Design Rules for OKRs

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Although the general idea of OKR (see: definition of OKRs ) can seem clear, being able to successfully launch an OKR system within a company takes some effort, especially in designing the OKRs and how they are used.

The first aspect that must be considered is that the OKRs should not be used as the metric for performance of individuals. Although this is repeated in [ @doerr2018 Measure what matters: OKRs: the simple idea that drives 10x growth ], little information is given on how to separate both concerns.

Since Objectives are aspirational, it is better to make them always a stretch, or a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). If you know you'll reach the objective with absolute certainty within a given timeframe, then this tools is not the appropriate one.

Key Results must be quantifiable to the point where a number between 0 and 1 can be assigned to the level of completion. They can also be color-coded: 0-0.3 is red, 0.3-0.7 yellow, 0.7-1.0 green.

Google aims for completion rates of around 0.7, the stretch is reaching to that 1.0. According to anecdotes, Doerr always wants to see more red in the boards. If everything is green, it means people is not being pushed enough.


Although the rules are repeated through the book, almost all the examples given failed at following the guidelines, for example this Key Result: Sustain current global progress to ensure the environment is conductive to eradication push [page 132]. Is not measurable, and it sounds like an objective more than a result.


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Aquiles Carattino
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