OKR Process

Team planning OKRs during the OKR planning process

What goes into an OKR?

If you’re new to OKRs, think of them as measurements similar to KPIs (key performance indicators). However, OKRs tend to be focused on higher business goals, and the process for managing them is slightly different.

First, we’ll look at what goals can go into OKRs:

  • Objectives. As the “O” in OKR, objectives are essential. Your objectives should be aspirational.

    • Example: Successfully launch a new webinar series.

  • Key results. As the “KR” in OKR, key results describe the three to five things that must happen to realize the objective. For example:

    • Key result one: Plan and finalize all content for the webinar topics.

    • Key result two: Grow the audience by 20% or more in the next three months.

    • Key result three: Create a follow-up marketing plan for outreach after each webinar.

  • Initiatives. Also referred to as plans, initiatives are the smaller tasks you have to accomplish to achieve each key result.

    • Example: To plan and finalize all content for the webinar topics (key result one), the below initiatives are listed for this week:

      • Vote on webinar topics

      • Create the first three outlines

      • Name each webinar

The OKR process.

As your team completes individual initiatives, you also make progress on key results, which gets you closer to achieving your overall objectives. 

Once you’ve achieved all objectives, the OKR process will start all over again, beginning with planning your OKRs, developing them, reviewing them in action, and having a post-mortem to discuss wins and losses.

Planning for OKRs.

When planning for your OKRs, there are four key steps to keep in mind:

  • Revisit mission and vision. This first step is important for keeping your objectives aligned with the company’s vision statement and overall values. 

  • Determine stakeholders and leaders of OKRs. Before you begin coming up with objectives, decide who should lead your OKR planning discussions. This might be your CEO, operations manager, team leader, or project/account manager.

  • Understand challenges to solve with OKRs. Knowing what challenges your company is trying to overcome is helpful when coming up with objectives, key results, and initiatives. Try to get a consensus from your leadership team about the company’s biggest challenges.

  • Compile other useful information that might be needed in setting OKRs. Establishing timelines, priorities, capacity, and any other helpful information is done during this step.

Developing OKRs.

Next, you’ll move on to developing your OKRs. This will involve:

  • Identifying objectives transparently. Your OKRs should never be a secret. You want everyone on the project team on the same page, and discussing OKRs can drive alignment, encourage cooperation, and hold you more accountable for your own OKRs. Make sure all contributors and stakeholders understand and agree with all objectives.

  • Quantifying key results. Once you’ve identified your objectives, decide how many key results are needed to realize that objective fully. Three to five key results per objective are recommended.

  • Setting timelines and determining stakeholders. Next, you’ll decide on a reasonable timeline for completing each OKR and assign them to individuals or teams to tackle.

OKRs in action.

Don’t forget to track your OKRs once they’re in action:

  • Set up a system to track OKRs. You’ll want an easy-to-use tool to keep track of your OKRs and progress. Using a work management solution like Workfront Goals that is quick and intuitive can allow your team to visualize their OKRs better and quickly learn the status of any particular objective, key result, or initiative. 


Last, you’ll want to dissect your OKRs once completed:

  • Discussing wins and misses. Once an OKR is complete, gather the team to discuss how it went and whether you hit your goal. You may have exceeded expectations, or maybe you fell a bit short but achieved another positive result you weren’t anticipating.

  • Bringing up bottlenecks. If you ran into issues or bottlenecks while trying to complete your OKRs, bring them up in the post-mortem, so they can be analyzed and avoided in the future.

OKRs can keep your company on the same page.

OKRs can help your business stay focused on the big picture and realize goals you might have thought were out of reach. With the help of a good tracking tool like Workfront, it’s easier than ever to establish, track, and learn from OKRs, while bringing your entire company together around a common vision and an attainable plan.

See Workfront in action

In this interactive tour, you will get hands-on experience using Workfront. You will learn how Workfront enables the enterprise to:

  • Connect strategy to delivery
  • Iteratively plan and prioritize work
  • Collaborate across teams and divisions to get work done
  • Streamline and optimize processes
  • Measure and report on progress
  • Deliver against your strategy