Writing Bad Key Results: Tips and Best Practices for Effective Objective and Key Results (OKR framework)
Objective and Key Results (OKRs): Mastering Key Results
OKRs (Objective and Key Results) are a popular goal setting framework used by many organizations to align their teams and drive performance to achieve business goals. While objectives are the desired outcomes or smart goals, key results are the specific, measurable metrics used to track progress towards those smart objectives. Writing good key results is essential for the success of the OKR framework. In this article, we’ll discuss the characteristics of effective key results, provide tips for writing good key results, and share best practices for implementing and managing them.
How to write OKRs: What Makes a Good Key Result in the OKR framework?
Good key results in objective and key results framework share several characteristics that make them effective in driving progress towards smart objectives. The following are some of the key characteristics of effective key results:
- Measurable and Specific: Key results should be measurable and specific, so progress towards the objective can be tracked objectively. They should be quantifiable, so progress can be easily monitored and communicated.
- Relevant to the Objective: Key results should be relevant to the objective they are tracking progress towards. They should help answer the question, “What does success look like?” for the objective.
- Challenging but Attainable: Key results should be challenging enough to motivate teams and drive progress, but not so challenging that they are demotivating or unattainable.
- Time-bound and Realistic: Key results should be time-bound and realistic. They should have a clear deadline and be achievable within the given timeframe.
- Aligned with Business Goals: Key results should be aligned with the organization’s overall business goals. They should support the mission and vision of the organization and contribute to its long-term success.
How to write OKRs: Analyzing Verbs in Key Results (Task-Oriented vs Outcome-Driven)
When creating key results, it’s important to make sure they focus on the outcome rather than just completing a task. To check if a key result is outcome-driven, we can look at the first word of the sentence, such as “ship,” “establish,” or “deliver.” If these words simply indicate whether the task is done or not, then the key result may be too task-oriented. To create effective key results, we need to ask questions like: What is the ultimate accomplishment we’re trying to achieve? How do we measure success? By considering these factors, we can ensure that our key results are impactful, measure what matters, and focus on achieving our business goals.
How to write OKRs: Tips for Writing Good Key Results
Writing good key results is a crucial part of effective OKR methodology implementation.
Here are some tips for writing good key results:
- Break Down Smart Objectives into Manageable Key Results: Breaking down objectives into smaller, more manageable key results can make progress towards those smart objectives more tangible and help teams stay motivated. Remember, each smart objective is recommended to have between 4 and 6 key results to measure what matters only.
- Balance different types of measurements: Key results should include a mix of measures, such as customer satisfaction, employee engagement, and revenue growth, but also leading indicators that focus on the capabilities of a team such as throughput, quality, or cycle times.
How to write OKRs: Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Key Results
When writing key results, it’s essential to avoid common mistakes that can hinder progress towards objectives. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:
- Focusing on Activities Rather than Outcomes: Key results should focus on the desired outcomes or results, not the activities or tasks required to achieve them.
- Using Vague or Ambiguous Language: Key results should be clear, specific, and measurable. Using vague or ambiguous language can make it difficult to track progress effectively.
- Relying Solely on Past Performance Metrics: While past performance metrics can provide useful insights, they should not be the sole basis for key results. The focus should be on future outcomes and progress towards objectives.
- Setting Too Many Key Results: Setting too many key results can be overwhelming for teams and make it challenging to prioritize and focus on the most critical areas. It’s essential to strike a balance between having enough key results to track progress and not having too many that it becomes unmanageable.
How to write OKRs: Best Practices for Implementing and Managing Key Results
Implementing and managing key results effectively is crucial for the success of an OKR framework. Here are some best practices for implementing and managing key results:
- Communicate Clearly and Consistently: Clear and consistent communication is essential for the successful implementation and management of key results. It’s essential to communicate the objective and key results clearly to all stakeholders, including team members and leaders.
- Engage and Empower Teams: Engaging and empowering teams is essential for the success of an OKR methodology. Teams should be involved in the process of setting and managing key results to ensure they have ownership and buy-in.
- Monitor Progress and Provide Regular Feedback: Monitoring progress towards key results regularly and providing feedback to teams is essential for driving progress and keeping teams motivated. Regular check-ins and updates can help teams stay on track and adjust course if necessary.
- Celebrate Achievements: Celebrating achievements and learning from failures is essential for the ongoing success of an OKR methodology. Celebrating successes can motivate teams and reinforce the importance of the OKR methodology, while learning from failures can help teams improve and make progress towards objectives.