7 OKR best practices

There are several best practices that should always be followed when using Objectives and Key Results to set team and company goals. If they are not, the company runs the risk of low adoption and engagement, and OKRs will lose their effectiveness. 

These include:

  • Set the right tone: OKRs should be developed from the top-down, then cascade down across teams to create organizational alignment. From there, a bottom-up approach is taken when teams understand the core areas of focus, and are given creative freedom to draft many of their own Objectives and Key Results.
  • Set a quarterly planning schedule: OKRs should be set on a quarterly planning cadence, and align to larger longer-term goals. This quarterly planning schedule enables teams to remain nimble, and focused on the short-term initiatives that must be accomplished.
  • Establish bi-weekly cadence: OKRs should be measured and discussed on weekly check-in schedule. This enables teams to carefully manage the progress of each Objective, and to remain proactive when Objectives fall behind or become at risk.
  • Use OKR examples: Writing OKRs can be challenging, especially for beginners. Utilizing existing OKR examples is a great way to see how an OKR should be written, while also providing a starting point to begin from. 
  • Review and Approve: OKR should be a collaborative effort, and thus team meetings should be held to discuss goals, and spread ideas on how contributors can work together to achieve strong impact.  Once goals are defined, OKRs should be approved and rolled out across the company. This ensures everyone understands their role, and what is expected of them going forward. 
  • Leverage a strong OKR tracking tool. Writing and communicating goals isn’t enough. It’s important to have a way to manage OKR on-going OKR progress and weekly check-ins.
  • Make sure OKRs are aligned. Company-wide alignment and transparency are critical components to the overall health and success of an OKR program. If goals are not aligned and transparent then teams lose focus, and won’t be working together to achieve common goals.