OKR Basics

Resources
This page is an excellent place to start if you are new to Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).
OKR example structure

What is an OKR?

The definition of Objectives and Key Results

OKRs are an effective strategic goal-setting tool to create alignment and engagement around measurable goals.

Objectives are short qualitative descriptions of what you want to achieve. Objectives should be aspirational. They must be able to motivate and challenge the team.

Key results are a set of indicators that measure your progress towards the goal.

How do modern organizations use OKRs?

Companies are shifting from individuals to teams,
from projects to products, and so are goals.

OKR modern hierarchy

The classic approach is to create organizational, departmental, and personal goals. The modern-era progressive companies find that forming longer-lasting cross-functional teams is a recipe for competitive advantage.

 

The history of OKRs

The OKR methodology was born in the 20th century

Many consider Peter Drucker to be the father of management thinking. He set the theoretical foundations of the modern business corporation. In his book "The Practice of Management" from 1954(!), he foresees the emergence of many specialized roles in ever-increasing complex businesses and the danger if those specialists will pursue their achievements rather than the organization's goals.

In response, he proposed a system called management by objective (MBO).

Andy Groove, the CEO of Intel (1987-1998), picked up the MBO and made several modifications: introducing Key Results, shortening the cadence of setting the goals quarterly, and introducing the addition of a bottom-up approach to creating objectives and key results.

John Doerr joins Intel and picks up management lessons by Andy Groove. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of Google, were John's early students, and that is the flow of events that led to the introduction of OKRs into the tech giant as it is today.

OKRs became wildly popular after Google's YouTube video in 2013 on how they run the company with OKR methodology.

And the OKRs are still evolving.

OKR Guide