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. For example, Team objectives can be easily aligned to company-level objectives and Key Results of a team’s Objectives may become the Objectives of some of the team members. Similarly, Key Results of the CEO may become Objectives of the VPs of various teams.
Note: Key results of company-level Objectives will cascade down to act as Objectives to the team level only when you've chosen the option Objectives and key results can be used interchangeably in the OKR Model Configuration section in your Admin Dashboard.
Allow teams and individuals to create about 40% of their OKRs. A healthy mix of top-down and bottom-up OKRs at every 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.