OKR Definition (What are OKRs, exactly?)

OKRs stands for "Objectives and Key Results." But what does that really mean?

The Meetingnotes Team
Last update:
December 6, 2023

In this article:

  1. OKRs Definition
  2. Origin of OKRs
  3. Basic Explanation of OKRs
  4. What is the objective?
  5. What is the key result?
  6. How do you measure an OKR?

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OKRs Definition

OKRs are a goal-setting philosophy that helps teams set and track goals in a way that aligns with the business’s strategy.

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Origin of Objectives and Key Results

The OKR system was originally created by Google, but has gone on to become a common practice in many different industries and companies.

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Basic Explanation of OKRs

OKRs are a way to set, measure, and share goals. They are most commonly used in the context of a hierarchy or a team, and are often used to align teams around a single strategy.

The basic premise of OKRs is that good managers should be able to see the big picture of where the business is going and measure specific goals that track how the team is doing in the context of that strategy.

OKRs are both a way to communicate the strategy of the business to the team, and also a way to measure the progress of the team in the execution of that strategy.

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What is the objective?

The objective is the “why” of a goal. It is the big picture goal that the team is working towards. This is the high-level goal in the OKR system but it is often not specific enough without being tied to a key result.

Example objective: Please our customers

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What is the key result?

A key result is the achievement of the objective. It is the “how” of the goal. It is the specific goal that the team is trying to achieve, and it is measurable.

Example key result: Improve average chat support ratings to above 3 stars in 30 days.

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How do you measure an OKR?

OKRs are a measurement framework, so you need to have a specific measurement method in place. There are several different types of measurement that can be used in OKRs, but the most common is to track progress on a “key performance indicator” or KPI.


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