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OKRs – what they are, how to write + OKR examples

David Hartshorne 14 min read
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Organizations need a robust methodology for setting and monitoring goals. There are plenty of frameworks to choose from, including KPIs, OKRs, and SMART goals.

In this guide, we’ll examine what OKRs are, how they work, and why they’re vital for businesses. Then we’ll show you how to set OKRs for various departments and teams, including real-life examples. Plus, we’ve even got an OKR template to get you up and running.

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What does OKR stand for and what are they?

The acronym stands for objectives and key results. In corporate or startup environments, OKR is a goal-setting framework. It outlines how companies can identify key objectives and set realistic targets — key results — to make them a reality.

OKRs are a framework for setting business goals, developed by Andy Grove for Intel back in the 1960s.

OKRs help companies to:

  • Identify key business objectives
  • Set realistic targets
  • Determine timeframes for achieving those targets
  • Ensure that goals are related to overarching business objectives

It’s also important to clarify what the OKR framework does not do:

The OKR methodology is not designed to help your company determine your overall vision for the business, your fit in the marketplace, or the long-term direction of business development.

Rather, the organizational OKR process assumes you already understand these elements and helps you take that high-level vision for company progress and build out realistic, tangible organizational goals.

What’s the difference between KPI and OKR?

The main difference is that a key performance indicator (KPI) is a metric you use to measure progress, while OKR is a complete method for setting and completing business goals.

A typical KPI could be sales revenue growth or customer retention rates. They can help you judge how well your project’s going. With an OKR, you set a concrete strategic objective and define crucial results. Even if the focus is on sales revenue growth, you specify a target number.

Read more: OKR vs. KPI – similarities and differences

How to write OKRs?

OKRs consist of two components — the objective and the key result or results.
The objective is the goal you’re looking to achieve. It’s not a numerical or quantifiable goal — at least initially — but tends to be a high-level aspiration that begins with a verb, such as:

  • Increase sales volume
  • Improve speed to sale
  • Reduce employee turnover

The key result aspect of a team OKR is where you get into the details, breaking down that big hairy objective into more tangible, realistic, measurable results. For example, if your objective is to “Increase sales volume”, then key result examples might be:

  • 50% lift in new lead generation
  • 20% more sales revenue this quarter
  • 10 new deals closed above $100k

Setting objectives with impact

When trying to identify objectives, company vision should be your guiding light. Break your long-term strategy down into 30 to 90-day goals.

Follow a structured process, with customized questions like:

  • What are the most impactful actions we can take to progress towards our vision right now?
  • What do we need to change to improve our market share/product/services?
  • What does success look like?

For example, Increase company revenue by 10% by the end of Q1. The specificity and timeframe are the core differences in an objective vs. a generic goal.

Clear key results help guide your process

Single out a shortlist of 3–5 key results for each objective. Key results act as milestones or checkpoints and should help guide your progress and motivate your team.

They should be:

  • time-bound: achieved by set date or timeline
  • aggressive
  • specific and measurable
  • realistic

Why are OKRs important for your business?

OKRs can help you achieve your business goals. Having goals is one thing, but having a system or framework in place to execute and measure those goals is the key differentiator.

In the words of Larry Page, co-founder at Google:

OKRs have helped lead us to 10X growth, many times over. [ … ] They’ve kept me and the rest of the company on time and on track when it mattered the most.

Setting OKRs helps you:

  • Articulate your goals. An OKR should be a concise, action-oriented, meaningful, and inspirational statement.
  • Track and measure progress. Regularly record how you are progressing toward your key results.
  • Reassess and stretch. Evaluate if you reached your goals and adjust accordingly, typically every quarter.

Makes sense in theory, right? But how do you actually create a good OKR?

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What are good OKRs?

Good OKRs consist of goals and intents with time-bound and measurable milestones. With both components in place, you’re good to go.

For example, Google has an OKR to improve sustainability:

  • Objective: Design processes that eliminate waste and pollution and give products a longer life so they don’t need replacing often.
  • KR1: Build “All Made by Google” products (after 2020) with recycled materials.
  • KR2: Use recycled or renewable material in at least 50% of * plastic in all our hardware products by 2025.
  • KR3: Make our product packaging 100% plastic-free and 100% recyclable by 2025.

How to avoid common OKR mistakes

While setting good OKRs is vital for your business, there are some pitfalls to avoid:

  • Creating unachievable objectives — set objectives that are challenging but achievable.
  • Setting only top-down objectives — set a mix of top-down and bottom-up goals.
  • Allocating inadequate resources — ensure employees have the proper resources to achieve the objectives.
  • Creating vague OKRs — set time-bound, measurable goals.
  • Not tracking progress — monitor and discuss progress regularly.
  • Confusing OKR goals with daily tasks — use a work management system to track progress.
  • Setting only aspirational or operational goals — strike a balance between both types of objective.
  • Having too many or too few objectives — typically, 3-5 objectives are sufficient, but evaluate each quarter.

Still not quite sure how to go about setting an OKR goal? Let’s explore a few example OKRs to give you some clarity on how this process plays out for each business department.

Company OKR examples

Typically, when you’re setting company OKRs, you’re not really setting OKRs at all. Instead, you’ll set the company objective — or objectives — which will then filter down into individual OKRs for each different department.

Company objectives planning in

Let’s look at three examples of how you can further refine a company goal into objectives for different teams in your organization.

Company objective 1: Increase revenue

  • Sales team objective: Lift monthly sales revenue.
  • Product team objective: Improve access to advanced features to further embed our product in customer workflows.
  • Customer service team objective: Improve customer retention.

Company objective 2: Increase market share

  • Sales team objective: Increase average deal size.
  • Marketing team objective: Improve brand awareness.
  • Product team objective: Improve user experience by implementing competitor features.

Company objective 3: Reduce operating costs

  • Admin team objective: Improve supplier payment process to reduce late payment fees.
  • Marketing team objective: Reduce the cost of marketing spend.
  • HR objective: Reduce labor costs via company restructuring.

Now, let’s investigate how we can turn each of these team objectives into an actionable OKR example.

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Sales OKR examples

Sales objective 1: Lift monthly sales revenue

  • Key result 1: Increase the number of closed deals from 400 to 600
  • Key result 2: Increase average subscription value to $750 per month
  • Key result 3: Lift demo to close rate from 50% to 60%

Sales objective 2: Increase average deal size

  • Key result 1: Lift average subscription value to $900 per month
  • Key result 2: Adjust lead scoring parameters to prioritize larger deals
  • Key result 3: Increase the percentage of high-value leads generated from 20% to 30%

Sales objective 3: Speed up deal velocity

  • Key result 1: Hire 5 new salespeople to ensure new leads are tended to promptly
  • Key result 2: Adjust email outreach campaign from 7 steps over 32 days to 6 steps over 24 days
  • Key result 3: Reduce average days to sale from 66 to 54
sales okr

Marketing OKR examples

Marketing objective 1: Improve brand awareness

  • Key result 1: Obtain 10 new earned placements in media outlets
  • Key result 2: Publish 5 new blog posts to drive 3000 new unique website visitors
  • Key result 3: Increase the number of page one search results from 14 to 22
  • Key result 4: Lift the awareness score for our brand from 42% to 60% in our demographic

Marketing objective 2: Reduce the cost of marketing spend

  • Key result 1: Halt all TV advertising campaigns
  • Key result 2: Reduce team headcount from 10 to 8
  • Key result 3: Reduce content writing budget allocation by 10%

Marketing objective 3: Uplift the number of new leads generated

  • Key result 1: Increase the number of new leads per month from 1200 to 1600
  • Key result 2: Double paid social media spend from $10,000 to $20,000 per month
  • Key result 3: Review the top 100 ranking pages and blog posts on our site and ensure each has a relevant and persuasive CTA proposition

HR OKR examples

HR objective 1: Reduce labor costs via company restructuring

  • Key result 1: Reduce the monthly cost of wages by 20%
  • Key result 2: Layoff 20 employees
  • Key result 3: Identify 3 redundant management positions

HR objective 2: Improve employee engagement

  • Key result 1: Achieve a weekly employee satisfaction score of 4+ over 90 days
  • Key result 2: Launch a 360-degree feedback initiative and achieve a 50% response rate
  • Key result 3: Hold a company lunch event once per month

HR objective 3: Reduce employee turnover

  • Key result 1: Reduce employee churn rate from 10% to 5%
  • Key result 2: Lift employee satisfaction score to 4+ for all employees
  • Key result 3: Ensure all employee salaries meet or exceed market averages by position and industry
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Product OKR examples

Product objective 1: Improve access to advanced features to further embed our product in customer workflows

  • Key result 1: 10% increase in the use of identified advanced features
  • Key result 2: Inform the marketing team to develop a current customer-facing campaign that highlights the benefits of identified advanced features
  • Key result 3: Review GUI design to prioritize the use of advanced features and make them more accessible

Product objective 2: Improve user experience by implementing competitor features

  • Key result 1: Perform a competitor and gap analysis to understand the features our product is missing
  • Key result 2: Create a development roadmap for implementing new features
  • Key result 3: Implement 50% of competitor features within 12 months

Product objective 3: Increase the speed of product bug resolution

  • Key result 1: Reduce average time to resolve bugs from 33 to 26 days
  • Key result 2: Hire 2 new employees to focus solely on resolving product bugs

Admin OKR examples

Admin team objective 1: Improve supplier payment process to reduce late payment fees

  • Key result 1: Delegate supplier payment to a single admin assistant to streamline the process
  • Key result 2: Set up an automated reminder system to ensure suppliers are paid before the due dates
  • Key result 3: Achieve a $0 late payment fee rate for 3 consecutive months

Admin team objective 2: Ensure the office is a desirable place to work

  • Key result 1: Launch an employee feedback campaign and receive a response from 80% of the staff
  • Key result 2: Solve top 5 identified problems
  • Key result 3: Hold one employee lunch each month

Admin team objective 3: Improve company documentation management

  • Key result 1: Design folder hierarchy structure and have all 5 teams agree to use it
  • Key result 2: Collect positive feedback from 90% of users

Design OKR examples

Design objective 1: Show that our design company is a desirable place for new employees to work

  • Key result 1: Win 3 design competitions
  • Key result 2: Conduct monthly design meetups
  • Key result 3: Receive 50 new applicants each month

Design objective 2: Launch a new landing page to drive conversions

  • Key result 1: Test 3 landing page options on 150+ external users
  • Key result 2: Launch new page by March 20
  • Key result 3: Conversion rate lift from 20% to 30%

Design objective 3: Improve visual aspects of our content marketing initiatives

  • Key result 1: Conduct a content audit to identify areas for improvement
  • Key result 2: Hire a designer dedicated to internal company initiatives
  • Key result 3: Increase shares of social content by 20%
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Customer Service OKR examples

Customer service objective 1: Improve customer retention

  • Key result 1: Reduce call waiting time to less than 5 minutes
  • Key result 2: Reduce churn rate from 10% to 5%
  • Key result 3: Hire 3 new customer service reps to solve customer issues more rapidly
  • Key result 4: Implement weekly product training sessions to upskill customer service employees

Customer service objective 2: Lift customer satisfaction

    • Key result 1: Receive 2000 responses to the customer satisfaction survey
    • Key result 2: Identify 5 key areas for customer service and product improvements
    • Key result 3: Hold phone interviews with the top 100 customers
    • Key result 4: Interview 20 recently churned customers


Customer service objective 3: Improve support ticket resolution speed

  • Key result 1: Reduce average days to solve from 10 to 7
  • Key result 2: Implement a new Helpdesk ticketing system
  • Key result 3: Hire 5 new customer service team members

How monday work management helps with setting OKRs

So, you’ve got a good grasp on how to create OKRs for each department in your business, and you’ve got a few good OKR examples under your belt to get started with.

The question is, where to next? Once you’ve written out those OKRs, what do you do with them? And, most importantly, how do you track progress towards achieving the key results you’ve identified?

To give yourself the best chance of building, tracking, sharing, and meeting your OKRs, use a work management system.

From setting goals to navigating projects objectives, monday work management offers an organized and collaborative way of working with timelines, dashboards, workdocs, and more.

You can establish your company and team-level goals and objectives based on business priorities and needs, and design your unique OKR tracking board around your workflows.

Let’s take a look at how high-performing teams manage, track, and achieve their objectives and key results using our pre-built OKR template.

Inside, you’ll see three different groups, one for each of the company’s objectives:

  • Objective 1: Launch Android version
  • Objective 2: Grow the company 2x bigger
  • Objective 3: Become a socially responsible organization

Each of these objectives has three measurable key results, which you can track using the following column types:

  • People: If there’s a specific team member responsible for achieving this key result, you can tag and display them here.
  • Priority: This column allows team members to prioritize specific key results over others.
  • Status: Using this column, everyone can see where a given key result is at — whether it’s done, being worked on, or shifted to the next quarter.
  • Results: This column gives teams a numerical representation of the percentage completed for each result.
  • Timeline: If your key results are time-bound, you can display this information here.

In short, monday work management brings transparency, ownership, and organization to your OKRs. With our drag-and-drop functionality, it’s easy to shift things around if your goals change, and our advanced reporting helps you keep an eye on progress.

More monday work management use-cases:


The acronym “OKR” stands for Objectives and Key Results.
It’s a goal-setting methodology that can help teams and individuals set challenging goals with measurable results. You define what you want to achieve and what milestones you’ll need to meet to accomplish it. OKRs help you track progress, create alignment, and encourage engagement around measurable goals in your organization.

At the end of each milestone, you grade or score an OKR based on whether the KR was met. You can use a basic “yes/no” assessment, a number score, or a “traffic light system”.
Typically, you grade OKRs on a scale from 0.0 to 1.0, where 1.0 means complete, like this:
* Red - We failed to make real progress: 0.0 to 0.3 
* Yellow - We made progress but fell short of completion: 0.4 to 0.6 
* Green - We delivered: 0.7 to 1.0

You can set any number of OKRs, but typically 2-3 objectives, each with 3-5 corresponding key results, work well.
For larger organizations, you may have multiple levels of OKRs that cascade down to each department, team, and individual — as per the examples above. But for smaller organizations, you may only have one set for everyone to share.

David Hartshorne is a freelance writer for leading B2B SaaS and tech brands, creating detailed, actionable content that resonates with their audience. When he’s not writing, you’ll find him chilling with a thriller or roaring on the Villa.
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