Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) communicate goals across organizations. OKRs help individuals and teams to align with shared business objectives, identify their priorities, and achieve tangible results.

Alignment and transparency are essential to the success of your product marketing strategy. This allows everyone to move in the same direction and to achieve business success and performance impact.

An organization prefers to have a smaller number of shared goals over a shorter time frame. This could be for a monthly, quarterly, or annual period. This allows for a clear focus on the essential things and ensures priority at all levels.

OKRs set on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis are much easier to evaluate, which makes it simpler for employees to perform to their optimum potential.

The OKR framework fosters a culture in which everyone contributes to achieving the company's goals and takes measures to improve results.

In this article, I’ll address key topics, including:

Before diving into the benefits of OKRs, let’s get the basic idea of what an OKR is, why transparency matters, and why should you incorporate this practice into your business.

What are Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)?

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are a framework for goal-setting that allows organizations to define their goals and track progress. This framework was created to enable organizations to set far-reaching goals in days rather than months.

OKRs were founded in the 1970s. The concept was founded by Andy Grove but popularized by John Doerr, one of the earliest investors in Google, and quickly became a key focus at the company. Before long, companies such as LinkedIn, Uber, Twitter, Airbnb, Dropbox, and Spotify followed their lead.

John Doerr's OKRs method is to establish an objective: "What I want,” and the key results: "How it's going to be done." OKR implementation is embraced by tech companies and can help businesses keep track in an ever-changing, fast-paced industry while encouraging innovation.

They should be measurable, flexible, and transparent, are usually established by leaders, and aren’t tied to performance reviews or compensation. Rather, OKRs are used to help businesses set ambitious goals and then work towards achieving them over a quarter.

What is OKRs transparency, and does it matter?

OKRs transparency is pivotal in the corporate world because it allows employees to see inside the organization and establish its short and long-term goals.

Staff and team leaders need to be privy to important information to successfully align goals. This’ll support group OKRs and solidify the prioritization within a team.

Transparency is essential for those occupying leadership roles. For example, executives, department heads, and team leaders. However, there are some cases when transparency is not enough, and awareness is what you need to work towards.

Why should you incorporate OKRs software to track goals?

There are several reasons why you may decide to incorporate OKRs software to track goals at your company:

  1. You already know the key results that you want to track.
  2. You want to increase employee engagement.
  3. You want employees to get the best feedback.

At times, it's not clear if you're ready to invest in flexible employee performance management software. A complete performance solution can sometimes seem overwhelming, especially for startups. This could be the best way to grow your business sustainably.

It may seem prohibitive to invest immediately in a software platform, but you need to consider both the benefits it can bring to your company in the short and long term.

Yes, there’ll be startup costs shortly after your business opens, but this cost can save you money on lost productivity and human error. You can also save a great amount of time, which can be a much more valuable resource than you may think.

Additionally, your software can help you track your progress towards your goals rather than collecting information for performance reviews. You don't require to rely so much on human resources. This is another reason why software is often the best option.

OKR software is highly recommended in most industries and situations. You can get valuable insights and higher-level feedback from OKR software than you might be able to on your own. It allows human resources departments to concentrate on expanding and hiring. This makes it easy to set goals.

Benefits of OKRs transparency

When you’re starting in the business world you may ask yourself: Why are OKRs and metrics so essential in setting and achieving the most ambitious goals for individuals and teams? And why should you use OKRs?

Given the success of OKR goal-setting, it’s evident why Adobe, Google, and Netflix all use it. The OKRs model is a great way to measure the goals of any organization.

In an interview with Harvard Business Review, John Doerr says there are five key OKR benefits. These five benefits are what we call the F.A.C.T.S. acronym.

  1. Focus
  2. Alignment
  3. Commitment
  4. Tracking
  5. Stretching

1) Focus

Focus is the first and essential benefit of OKRs. When OKRs have been set, it makes you specify the number of focuses. Having more than one objective is quite possible, but it has to be less than seven. It’s better to have fewer objectives than you think.

Each objective should be on one line. You should not have more than five key results per objective - OKRs force you to make a choice. The OKR cycle should begin with the question: What is the most important thing for the next three, six, or twelve months?

OKRs are different from other goal-setting systems in that they focus on the few initiatives that’ll make a difference immediately and defer to less important ones.

2) Alignment

The real work starts once the top-line goals have been established. Managers and contributors shift from planning OKRs to execution. This linkage is called alignment, and it's invaluable.

As per Harvard Business Review, organizations with highly-aligned employees are more likely to be the top performers.

3) Commitment

Once you have achieved focus and alignment, the commitments are introduced. Commitments are OKRs all parties have agreed to be met, and schedules and resources will adjust to ensure they are.

Transparency is key to tracking these commitments, and every member of the team must communicate to everyone that they’re working towards their OKRs.

4) Tracking

Management by objectives, which tracks OKRs from the output through outcome, is a popular strategy for top-tier organizations.

Each OKR should be trackable using the metrics that were established at their creation. Though OKRs don't need daily tracking, regular check-ups-mostly weekly-are vital to prevent diminution.

These reference points will help you grade your OKRs on an individual basis. Is it possible to achieve this goal? Why or why not?

5) Stretching

"Stretching is last, but not least”. As an organization, you aim for bigger goals, and even if you don't reach the goals that you have set, you might end up achieving close to them. OKRs inherently push organizations to strive further, to squeeze out a bit more than what seems possible.

F.A.C.T.S is the reason why many companies use the OKR method. Many have found the benefits of focus, alignment commitment, tracking, stretching to be invaluable.

The role of PMMs in the OKRs process

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Want to learn more?

Needing to measure your product marketing success is a huge part of the role. After all, how are you going to identify what works and what doesn’t without metrics and data to back it up?

Our Metrics Certified: Masters course will give you the knowledge and confidence you need to measure the impact of your work and continue driving, not just your product and department, but the entire company towards success.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

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💪 Identify which metrics you should track for each deliverable.

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