What are OKRs and how to write them (with templates and examples) - LogRocket Blog (2023)

Table of contents

  • What are objectives and key results (OKRs)?
  • How do product managers use OKRs?
    • Aligning objectives with company goals
    • Aligning with other functions
    • Aligning to the product strategy
  • How to write OKRs (with examples)
    • Example no. 1: Outcome-based OKR
    • Example no. 2: Turning a delivery objective into an OKR
  • Downloadable and customizable OKR templates
  • OKR best practices
    • Review and sign off on OKRs
    • Execution and monitoring
    • Quarterly review

What are objectives and key results (OKRs)?

Objectives and key results (OKRs) can assist product managers in guiding and focusing the team’s efforts, increasing impact, establishing alignment, and ensuring everyone is on the same page.

The OKR framework was developed by John Doerr while he worked at Intel in the early 1990s. Since then, OKRs have become a popular tool for measuring progress and enhancing performance in organizations as well as other settings.

Doerr’s book,Measure What Matters, demonstrates how togather timely and relevant datato track progress so that you can improve your performance. In 2018, he also gave an excellentTED Talkon why the secret to success is about setting the right goals.

OKRs are widely used in product management because they allowproduct managersto concentrate on the objectives their business has set out to accomplish and rally others within the organization to focus on them too.

Using OKRs enables product managers to:

  • Keep track of multiple priorities and objectives
  • Focus on the most important things
  • Communicate product objectivesto stakeholders
  • Measure progress toward product objectives

Although these are simply a few of theproduct manager’s many responsibilities, they are usually some of the most important. PMs often dig through data and create reports and dashboards totrack progress toward key business goalsand communicate updates to stakeholders.

How do product managers use OKRs?

PMs can create effective OKRs in collaboration with other functions and ahead of the next quarter.

There are three main alignment activities intended to triangulate effective product OKRs, which will help you avoid being caught off guard by new initiatives popping up during the quarter:

  1. Aligning objectives with company goals
  2. Aligning with other functions
  3. Aligning to the product strategy

Aligning objectives with company goals

When establishing OKRs, it’s critical to match goals with the organization’s strategy and ensure that significant outcomes are measurable.

Aligning with other functions

Checking in with leaders in other departments will help you ensure alignment and avoid missing initiatives you might be required to support from a product management perspective. It also enables you to identify any other urgent initiatives that might require development resources and the deprioritization of less urgent, strategic initiatives.

Aligning to the product strategy

Some objectives may be linked to your overallproduct strategy. These goals might be confined to the product experience itself and contribute significantly to the company’s financial goals.

You should also collaborate with yourengineering counterpartsto identify capacity needs for executing the objectives across the company by aligning your product goals across the business.

How to write OKRs (with examples)

There are a few things that product managers should keep in mind when setting up their OKRs:

To demonstrate how to create OKRs, let’s look at a couple of illustrative examples:

  1. Outcome-based OKR
  2. Turning a delivery objective into an OKR

Example no. 1: Outcome-based OKR


Create a high-performing demand-gen machine.

Key results

  • Grow number of users to website by 10 percent
  • Generate 100 new leads per month

What if the company is not objective-driven?

If you’re not objective-driven, there’s a good chance you’re just taking orders from the top. Either that or you’re a feature factory, or perhaps you’re executing on projects instead of optimizing toward objectives.

If you don’t have any formal goal-setting framework in place, try the following as a starting point:

  1. Reframe your currentproduct focusas an objective
  2. Relate it back to one of the company’s current objectives
  3. Outline 2–3 measures that outline what success looks like

Example no. 2: Turning a delivery objective into an OKR


Deliver X project by the end of the year.

Key results

  • Engineering teams maintain a sprint velocity of X story points throughout the quarter
  • Hold five customer interviews walking through the user experience journey to collect feedback on usability
  • Hold two product update sessions to share progress on the project with the organization

If it’s too difficult to find measurable metrics for what you’re working on, perhaps it’s just a delivery-focused objective and the key success measure is to get something done by a given date, which is okay if that’s the milestone you’re working toward. You should still think about metrics you can pursue along the way that indicate whether or not you’re making the right type of progress.

Collect data on key results

​​Make sure you can actually obtain data on key results when you’re determining the crucial indicators that demonstrate your goal’s success. If there are any important success metrics you aren’t presently tracking, make sure they’re included in the scope and build them before you need to start referring to them.

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Tactics are not key results

A common mistake is to treat key results as a to-do list. Key results should be easily measurable; if you’re outlining tasks to be done, these should be considered as tactics — i.e., things we can do to hit the key result. This is best left to the team to weigh up the effort and prioritize the best possible tactics.

Tactics can be gathered by soliciting ideas from the broader team on how to hit the objectives. A workshop-style session led by the product manager would work perfectly here.

Limit the number of objectives

Ideally, you want no more than three to five objectives at each level of the organization as they cascade down. Individuals have their own goals, which should align with the functional and business objectives. Likewise, individuals should actively pursue no more than three to five objectives at any given time.

Consider capacity

Limiting the number of objectives across the board and making sure everyone is aligned is important for capacity purposes, too.

Considering the example above,product, UX, and engineeringmight need to work together to ensure enough planning has been done to guarantee sprint velocity. Product and UX will need to work together to recruit customers and plan, run, and synthesize results from the interviews. This might limit their effectiveness in helping to define work for the engineering teams.

OKR templates and best practices

There are a few strategies for planning OKRs. When starting out, I recommend reviewing yourpirate metrics (AARRR):

  • Acquisition— customers finding the product
  • Activation— customers experiencing the core value of the product
  • Retention— customers coming back to use the product again
  • Referral— customers sharing the product with others
  • Revenue— monetizing customers

Here is adownloadable and customizable OKR templateyou can use when planning your OKRs. We also have templates available for the following (more on these later):

What are OKRs and how to write them (with templates and examples) - LogRocket Blog (3)

Review and sign off on OKRs

Reviewing and signing off OKRs with other functions is crucial to ensure you have alignment from the beginning and eliminate any surprises from occurring throughout the quarter.

As a product manager, you often have the context around what the business is trying to achieve and should meet with other functions to align OKRs and make sure everyone is aiming toward the same goal. It’s also an opportunity for you to understand what’s important to stakeholders and share what you’re hoping to achieve during the quarter.

Furthermore, it enables you to explore tactics together and determine what activities lend themselves to achieving the objectives as efficiently as possible.

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What are OKRs and how do you write them? ›

For how to write OKRs, the actual formula is simple: Objectives are goals and intents, while Key Results are time-bound and measurable milestones under these goals and intents.

What is an OKR template? ›

What is an OKR Template? OKR (Objectives and Key Results) templates work as a performance management system to provide a framework for setting team objectives and tracking results.

What are examples of OKRs? ›

Top company objectives—OKR examples
  • Hit company global sales target of $100 Million in Sales.
  • Achieve 100% year-to-year sales growth in the EMEA geography.
  • Increase the company average deal size by 30% (with upsells)
  • Reduce churn to less than 5% annually (via Customer Success)
Mar 18, 2022

How do you formulate good OKRs? ›

How to write OKRs: A step-by-step guide
  1. Understand your company goals. Writing effective OKRs starts with understanding your organizational goals. ...
  2. Choose the right tools. ...
  3. Involve your whole team. ...
  4. Write an OKR objective statement. ...
  5. Develop key results. ...
  6. Plan your initiatives. ...
  7. Track them consistently. ...
  8. Celebrate 70%

What are the three parts of OKR? ›

OKR Methodology Overview

OKRs consist of an objective, a clearly defined goal, and key results, which measure progress toward achieving the defined goal.

What is the structure of an OKR? ›

An OKR consists of an Objective, which tells you where to go. Several Key Results, which are the measurable results you need to achieve to get to your Objective. And Initiatives, which are all the projects and tasks that will help you achieve your Key Results.


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