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A Great OKRs Guide: How to implement OKRs? How to Write OKRs? And More! – 2024

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We don’t want to sound like performance management hipsters but when we first started writing about OKRs it was a pretty niche, and tech-specific topic!

We are so glad that the use of OKRs in various different fields of work is now becoming more and more popular. That does, however, raise some important questions about the practice of OKR goal-setting. Today, we set out to answer some of those very important questions! Such as:

  • How to implement OKRs?
  • How to write good OKRs?
  • What are good OKRs for product managers?
  • What are the objectives of a growth team?

Some of those questions may seem a bit department specific but please trust us! We know what we’re doing here! OKR hipsters, remember?

How To Implement OKRs?

Start Simple

When you’re trying to implement OKRs in your organization, there are a few key things you need to watch out for. If your team hasn’t worked with OKRs, then there is no point in trying to rush them into it. Here is something very simple, and objectively silly about work-life in 2023:

Acronyms be hella scary!

Regular Joe Ordinaryson

A common mistake blog writers and people leaders both make is our heavy reliance on fancy acronyms. Even when these acronyms represent simple concepts, they can be intimidating and excluding when people take them at face value.

When you’re introducing OKR strategies into your organization for the first time, you should start simple and start small. Introduce achievable, and short-term objectives and key results as part of a grace period in settling in.

Set short-term OKRs

Setting annual OKRs might not be the best strategy when you’re trying to implement OKRs in your workplace. Instead, a great way to implement OKRs is to set quarterly OKRs! When you’re setting your OKRs for the first time, it is much better to select a smaller period of time. This allows you to have multiple control groups and makes the transition a lot easier and simpler on all your employees.

Any questions about just how many OKRs you should be setting? Check out this article:  How Many OKRs Should I Set for My Team and Why?

Make use of an OKR Software

Whether you are using goal-setting templates, SMART goals, or one of the many other ways of setting goals in your organization, digitizing the way you set goals and OKRs is always a great idea. Making use of OKR software comes with multiple different benefits. Here are some of them:

  • Centralized tracking
  • Better data analysis
  • Automated goal check-ins
  • Increased accountability

Trust us when we say, using OKR software beats and Excel OKR template any day of the week! If you’re looking for an OKR tracking tool, then you might want to check out our list of the 10 Best OKR Software of 2023!

If you are in an organization that uses Microsoft Teams, however, there is only one option that truly stands head and shoulders above the rest:

Teamflect

OKRs software: Goal module screen of Teamflect in Microsoft Teams with one active goal

Teamflect is an all-in-one performance management system designed specifically to fit inside Microsoft Teams with seamless integration.

Teamflect has one of the strongest OKR modules inside the Microsoft Teams ecosystem, making OKR goal-setting a complete breeze! Teamflect doesn’t just let you set goals and OKRs. It also lets you label and prioritize them, while aligning them with your tasks at the same time!

The OKRs you create with Teamflect aren’t just isolated to their own module. They are integrated with other modules such as performance reviews, tasks, feedback, and meetings!

We here at Teamflect, know that goal-setting and performance management are both ongoing processes. They are not individual self-contained events.

When you’re using Teamflect, you can access goals and OKRs inside ongoing meetings, feedback templates, and most importantly, performance reviews!

Other key features include but aren’t limited to:

Use the best OKR software for Microsoft Teams!
No sign-up required.
Teamflect Image

How To Write Good OKRs?

Start with the objective

The objective is the overarching goal that you want to achieve. It should be clear, specific, and measurable. When writing an objective, think about what you want to accomplish and why it matters. Make sure it aligns with your company’s mission and values.

For example, if your company’s mission is to reduce carbon emissions, your objective might be to decrease your carbon footprint by 25% by the end of the year.

Use the SMART criteria

To ensure that your objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound, use the SMART goal setting criteria. Specific objectives are clearly defined and leave no room for ambiguity. Measurable objectives have concrete, quantifiable metrics to track progress. Achievable objectives are realistic and feasible. Relevant objectives align with your company’s mission and values. Time-bound objectives have a clear deadline.

Use action verbs

Use action verbs when writing your objectives to ensure that they are actionable and focused on outcomes. Action verbs such as “increase,” “decrease,” “improve,” or “optimize” communicate clear goals and expectations. When we’re talking about the big S in SMART goal-setting, action verbs really help eliminate that vagueness.

Instead of writing “reduce expenses,” you could write “optimize expenses by 15% through cost-saving initiatives.”.

Use key results to measure progress

Key results are the specific employee performance metrics that will track progress toward your objective. They should be specific, measurable, time-bound, and challenging but achievable. When writing key results, think about what data you need to track progress toward your objective.

If your objective is to increase sales by 20%, your key results might be to increase website traffic by 30%, increase social media engagement by 25%, and increase the number of leads generated by 15%.

Ensure alignment between objectives and key results

Your key results should directly align with your objective. They should be the specific benchmarks that will track progress toward achieving your objective. You, as the leader, need to make sure, that each key result is relevant to the objective and contributes to its achievement.

OKRs: selective focus photography of an arrow

Sample OKR Examples:

How can we expect you to implement OKRs in your workplace without providing you with some solid OKR examples? If you’re looking to implement OKRs in your organizations then the following two OKR examples can function as simple guides on how OKRs function:

Objective: Increase employee engagement

Key results:

  • Increase employee satisfaction survey scores by 10% within the next year
  • Increase employee retention by 15% within the next year
  • Increase employee participation in company events and initiatives by 25% within the next six months

Objective: Improve operational efficiency

Key results:

  • Decrease production time by 20% within the next six months
  • Reduce inventory waste by 30% within the next quarter
  • Achieve a 90% on-time delivery rate to customers within the next year

You didn’t think we wouldn’t practice what we preach, did you? As you can see, the OKR examples above follow the steps we explained throughout the “How to write good OKRs?” section. Each OKR follows the SMART goal structure, being specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. We used action verbs and made sure our key results make use of measurable, quantifiable metrics!

If you follow these simple steps, there is no reason for you to have difficulty as you implement an OKR framework in your organization.

OKR examples for growth:floating green leaf plant on person's hand

OKR Examples for Growth

OKR frameworks vary heavily between different teams and departments. In the upcoming two sections of this article, we’ll be covering some sample objectives and key results, designed specifically for the departments they are most commonly practiced in.

Since we’ve covered “How to implement OKRs?”, we are now moving on to “OKR examples for growth teams”! If there is one department in an organization that can benefit from using an objectives and key results framework, it is the growth team! Why?

Why are OKRs important for a growth team?

OKRs are actually pretty important for growth teams, believe it or not! They help the team to set clear goals, track their progress, and make sure they’re all working together towards the same objectives. With OKRs, growth teams can focus on the most important things, make smart decisions using data, and really optimize their strategies for success. But it’s not just about hitting targets – OKRs also help growth teams to build a culture of empowerment and teamwork.

By setting challenging but realistic goals, the team is encouraged to push themselves and try new things. And by keeping track of progress along the way, the team can quickly identify what’s working and what’s not, and make changes as needed to stay on track for their goals.

We can already here you asking:

But can’t this logic be applied to any other department?

You.

To that, we simply have to say: YES! Making use of the OKR framework is an extremely effective method of setting goals, regardless of department. That being said since a growth team has such a heavy focus on, well, growing the business, quantifying that growth and chopping it down to these digestible and achievable targets can help your growth team cope with their goals far easier.

What are the objectives of a growth team?

Objective: Improve the conversion rate from sign-up to purchase by 15% within the next six months.

  • Key Result 1: Increase the number of users who complete the onboarding process by 20% through user research and product optimization.
  • Key Result 2: Increase the average order value by 10% through targeted promotions and upselling.

Objective: Increase the lifetime value (LTV) of customers by 20% within the next year.

  • Key Result 1: Increase the retention rate by 10% through personalized communication and improved customer support.
  • Key Result 2: Increase the average purchase frequency by 15% through targeted promotions and loyalty programs.

Objective: Increase the number of new users acquired through organic search by 50% within the next six months.

  • Key Result 1: Increase website ranking on targeted keywords by 10 positions through SEO optimization.
  • Key Result 2: Improve website content quality and relevance through user research and content optimization.

Objective: Improve the onboarding process to increase the percentage of users who complete the setup process by 25% within the next quarter.

  • Key Result 1: Simplify the onboarding process by reducing the number of steps by 30%.
  • Key Result 2: Implement user-friendly interfaces and clear instructions to improve usability and reduce confusion.

Objective: Increase the referral rate of existing users by 40% within the next year.

  • Key Result 1: Offer incentives to users who refer friends, such as discounts or exclusive content.
  • Key Result 2: Implement social sharing features to make it easy for users to share the product with their friends.

Objective: Increase the average rating of the product in app stores by 0.5 stars within the next six months.

  • Key Result 1: Implement user feedback mechanisms to collect and address user concerns and feedback.
  • Key Result 2: Invest in user education and product tutorials to reduce confusion and increase user satisfaction.

Objective: Reduce the churn rate by 20% within the next year.

  • Key Result 1: Increase customer engagement through personalized communication and incentives.
  • Key Result 2: Improve product usability and feature set through user feedback and research.

Objective: Increase the number of users who engage with the app daily by 25% within the next six months.

  • Key Result 1: Implement personalized content and notifications based on user behavior and preferences.
  • Key Result 2: Optimize app performance and speed to reduce loading times and improve user experience.

Objective: Increase the number of users who invite friends to join the app by 30% within the next quarter.

  • Key Result 1: Offer incentives to users who invite friends, such as discounts or exclusive content.
  • Key Result 2: Implement social sharing features to make it easy for users to share the product with their friends.

Objective: Increase the number of social media followers by 50% within the next year.

  • Key Result 1: Increase social media content frequency and quality to increase user engagement and sharing.
  • Key Result 2: Collaborate with influencers and other brands to increase exposure and reach.

The OKR examples for growth teams we listed above are exactly what the title of this section suggests: They are merely examples! Your experience with your growth team and their objectives and key results will obviously vary. The SMART goals you will be setting should represent your organization’s culture, character, and targets.

OKRs for Product Managers

Moving on from OKRs for growth teams, the next and final group of people we will be covering in this guide to OKRs will be product managers. When it comes to OKRs for product managers, there are 4 core types of OKRs that have to be addressed. We’ve addressed all four of them in the examples listed below. So what exactly are those categories?

  • Product Research: This section covers anything from getting to know your user base, to verify the validity of your product. Objectives and key results regarding this section should be handed out pre-production.
  • Design and Development: As the name would suggest, the objectives and key results surrounding this section are ones focusing heavily on the production itself.
  • Product Release: Sticking firmly with the “movie” lingo we used in this section for no good reason at all, the objectives and key results concerning this category can be labeled post-production and rolling out.
  • AARRR Metrics: What is a pirate’s favorite business acronym? AARRR! Once the product has been released, it never hurts to be monitoring the following elements: Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Revenue, and Referral. Setting OKRs surrounding these metrics always helps!

Mistakes To Avoid While Implementing OKRs:

When implementing OKRs it is the organization starting to use the OKR system is more often than not switching from one methodology to another. One transition that is incredibly popular is the switch from KPI’s to OKRs. 

Even though the mass conversion to OKRs truly began when Google released their OKR handbook, there are still organizations starting to use OKRs to this day. So here are some mistakes to avoid while implementing OKRs.

1. Confusing OKRs with KPIs

While KPIs are metrics that indicate performance levels, OKRs are about setting goals and defining measurable outcomes to achieve them. Ensure your team understands this distinction to leverage the full potential of OKRs.

Tip: Focus on how to write an OKR that encapsulates a clear objective and specific, actionable key results, differentiating from the more static nature of KPIs. Workshops, where your team writes each section of an OKR and learns how to create OKRs, can work wonders in this area.

2. Setting Too Many OKRs

One common error in implementing OKRs is overambition, leading to an overwhelming number of objectives. This can dilute focus and make it challenging to achieve meaningful progress.

Tip: Limit the number of OKRs to ensure focus and effectiveness. Understanding how to set OKRs effectively involves prioritization and clarity. One of the best ways to understand how many objectives and key results your team can handle is to simply ask their opinions on the matter through employee surveys.

3. Not Aligning OKRs Across the Organization

OKRs should be aligned not just within teams but across the entire organization to ensure cohesive progress toward common goals. Cross-functional teams with interdisciplinary OKRs bring organizations closer to achieving their North Star metrics.

Tip: When implementing OKRs, ensure there’s a clear alignment between individual, team, and organizational objectives. 

4. Treating OKRs as a Compliance Exercise

If OKRs are treated as mere formalities without genuine engagement, they won’t drive the intended value. Implementing OKRs isn’t an easy decision. Especially when switching from KPI’s to OKRs. That is why it is crucial that this isn’t done just for the sake of it.

Tip: Foster a culture where OKRs are integrated into regular reviews, discussions, and decision-making processes. OKRs and OKR tracking should remain in the flow of work.

5. Failing to Iterate and Adapt

The first set of OKRs might not be perfect. Learning from what works and what doesn’t is one of the most important aspects of writing good OKRs.

Tip: Encourage feedback and be ready to adapt your OKR-setting process based on what you learn. 

6. Lack of Training on How to Write OKRs

Without proper understanding and training, teams can struggle with how to write effective OKRs. This can lead to poorly defined objectives and key results. 

Tip: Invest in training and resources that provide clear guidelines on how to write an OKR, ensuring everyone understands the best practices in writing OKRs. There are plenty of amazing resources on how to write good OKRs or how to implement OKRs effectively. The OKR Playbook by Google that we mentioned previously is certainly among them.

7. Ignoring the Qualitative Aspects

Never disregard the intangible aspects of employee performance. While OKRs often focus on quantifiable outcomes, ignoring the qualitative improvements can lead to a narrow view of progress.

Tip: Balance your OKRs to include qualitative objectives that promote innovation, collaboration, and employee engagement.

What are good OKRs for product managers?

Objective: Improve user engagement by 15% within the next quarter.

  • Key Result 1: Increase the number of weekly active users by 10% through feature enhancements and usability improvements.
  • Key Result 2: Increase the average session duration by 20% through personalized content and notifications.

Objective: Increase the number of new product features by 30% within the next year.

  • Key Result 1: Increase the speed of feature delivery by 25% through agile project management and cross-functional collaboration.
  • Key Result 2: Increase the number of successful feature launches by 20% through user feedback and testing.

Objective: Improve product quality by reducing bugs and issues by 25% within the next quarter.

  • Key Result 1: Increase the frequency of automated testing by 50% through test automation and continuous integration.
  • Key Result 2: Implement a bug tracking and prioritization system to improve issue resolution speed and efficiency.

Objective: Increase user satisfaction by 20% within the next six months.

  • Key Result 1: Implement user feedback mechanisms to collect and address user concerns and feedback.
  • Key Result 2: Conduct user research to identify pain points and implement feature enhancements and usability improvements.

Objective: Improve user retention by 10% within the next year.

  • Key Result 1: Increase the frequency of personalized communication and engagement with users through targeted notifications and promotions.
  • Key Result 2: Implement loyalty programs and incentives to increase user engagement and retention.

Closing Words

We know that OKR management can be a bit intimidating. The entire OKR process, OKR methodology, and countless OKR best practices floating around on the internet make it very difficult for individuals to get into OKR goal setting as a legitimate goal-setting practice. All the intimidation factor aside, practicing objectives and key results goal setting is a breeze when you have the right OKR tools for the job.

We take pride in being the premier OKR software for Microsoft Teams users around the world! If your organization uses Microsoft Teams and you are struggling with implementing OKRs, then we just might have the solution for you. Why don’t you schedule a free demo and find out?

Frequently Asked Questions

Do product managers set OKRs?

Yes, product managers often play a key role in setting OKRs for their product teams. As the leader of the product team, the product manager is responsible for defining the overall product strategy and ensuring that the team is aligned with the company’s broader goals and objectives.

Should a product manager use KPI or OKR?

Even though we would love to direct you straight toward OKRs at the end of a post praising OKR methodology, the answer, we’re afraid, isn’t that simple! There is no binary decision to be made here! Non should be excluded from the party! Both KPIs and OKRs are important tools for measuring and managing product performance. KPIs are typically more focused on measuring specific metrics related to a product’s performance, such as revenue, user engagement, or conversion rates. OKRs, on the other hand, are more focused on setting ambitious, qualitative goals for the product team to achieve, along with measurable metrics that can be used to track progress toward those goals.

How do you implement OKRs successfully?

Start by setting clear, ambitious objectives that are aligned with the overall business strategy and mission.
Break each objective down into specific, measurable key results that can be used to track progress towards the objective.
Communicate the OKRs clearly and transparently to the entire team, so everyone is aligned on the goals and understands how their work contributes to achieving them.

Written by Emre Ok

Emre is a content writer at Teamflect who aims to share fun and unique insight into the world of performance management.

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