OKRs (Objectives, Key Results)

Updated 14-Sep-2023


OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results. Those two terms show a fundamental relationship (goals are vague and need to be instantiated through measurable key results). However the complete picture of this goal-setting and goal-tracking method is more complex and much more rewarding.

Eating the Frog

Small organizations focused on growth and improvement can make progress based on very simple goals and methods. One of our favorite is Eat the frog. This method is an antidote to procrastination. The simple directive is to take the most valuable (but distasteful) task, and get it done as early as possible. Hence, eat the frog.

How to Eat Fried Worms

The name of this method doesn't really translate into other cultures, particularly those with frog-eating habits, such as France, and Thailand. A popular book I recall from a childhood spent at the library, the 1973 How to eat fried worms is another visceral approach. Again, unfortunately, there are many cultures where fried worms are a delicacy (including Thailand, and I've tried those worms, but they are a bit too crispy and chewy at the same time).

OKRs (neither frog nor worm)

For those who grow beyond eating the frog either simply in the which frog to eat category, or the how do we all eat the right frogs organizational approach to goal-setting, there are OKRs. OKRs are Objectives and Key Results. We place this in the organization category instead of workflow since it is constitutive of organization rather than a mode of work.

OKR Planning

OKR Cascading

OKR vs. KPI (project vs. process)

If there is a change in KPIs then that could be in an OKR, but otherwise the KPI.