February 20, 2023
If you’re just getting started with OKRs, it’s worth your time to do a little homework—creating and managing OKRs can be challenging. Use the below OKR examples for inspiration (customizing the goals and timelines in a way that’s realistic for your organization). Then, keep reading for some insights about how best to track your performance.
One important thing to remember about OKRs is that the key results must be measurable. That doesn’t mean every key result should have a number in it; “measurable” might simply refer to degree of completion. (This concept may sound similar to KPIs, but OKRs are really quite different.)
Following are some objective and key result examples from a sampling of industries:
Objective: Make it easier for residents to walk and bike around the city.
Key Result: Improve 35% of damaged sidewalks.
Key Result: Increase percentage of street lights in service to 100%.
Key Result: Add bike lanes to 10% of roads.
Objective: Promote and encourage healthy behaviors in the community.
Key Result: Create a monthly newsletter for residents focused on healthy habits.
Key Result: Achieve 90% of residents receiving annual checkups.
Key Result: Enhance information in flyers given after each appointment.
Objective: Expand sources of revenue.
Key Result: Complete research in three territories to find potential acquisition opportunities.
Key Result: Survey the sales team to learn about products of interest to customers.
Key Result: Upsell 15% of existing customers.
Objective: Increase revenue to meet costs.
Key Result: Apply for 10 federal grants.
Key Result: Increase fundraiser earnings by 15%.
Key Result: Identify three additional streams of revenue to maintain costs.
Once you’ve implemented OKRs, you’ll need to track progress on your Key Result targets. Organizations just getting started with this framework might try it out with an Excel spreadsheet—but if you plan to commit to OKRs, you’ll need a better tool that makes tracking and reporting easier. To come up with the right long-term solution, consider the following:
This is a hierarchical system that cascades down, so OKRs are first set at the organizational level, then the manager level, and then the individual employee level. The objectives and key results themselves should link together and roll down through the organization.
Using local government as an example, the city might set an objective to improve its infrastructure. With that as a guide, the public works department sets a related objective to improve the town’s pavement condition index (PCI) score by five points for the quarter, a goal that will feed into achieving the city’s larger objective. The public works team then identifies four key results—like sealing a percentage of road seams and rehabilitating a certain percentage of asphalt. (You can see the team’s OKR example in the image below.) Completing those four items should improve the PCI score by five points.
In addition to cascading up and down, cross-departmental OKRs link across the organization, enabling departments to better coordinate their activities. So, while public works is improving the pavement, the department of land use might be simultaneously pursuing a goal to outline infrastructure needs in developing areas of town. Creating this type of alignment requires significant dedication and effort, but it will help you get the most out of the framework. The tracking solution you choose should allow you to link OKRs on various levels and across different departments.
Time-bound Progress Measurements
Many OKR systems completely redo their key results each year or sometimes even more frequently, like quarterly. Unlike other strategy management frameworks (like the Balanced Scorecard), the OKR system is focused on what your organization can accomplish in a certain time period (quarterly is the frequency we see most often). Progress is made in increments, with constant review and reset of performance goals. Your tracking tool should allow you to map and assess your objectives and key results within specific time frames, so you can see how your organization is doing right now compared to a month ago, for instance.
You can score OKRs in different ways. For instance, you could use percent complete or a 0-1 scale, with one being 100% complete and zero being not yet started. Having a consistent scoring system allows you to compare key results to one another. (For example, 4.5 out of five equals 0.9%.) Figure out what scoring system works best for you and find a tracking solution that can handle it—and ideally even do it automatically.
This is a sample OKR as it would appear in ClearPoint, which automatically evaluates your performance data against targets and displays a visual assessment using red, yellow, and green indicators.
Aside from your scoring system, you may also have related data you want to track over time. For example, you’ll want to track the total number of joints sealed year over year, even if it’s not always part of an OKR. You’ll need a system that allows you to track that data, link it to your OKRs, and build charts and visualizations to make the tracking process as simple as possible.
ClearPoint can help manage your performance whether you’re using OKRs or any other framework. Our performance management software simplifies OKR tracking and reporting because it allows you to:
…and more! If you’d like to take a tour of our software, we’d love to show you—so reach out!