Writing Effective OKRs

Writing OKRs isn’t easy, but not impossible, either. Here are the simple rules that Google use:

Objectives are the “Whats.” They:

  • express goals and intents;
  • are aggressive yet realistic;
  • must be tangible, objective and unambiguous; should be obvious to rational observer whether an objective has been achieved.
  • The successful achievement of an objective must provide clear value to organistaion.

Key Results are the “Hows.” They:

  • express measurable milestones which, if achieved, will advance objective(s) in a useful manner to their constituents;
  • must describe outcomes, not activities. If your KRs include word like “consilt”, “help”, “analyse”, or “participate”, they describe activities. Instead, describe the end-user impact of these activities: “publish average and tail latency measurements from six Colossus cells by March 7,” rather than “assess Colossus latency”;
  • must include evidence of completion. This evidence must be available, credible, and easily discoverable. Examples of evidence include change lists, links to docs, notes and published metrics reports.