Startup Library

2. Set objectives and key results

OKRs have many definitions around the web with different specifications of how to build them effectively in order to achieve your goals. We’re using Perdoo’s definitions and descriptions, which our startups have found easy and intuitive:

The acronym OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results, a popular goal management framework that helps companies implement strategy. The benefits of the framework include improved focus, increased transparency, and better alignment. OKR achieves this by organizing employees and the work they do around achieving common objectives. An OKR consists of an Objective, which defines a goal to be achieved, and up to 5 Key Results, which measure progress towards the Objective.

Each OKR can also have Initiatives, which describe the work required to drive progress on the Key Results. The framework includes a number of rules which help employees prioritize, align, focus and measure the outcome of the work they do. OKR helps entire companies communicate company strategy to employees in an actionable, measurable way. It also helps companies to move from an output to an outcome-based approach to work.

What is an Objective?

An Objective is a description of a goal to be achieved in the future. An Objective sets a clear direction and provides motivation. An Objective can be thought of like a destination on a map.

In other words:

“Where do I want to go?” An Objective describes where you want to go and sets a clear direction. Think of it as a point on a map, a destination like New York.

What is a Key Result?

A Key Result is a metric with a starting value and a target value that measures progress towards an Objective. A Key Result is like a signpost with a distance that shows how close you are to your Objective.

In other words:

“How do I know if I’m getting there?” A Key Result shows you how you’re progressing towards your Objective. Think of it as a signpost with a distance marker.

What is an Initiative?

An Initiative is a description of the work you’ll do to influence a Key Result. If an Objective is your destination and a Key Result shows the distance to go, an Initiative describes what you’ll do to get there, (take a car, row a boat, etc.).

In other words:

“What will I do to get there?” An Initiative describes what you’ll do to influence your Key Results. Think of it as the description of what you’ll do to get to your destination.

objectives, key results and initiatives

How often should you set OKRs?