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Creating Effective Key Results For Your OKRs: The Ultimate Guide in 2024

How to create effective key results?

What is the definition of Key Results in OKR Framework? 

The term OKR comes from “Objectives and Key Results” and it is one of the most popular frameworks for goal tracking, and it is used by organizations of all sizes.

The OKR definition has been explained by every website under the sun, so let us take a deeper dive into it!

The definition of OKRs has two main components: objectives and key results. Objectives have to be short and well-defined, they are the points that the businesses would like to achieve.

Meanwhile, key results may be more than one per objective and they are advised to be around 2 and 5 per objective.

Key results are the milestones that indicates the required points to achieve your objective. Without key results, it would be difficult to follow a plan or a scheme to reach your objective.

To acknowledge if your key results are the right ones to set for your objective, you can see if you may reach your objective without these key results or not. If you can’t, they are the correct key results to set, however, if you can, they are the wrong ones.

For more information about objectives and key results and how to implement OKRs, you can have a look at this article – How many OKRs should I set for my team?

Difference Between Objective and Key Result 

As mentioned above, objectives are the main goals that the businesses would like to accomplish. Meanwhile, they are the small and required points or steps to reach for the objective.

We can define the objective’s question as “Where do I want to go?” and the question of key results are “How do I know if I’m getting there?”. As an OKR best practice, key results should always be defined by using numbers.

If it does not have a number, it is not a key result.

Marissa Mayer – Former CEO of Yahoo

Objectives create a high impact on business plans and they are also time-bound, understandable and inspirational. Key results are more ambitious, measurable and specific but they are also time-bound.

OKRs are required in terms of having a strategic alignment as a business, to have a more focused execution strategy and to engage the employees even more with the company and with their job responsibilities.

What are OKRs?

What are the different types of key results? 

There are two different types of key results:

  • Activity-based: Activity based key results measure the completion of tasks with the activities of employees. To give you some examples: launching a product’s beta version, creation of a new training or implementing a new lead generation campaign .This type of key results generally starts with actionable verbs like launching, releasing, creating and developing.
  • Value-based: These key results are measuring the value of delivery from customers or organization. In another saying, they are measured with the successful outcomes. We can define value-based measurements with these kind of examples: improving average weekly visits, increasing open rate, increasing organic traffic to the website or creating an engagement.

Why should your key results be value-based instead of activity-based? 

Your OKRs should be value-based instead of activity-based. We know for a fact that OKRs are the success criteria of companies.

In terms of measuring this success correctly, they have to measure if a team or an employee achieved their tasks and fulfilled the results.

To use the OKRs effectively, they can not be based on activities for the following reasons:

  1. The main purpose is to create a culture which is result-focused, instead of focusing on tasks.
  2. Whether you complete all the tasks, they are not important if they don’t bring any value to the company or to the employee.
  3. Action plans and key results are only the path to follow to achieve your objectives.

Value is much more important than activities. If your activities or actions don’t bring any value, they are not the right actions to follow!

Felipe Castro has a very detailed article about this topic.

How can you measure your Key Results inside Microsoft Teams with Teamflect?  

Teamflect allows you to measure key results in multiple different ways, right inside Microsoft Teams or Outlook..Here are some of the ways through which Teamflect can help you measure goal and OKR progress.

  • Percentage – This is the scenario where the goal or objective is to reach a particular percentage on a metric. For example; increase the website conversion rate to 5%. All the goal owner has to do is update their OKRs in a regular automated check-in and log the percentage data in.
  • Value – If the measure of a key result is to increase and decrease a certain value, Teamflect can also help you track that particular metric with ease as well. For example; increasing Twitter follower count from 4.5K to 8K.
goal section in Teamflect app
  • Currency – Currency is the measuring type if Teamflect measures the key result with a financial value. For example; Increase quarterly revenue to 800K USD in North America and increase the average basket size from 95 USD to 120 USD.
goals page on Teamflect app
  • 0/1 – If the key result can be measured in a binary “Yes” or “No” fashion, Teamflect can help you track it with ease as well. For example: Make Contoso’s app the highest rated application in AppStore, Win XYZ Award.
  • Sub-task progress – Sub-task progress measuring is used when a key result is measured dependent on the completion of certain tasks. These are the situations when there are tasks to be completed in order to achieve the objective.
screenshot of goal progress section of teamflect with related tasks part selected
  • Sub-goal progress – Sub-goal progress can be used when the parent goal progress should be impacted by the progress of the sub-goals. In this scenario the parent goal only progresses according to the completion rates of the sub-goals. The weight of each sub-goal and how they affect the progression of the main objective can also be adjusted.
screenshot of goal progress section of teamflect with subgoals part selected

If you’re up for using Teamflect to set and track OKRs, you can watch our video tutorial on the Goals & OKRs module to get the full picture:

Use the best OKR software for Microsoft Teams!
No sign-up required.
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How many Key Results should there be per objective in OKR framework? 

The amount of key results per objective in OKR framework might change in terms of the frequency of your OKR setting.

If you are setting monthly OKRs for your team members, it is quite normal to have around 1-3 key results per objective. If you are setting quarterly or annual OKRs, sticking to a number between 2-5 is ideal.

All companies and employees are unique and they have different strategies and goals to follow – so there is no one size that fits all.

Therefore, it is important to clearly define your OKR setting strategy.

But no matter what you do, never set more than 5 key results per objective as the more would be hard to follow.

When you assign more than 5 key results to an objective, it will be harder for the owner of the objective to remember all of them which is also crucial.

How many OKRs should I set for my team?

The question of “How many OKRs should we set?” is one of the most important discussions in OKR management. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to that question we do have a general OKR guideline for you to follow that will help you determine the optimal number of OKRs for your team.

Balancing Focus and Flexibility

The primary goal of setting OKRs is to focus on what matters most. Too many OKRs can dilute focus and lead to mediocre execution across the board, while too few might not capture all critical areas of work or may overlook significant opportunities for impact.

Recommended Number of OKRs

In 2024, the consensus among industry leaders and practitioners suggests that each team or individual should manage between 3 to 5 Objectives per OKR cycle, with each Objective having no more than 3 to 5 Key Results. 

This particular range strikes a balance between focus and comprehensiveness, allowing teams to concentrate on their most impactful initiatives without being stretched too thin.

Tailoring to Your Team’s Capacity

While 3 to five seems like a great number, it, the ideal number of OKRs also depends on your team’s size, complexity of projects, as well as operational capacity. 

Larger teams might handle more OKRs than smaller ones, but the principle of maintaining focus still remains the most important aspect of this conversation. 

It’s essential to adjust the number of OKRs based on your team’s unique strengths, competencies, and past experiences with goal setting.

Encouraging Autonomy and Alignment

Setting the right number of OKRs can be the difference maker between autonomy and over-management.

Not being drowned in too many objectives to strive for and key results to achieve empowers team members to make strategic decisions about their work, aligning their daily activities with broader organizational goals without being burnt out by stress.

One Step At A Time

Adopting an iterative approach to setting OKRs can be highly beneficial. Start  with a manageable, small number of OKRs and adjust based on your team’s experience and feedback in subsequent cycles.

 

Key result examples for OKRs

The examples might differ within sectors. Setting OKRs for startups and established firms are completely different concepts. To give you some broad examples here are some OKR examples for growth:

Key result examples for sales departments:

  • Increasing the number of monthly subscriptions to 500
  • Increasing the retention rate by 5%
  • Using upsells to increase the company’s average deal size to 5K USD
  • Expanding and making sales in 2 new locations
  • Creating 5 new referral templates

Key result examples for marketing departments:

  • Increasing the ratio of of positive/negative comments to 70%
  • Creating 3 blog posts per week
  • Generating 1500 new leads this month
  • Increasing the average like count to 50 on Instagram
  • Increasing followers on social media

Key result examples for HR departments:

  • Collaborating with 5 new recruitment agencies in Q1
  • Increasing the average traffic of our job listings to 500
  • Signing up to 2 new recruitment channels
  • Hiring 5 people this month
  • Reducing employee turnover rate by 5% in FY22

Key result examples for SEO professionals:

  • Increasing our average Google ranking by 10%
  • Increasing the load speed of our landing page by 25%
  • Creating 10 new inbound links
  • Increasing the organic and social traffic to 5K/month
  • Gaining 10 new do-follow backlinks every month

Key result examples for software developers:

  • Reduce the average number of reported bugs to 3 after every release
  • Reduce the average time spent on each feature by 10%
  • Create 10 new test scenarios to reduce the average number of bugs

How to track key Result progress in OKR framework? 

You can track the progress of key results within OKR framework in both manual and digital ways.

If you want to follow the progress manually; you can use PDFs, Excel or Word OKR framework templates but keep in mind that tracking them manually may bring some complexities and difficulties both for managers and employees.

The difficulties you may face when you track your key results manually:

  • The Word or Excel OKR template that you use may have different versions from time to time, so people can feel confused while matching and following them.
  • People always give their feedback/comments about the OKRs via e-mail or face-to-face. When there is no single place to find these comments, it can be very hard to follow for end-users.
  • Managers can have issues when they want to see the overall OKR progress of their team members as they may need to consolidate different OKR tracking Excel/Word templates.
  • OKRs may not always be up-to-date as Excel/Word OKR templates can’t send automated reminders
ways to track objectives and key results

To solve these kind of issues, and to make the process more effective, you would definitely need to use a software. Companies that are adopting the OKR framework should aim to excel at it in order to have the maximum return of investment.

There are many OKR tools in the market to choose from and Teamflect is one of them. As Teamflect, we provide a robust and an integrated OKR solution for companies that are using Microsoft Teams.

If you are using Microsoft Teams, you can learn more about our solution with seamless Microsoft Teams integration

You can also read our article on 10 best OKR software to choose the best one for your organization!

Frequently Asked OKR Questions

What are OKRs examples?

Objectives and key results examples can vary between different fields.

Some OKR examples are as follows:

Key result examples for sales departments:
Increasing the number of monthly subscriptions to 500
Increasing the retention rate by 5%
Using upsells to increase the company’s average deal size to 5K USD
Expanding and making sales in 2 new locations
Creating 5 new referral templates

What is an OKR strategy?

The OKR methodology includes the following aspects: Using OKRs as a shared goals system and clarifying your organization’s goals, aligning them, boosting productivity, and shaping company performance.

Why are OKRs so popular at the moment?

There are many reasons for the popularity of OKRs. Their result-oriented nature can be one of those reasons. But the most important reason for their rise to popularity is Google, releasing the OKR Handbook.

Written by Emily Helen Arnold

Emily Helen Arnold is a content writer at Teamflect. She is obsessed with organizational behavior studies and loves writing/thinking about how a carefully designed people strategy can transform a company.

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