Measure What Matters – Superpower #3: Track for Accountability

OKRs are living, breathing organisms. Their life cycle unfolds in three phases:

The Setup

If you have 82,000 contributors to the OKR, general-purpose software (e.g.: Microsoft Word) doesn’t scale. If you share a goal that nobody sees, is the system truly transparent?

OKRs speak to something more powerful, the intrinsic value of the work itself. Cloud based platform deliver transformative OKR values:

  • They make everyone’s goal more visible.
  • They drive engagement
  • They promote internal networking
  • They save time, money and frustration.

OKR Shepherd

For OKR system to function effectively, the team deploying it must adopt it universally. No exceptions, no opt-outs.

Midlife Tracking

As we track and audit our OKRs, we have four options at any point in the cycle:

  • Continue: if a green zone goal isn’t broken, don’t fix it.
  • Update: Modify a yellow zone (“needs attention”) key results or objective to respond to changes in the workflow or external environment.
  • Start: Launch a new OKR mid-cycle, whenever the need arises
  • Stop: When a red zone (“at risk”) goal has outlived it’s usefulness, the best solution may be to drop it.

Wrap-up: Rinse and Repeat

Wrap-ups consist of three parts: objective scoring, subjective self-assessment, and reflection.


Google use a scale of 0 to 1.0:

  • 0.7 to 1.0 = Green (We delivered)
  • 0.4 to 0.6 = yellow (We made progress, but fell short of completion)
  • 0.0 to 0.3 = red (We failed to make real progress)

If department so much as approached 100%, it was presumed to be setting its sights too low – and there would be hell to pay.


In evaluating OKR performance, objective data is enhanced by the goal setter’s thoughtful, subjective judgment. For any given gal in a given quarter, there may be extenuating circumstances. A weak showing by the numbers might hide a strong effort; a strong one could be artificially inflated.


“We do not learn from experience … we learn from reflecting on experience.”

Here are some reflections for closing out an OKR cycle:

  • Did I accomplish all of my objectives? If so, what contributed to my success?
  • If not, what obstacles did I encounter?
  • If I were to rewrite a goal achieved in full, what would I change?
  • What have I learned that might alter my approach to the next cycle’s OKRs?