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How Many OKRs Should I Set For My Team And Why: 7 Key Points in 2023

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Now is the best time to learn about “how many OKRs” should you set for your team or employee. The main term stands for “Objectives and Key Results“. It is also essential to set the required amount of OKRs for every goal setting. But how would you know the best amount of OKRs to set?

The OKR methodology is pioneered by John Doerr, they are the key objectives you want to achieve and the results you would like to measure in a timely manner. OKRs are measured and defined, they can be improved from time to time depending on the outputs.

According to a study done by Haufe Talent in 2023, 83% of companies who implement OKRs for their goal-setting purposes would recommend it to others. The most important reasons companies recommend OKRs are higher focus, better degree of prioritization, impact on company culture, and improved transparency according to Mooncamp’s OKR Impact Report.

Reasons for recommending OKRs

This article will lead you through to set proper OKRs and it will guide you on setting the correct amount of OKRs for your team or your business. Let’s start to discuss then, shall we?

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You can learn the art of effective goal-setting and discover the optimal number of OKRs for your team’s peak productivity by reading our article.

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What Happens If I Set Too Many OKRs for My Team or Per Individual?

Setting the right number of OKRs for your team or for any individual is crucial in terms of productivity. Having too many OKRs might decrease productivity and meanwhile, it may lead the employee or the team to burnout.

In case your team or any individual has too many OKRs, it would be hard for you to focus and prioritize your duties altogether.

Setting too many OKRs for a team or for an employee might make them feel frustrated and it might undermine the purpose of your framework.

OKRs are generally written in this formula: Objective at the beginning and 3 to 5 supporting Key Results underneath it. You may also write OKRs as a statement:

I will (Objective) as measured by (Key Results)”.

Meanwhile, if you ask your employees to set their own OKRs, it generally leads to one of two failures:

  1. They may create doable goals that are easy to measure but these goals don’t help determine if they’ve grown or improved in an impactful way.
  2. They may choose targets that they know they can hit, rather than taking risks.

Remember that setting too many OKRs for an employee might cause much more pressure and stress, it may also damage employee engagement and decrease in their performance.

What Happens If I Set Too Few OKRs?

On the other hand, if you ask “How many OKRs should a person have” or “How many OKRs are too less to be set”, there isn’t a specific answer either, this also depends on your business’ dynamic.

If you feel like you’ve set too less OKRs for your team or for an employee, you will obviously see the results. You may work on other OKRs once you see the results and you need some improvements. But it is also important to make sure that it is certain that you set too few OKRs to succeed.

If you set too few OKRs, there is a possibility that these OKRs might not include all their job responsibilities. Another possibility of setting too less OKRs is that these OKRs might be too general. As they would be too general, there might be a chance or a risk that these OKRs might not guide the employee correctly.

How Many OKRs Should I Set for My Team Then?

As long as you meet some required criteria, there is no right nor wrong amount of OKRs to set. But there is an amount recommended by professionals. Professionals recommend setting around 3-5 OKRs per quarter instead of setting too many at once.

Depending on how many OKRs you set, it is crucial that they represent your most urgent priorities and effective tasks that you need to keep up with.

If you set 3 or 4 OKRs, one of them should be about the most important thing that your employee needs to succeed. The manager should consider the single most important objective of their employees.

Following this OKR, there needs to be two supportive OKRs and you may create one OKR about how this employee might support other employees.

There is a target assigning methodology called SMART where you can get inspiration while working on your OKR settings. At Teamflect, there are “individual” and “self-development” goal features where you can set personal development OKRs in addition to these 3-4 OKRs.

Self development goals are the skills that you need to improve such as: working on your presentation skills, business communication, time management, stress management, etc.

screenshot of new goal creation on teamflect app

If you are not using any OKR software, it might be difficult to follow all OKRs you set for each team or employee. There are some OKR softwares that you can get to have a more effective and quick OKR following process. One great example is our tool Teamflect for sure.

Should I Set the Same Number of OKRs for All my Team Members?

OKR methodology is quite effective in terms of team management. If you set the correct OKRs, your team would be much more productive and they may work hard to follow these OKRs and try to achieve them at its best.

But no, you shouldn’t set the same number of OKRs for all your team members. How many OKRs you should set for your employees depends on the achievements you expect from them during the year or quarter.

These numbers might change depending on employee engagement and if your employee is new in job, you need to set easy and achievable OKRs. If you gave a specific task for your employee, it is better to set one or two OKRs for them.

If you, as a manager, like creating tasks and OKRs together, Teamflect allows you to create related tasks for OKRs:

screenshot of goal progress page on teamflect app

How Many OKRs Should I Set Per Quarter, Per Month and Per Year? What Should be the Difference Between the Two?

Just like “how many OKRs” question, there isn’t a specific answer for this question too. This question really depends on your business structure. Some companies or managers are setting OKRs quarterly while some of them are setting OKRs twice a year or yearly.

According to Teamflect’s data, 47% of the managers are setting OKRs quarterly, 32% of them are setting annually, 13% of them are setting monthly and 8% of them are setting bi-annual OKRs. This data of Teamflect has been gathered from looking through 50.000 OKRs in the platform.

It is normal to have different numbers of OKR depending on your OKR setting frequency. If you set monthly OKRs, it is better to keep the number of OKRs fewer to make sure that it is easier to follow. Meanwhile if you set annual OKRs, it is better to keep the number higher, but you must be organized to follow such high numbers of OKRs.

Annual OKRs

Setting OKRs annually is suitable mostly for small organizations with long-term goals about increasing their market share and grow as a company. In large corporations, setting annual OKRs might be a little vague. Also, annual OKRs could include more key points since they encompass a longer period of time.

In annual OKRs, there would be much more time to achieve such targets, so the employees should spend more time achieving them. According to our data as Teamflect, we saw that the number of OKRs are less when they are set monthly while there are more OKRs to follow through when they are set annually.

OKRs set by Teamflect users

Quarterly OKRs

As seen on the graph from our data at Teamflect, most managers set quarterly goals for their teams and organization. That makes sense if you think about it: setting quarterly OKRs gives you enough time to achieve goals without getting complicated. Best way to set quarterly OKRs is all about reviewing your long-term goals and dividing them into smaller parts.

No matter how many OKRs you set for your employee or your team, it is important to discuss the progress of the OKRs with them regularly, especially if you set your OKRs twice a year or annually. It would be more effective even if you set your OKRs quarterly to follow up regularly with your team or employees.

screenshot of goal progress updates part on teamflect

If I Set too Many OKRs for my Employee, What Should I Do?

Don’t worry about that, OKR setting is a practice that you learn by time. If you set too many OKRs for your employee and you see that they are struggling with them already, feel free to set up a meeting with them.

Don’t be afraid to take risks or feedback from your employee. It would be better if you get regular feedback from your employees about their OKRs and progress. These feedback would help you to find the most appropriate amount of OKRs to set.

In OKR framework, it is important to make fine tunings regularly and discontinuing some OKRs are quite important for their effectiveness. These discontinued OKRs are normal and is a usual thing in business settings. But before discontinuing these OKRs, it is important to talk to the employee whom the OKR is assigned for.

How Many Key Results Should There be Per Objective?

The amount of key results doesn’t really matter if you have enough sources to define the objective. But it’s better to keep the amount of key results as few as possible to avoid confusions.

For example, if your objective has 8-9 key results in it, it might be confusing to check if all these key results are referring to the objective or if they can be divided into different objectives. On the other hand, if you have fewer key results, you might need to think through if these few key results are enough to define the objective clearly.

The most appropriate thing to do in here is to make sure to assign enough key results that they can learn by heart or they can count without thinking too much. The key results need to be connected properly in a reasonable way so that the employee can remember them easily.

In A Nutshell…

In this article, we asked the question of “how many OKRs should I set for my employees or my team” and we dig deep through that. To answer this question we shared some stats and facts about OKR settings.

There are several OKR applications and OKR software you might want to consider in terms of following the progress of the OKRs you’ve set. So now, let us ask you a question, how many OKRs do you think we need to set?

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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