Objectives and key results (OKR, alternatively OKRs) is a goal setting framework used by individuals, teams, and organizations to define measurable goals and track their outcomes. The development of OKR is generally attributed to Andrew Grove who introduced the approach to Intel during his tenure there. John Doerr published an OKR book which is called “Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs” in 2017.

Whether talking about office operations, software engineering, nonprofits or more, OKRs work the same for setting goals throughout many company levels. They can also work for personal goals and can even be used by individuals to get things done at places where senior leadership doesn’t use them.

Types of OKRs:
OKRs can be three things: Committed, Aspirational, or Learning OKRs.

Committed OKRs are like their name suggests — commitments. When graded at the end of a cycle, a Committed OKR is expected to have a passing grade.

Aspirational OKRs are sometimes called stretch goals or “moonshots.” The pathway to an Aspirational OKR is expected to be forged since no one else has gotten there before. They also may be long-term and live beyond an OKR cycle or even be transferred between team members to stretch employee engagement.

Learning OKRs are for when learning something new is the most valuable outcome for the cycle. If a team isn’t sure how to proceed, they could set a Learning OKR that answers, “What is the most important thing we’re trying to learn in the next 90 days?” The results can then inform a related Committed or Aspirational OKR in the next cycle.

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