The process of goal-setting with OKRs is flexible and adjustable along the way. However, a few best practices go a long way in ensuring that teams have a set of unambiguous and focused set of goals to work towards.
- Start by defining Objectives at the organization level. These are the top strategic goals that require collaboration and link various departments and teams within the organization.
- Stick to three to five Objectives at every level. Too many Objectives distract us from attaining the ones that matter.
- Objectives must be actionable, yet aspirational. They are stretch goals that should make you feel slightly uncomfortable.
- Every Objective should have three to five Key Results. Together, the Key Results must help realize the Objective.
- Every Key Result should be measurable.
- Alignment is a key aspect of the OKR process. This means Key Results of a team’s Objectives may become Objectives of some of the team members. Similarly, Key Results of the CEO may become Objectives of the VPs of various teams.
- Allow teams and individuals to create about 40% of their OKRs. A healthy mix of top-down and bottom-up OKRs at ever level improves employee engagement and encourages innovation.
Remember OKRs are not a catch-all list at the top levels - they are not simply an amalgamation of OKRs of the members. Each Objective must be deliberated on before making it to the list.
Read John Doerr's example of a good set of OKRs.