. They should also guide teams on crafting and aligning OKRs, communicate OKR Progress and celebrate early wins on all company levels. Get all the best practices for leadership effectiveness in our eBook.
For more information on how to get the most out of OKRs as a leader by building accountability and ownership amongst teams, read this quick Christmassy blog: From Managers to Coaches.
Be it in the office or when working remotely, teams and workers tend to work in silos. They may communicate with their own team members, but not so much with other teams. OKRs are silo-buster and foster collaboration through bi-directional alignment.
Here are a few ways to make your teams more collaborative:
OKRs are not a new concept as Management by Objectives already exist. It is a new version that suits the agile and rapidly changing business environment. OKRs are all about good execution.
A few minutes is all you need to understand the fundamentals of OKRs (a step-by-step guide to starting with OKRs from our OKR Expert). However, nothing beats the in-depth learning that we offer in our OKR Certification Program. In fact, if you complete this short course, you’re qualified to be the Internal OKR Champion of your business!
During the OKR onboarding process, we help your organization or team members learn about OKRs in a systematic way.
Learn more about how we make sure everyone is on the same page and knows how to use OKRs in the organization here.
OKRs require all hands on deck. Teams need to be enthused around practicing OKRs. Before introducing OKRs, setting the context is important.
A compelling message that is precise and consistent must be shared with the company by the Sponsor of the organization.
Once OKRs are crafted and aligned, leadership must get into the trenches with the teams and support them should any KRs be at risk.
Early wins, if celebrated , also enthuse teams to embrace a culture of OKRs.
If you want to help your teams become more enthusiastic and involved, here’s a quick read that will illuminate the path for you.
If you’re thinking about rolling out OKRs for your entire organization, then yes, all members in the organization will benefit from knowing how OKRs work. The same goes for teams and team members. However, this is done in a slow and systematic way, rather than having one giant meeting and jumping into OKRs.
The OKR framework will first be introduced with pilot teams or squads, once the company leadership has sponsored the roll-out process. After learning what works for your organization through the pilot teams, OKRs will be introduced to other members of the organization.
Regular check-in meetings will ensure that everyone is on the same page and everyone is involved in the OKR creation process of their level.
Thinking of rolling out OKRs? This guide to getting started with Pilot Teams sheds some light on a systematic approach to introducing OKRs to your organization.
If you’re looking for OKR certification, check this out.
OKRs are set at multiple levels of the company. For each level/group, it is recommended that you use the 3x5 rule for setting OKRs.
This means no more than three Objectives per quarter and no more than 5 Key Results per Objective.
This applies to organization-level OKRs and team OKRs both, to ensure that your team or organization is able to prioritize and focus their energy on achieving the most important results.
Not sure if you’re choosing the right Key Results? This blog will get you started.
In our experience, OKRs should not be linked to compensation as this can threaten the transparency and stretching functionality of the framework.
Performance management and OKRs are parallels that never meet. OKRs definitely work alongside performance management, but ideally they should not be linked together.
However, some companies are known to use the bright side of OKRs to manage compensation. While we do not recommend this approach, you might consider learning how they do this.
Our quick read illustrates how some high-growth companies are using OKRs to manage their way through compensation increases in their own ways.
Company-wide OKRs are usually written by the top leadership, CEOs and the CXOs. They are based on the company’s core values and mission. Further on, Department OKRs are crafted by the Department heads along with their next level leadership teams.
Team OKRs should be written using the inputs of the entire team or multiple teams that have to work together. This ensures ownership, accountability, transparency and bi-directional alignment.
Sometimes, when multiple teams come together to work towards a common outcome, they form what are known as squads/pods to huddle together and align their tasks to the OKRs. Once the outcome is achieved, they move on to the next squads/pods.
For example: Launching a product in a new market may need Marketing, Product & Tech, Sales & HR to come together to plan everything they need to do to get together and launch the product within the set time.
Not all OKRs within the organization will align to the company-wide OKRs, and that is not a problem, because it allows employees to align their tasks to other outcomes which can help generate business value. It also helps them keep a control on prioritizing the most urgent and important activities without losing sight of the main outcome.
If you’re new to writing OKRs, this guide will help you get started.
Just like creating good habits, understanding the basics of OKRs is easy, but learning how to consistently apply that knowledge is a journey. The entire process of understanding OKRs from basics and crafting them in a manner that helps teams connect to larger outcomes could take anything between 1-3 weeks.
The larger aspect of getting teams accustomed to the language of OKRs and leverage the benefits of the framework can only be attained through regular, non-negotiable weekly/fortnightly check-in meetings. This builds greater cadence, knowledge and overall understanding of how the framework helps in aligning/connecting dots with different business priorities.
It is always recommended that in the early stages of OKR implementation, you work with experienced Coaches or experts. They can help your teams get up to speed quickly, understand the nuances of writing OKRs and progress with it. They also help the organization get adopted to the framework from a cultural standpoint and not just a process perspective.
Fitbots helps you roll-out OKRs in your organization seamlessly and you can rest assured that our experts will systematically onboard your teams into the OKR framework. Getting everyone on the same page is always a breeze with Fitbots integrated platform and coaching!
Getting your team on board with OKRs can be a challenge, but not impossible. If your team is not convinced after learning the benefits of OKRs or hearing the success stories of Google and Intel, here’s a process you can follow:
First, help your direct report leadership team to understand the concept and gain a buy-in from them. This eBook on how OKRs build leadership effectiveness might be a good place to start!
Thereafter, you can go either of these ways -
Usually, the implementation process begins with an OKR Pilot. This is something that allows for experimentation with the process and tailor it to suit each individual company’s culture, size, and business priorities. Check out our eBook on OKR Pilots to learn more about it!
OKRs are for every organisation! All companies, big or small, scaling rapidly or not, have goals to crush.
The critical-thinking framework provided by OKRs is extremely beneficial to crushing goals and executing strategy.
Additionally, having an OKRs software can help visualise those goals by creating metrics that clearly define those goals while also giving you the ability to track them.
Moreover, OKRs help your company build a culture of focus and aligned teamwork. It creates a system where your teams can prioritize outcomes, measure and track progress against goals, and stretch to achieve 10x growth.
Want a taster of our OKR software? Get it here.
OKRs are a great way to help Product and Engineering teams establish a connection between Product roadmaps and business value. In fact, OKRs are the critical missing link for P&E Teams!
Still got some questions on why your team needs OKRS? Check out this eye-opening ebook on OKRS for Product and Engineering Teams.
It’s definitely not spreadsheets! Here’s a detailed explanation of why spreadsheets are a no-go when it comes to tracking your OKRs.
The best way to go about it is by setting up a regular (weekly or fortnightly) cadence for your team to have Check-in meetings to review progress, celebrate successes, and learn from failures and constructive feedback.
Your team can always benefit from an OKR tracking tool. Our platform helps you view your OKR progress at a glance and also comes with many useful features to streamline your OKR execution. Check it out here.
An OKR Team Champion is a member of the OKR Team who runs weekly Check-ins on OKR progress, updates the Team OKRs and escalates any blockers or constraints in achieving them. Someone who takes initiative, is skilled at open communication, and prompt at reaching out to team members is well-suited to the role of an OKR Team Champion.
A champion should be someone who is not necessarily a lead or a manager, instead a team member who can communicate positively, collaborate well & bring together different teams which work on common OKRs.
When using the Fitbots Software, the Champions have maximum access in the team. They can edit OKRs, add OKRs, link OKRs to Corporate/Bi directional teams, and can also invite/add/remove team members. Are you set on running an OKR Pilot for your business - and we completely support that decision!
Perhaps your leadership teams still believe in the old cascading method of functioning, but that’s a thing of the past! Having your leadership on-board is vital to successful OKR Implementation. After all, the Company OKRs stem from the Company Mission, Vision, and strategic choices.
So why are business leaders across the globe gravitating towards OKRs? They realized that leadership styles are moving from telling + directing to exploratory + participative. This is where you shift gears from ‘hand-me-down’ to ‘connect and align.’
OKRs turn leaders into better coaches. Coaching is a potent mix of rapport, active listening,
empathy, probing for clarity and helping teams to commit to action by asking powerful questions.
Moreover, OKRs build leadership effectiveness by empowering businesses with critical thinking. If your leadership still needs to be convinced about why OKRs are the framework to establish, this eBook might be a good starting point.
Writing OKRs is a process that takes some practice. One must always keep in mind that OKRs work within a frame of time, like a business quarter.
First, one must understand the level of OKRs - whether they are company-wide, team-only, or individual OKRs. It is highly recommended that teams get together to write their OKRs with everyone’s input!
1. Start with the Outcome you want to achieve - make sure it’s not too easy, but also not unrealistic. The best tone for setting Outcomes is aspirational. Try to stick to three Outcomes.
2. Identify the Key Results for your Outcomes - The goal here is to measure only what matters. Pick the right metrics that will reflect the progress gained and lost with respect to your Outcome. Key Results should always be transparent and quantitative. Try to have a maximum of 5 KRs per Outcome.
3. Note the Tasks that you need to achieve your OKRs.
If you’re still not sure about how good OKRs are written, check out our in-depth guide on crafting OKRs or try using some of our free OKR Templates.
Of course, you always have the option to write great OKRs using the Fitbots OKR Assistant. Have a look at this short read that tells you all about the how!
OKRs represent the journey towards sales targets and outcomes while demonstrating the progress. OKRs are not sales targets, but a sales target can be an Objective.
Here’s a representative example of the same:
Objective: Launch new channel partnership in Asia program in order drive revenues
KR 1: Increase partner enrollments from 0 to 50
KR 2: Drive partner referrals from 0 to 500
KR 3: Increase partner revenues from 0 to USD 1M
In short, OKRs focus not only on the final sales target, it constitutes a select few measurable lead indicators to validate the strategic execution.
For more examples, please check our Templates
Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are a framework that helps companies define and achieve their best possible outcomes as teams and as an organization. It establishes the “objectives” along with the measurable “key results” that facilitate the achievement of every objective.
Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a performance measurement framework that evaluates the success of an individual or a particular program.
KPIs focus mostly on the lag indicators. OKR is a strategic framework.
OKRs has a larger vision of what the organization wants to achieve, whereas KPIs always aim to measure a certain metric.
Examples of OKR and KPI:
Objective: Increase market share
Key Result #1: Increase sales by 20%
Key Result #2: Acquire 100 new customers
KPI: Average Response Time, average recruitment time, sales revenue
Please find the detailed answer here
Or, if you’re looking for OKR certification, check this out.
If you want to accelerate growth with OKRs, try our OKRs software.
OKRs are a strategy execution framework based on critical thinking, streamlining teams to business objectives, and being thoughtful about how metrics and work is measured.
OKRs are made up of three separate but interrelated fundamentals;
O - Objectives: What do we need to achieve and why do we need to achieve it?
Tasks and Initiatives: What do we need to do to get there?
KR - Key Results: How do we measure success?
OKRs work with a simple philosophy - let’s shift the focus from me to we. It ensures employees work together to focus their effort on what is most important, in order to make measurable contributions that will drive the company forward.
This framework was developed by Intel’s Andy Grove and publicized by John Doerr in his book “Measure What Matters.” Organizations like Google are known for their functioning on OKR systems to supercharge growth and drive change and innovation. More than 80% of Silicon Valley startups have adopted OKRs and experienced a meteoric rise in their growth - so yes, this method really works!
Check out our awesome collection of Ebooks on OKRs
Even small startups with just three members adopt OKRs. However, when choosing an OKR tool, it is recommended that you are an organization of at least 10-15 members strong with at least 2 distinct functions e.g. Sales & Marketing, Engineering.
Teams tend to adopt OKRs tools better when they are 25 or more wherein process adherence is a strong need!
Although “Tasks” are not a part of the OKR abbreviation, they are equally important. Tasks are your to-do list as activities needed to achieve your Objectives. They should not be mistaken for Os and KRs, and they should especially not be mistaken for business-as-usual activities. Only activities that help you progress towards your Objectives count as OKR tasks!
There’s a number of things to look out for when it comes to OKR meetings. Keep in mind that these meetings are not a task-performance-evaluation tool - the goal is to review progress, make tweaks in the strategy if needed, and inspire teams to keep up the good work!
In short - NOW!
OKRs are a strategy execution framework that has gained popularity globally - we hear success stories everywhere, so get into it now! The best time to introduce OKRs is when your company has a clear mission, your sponsor and business leaders are 100% on board, and the organization is ready to take the key steps to integrating OKRs into its business cycle. If your team is new to OKRs, getting an OKR coach is a huge added bonus!
So how do we start, you ask? Take off with an OKR pilot and get scaling! Our ebook on How To Run an OKR Pilot has all the basics covered.
OKRs, when executed correctly, can really improve your business performance. If you’re not seeing the results as promised, you might be making one or more of the following mistakes:
Want to learn more about OKR Execution? Check out our free ebook How to Avoid Execution Traps in 5 Easy Steps here. Or learn from the expert as KC, Senior Customer Engineer at Google, shares his experience with OKRs here.
To get the best out of OKRs, one needs to understand what this system really is. OKRs are not a performance evaluation tool, nor are they a task list to fill and forget. Rather, OKRs are a framework to align the goals of different teams and departments and measure the growth of the company as a whole, and how each employee contributes towards achieving the larger mission. They improve overall business performance by setting a rhythm for review, feedback and conversations. The best part is the flexibility of OKRs - they are never set in stone, and they can and should be revised for changing business climates.
Still curious? Get a more in-depth look at OKR mistakes here.
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The best way to sustain OKRs is to introduce a set of OKR rituals. There are five important rituals to ensure that teams don't fall into the set-and-forget trap.
1. Weekly check-in meetings
2. Leadership check-in meetings
3. Mid-Quarter Review on OKRs
4. Friday Wins
5. Retro and Reboot scheduled 2 weeks before the beginning of the next quarter
In our experience, OKRs should not be linked to compensation. Here’s why.