There’s a surprising lack of public information on OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) – the goal setting and tracking philosophy used by Intel, Google and others. This past month Google Ventures Startup Lab released a great presentation video by Rick Klau on how Google does goal setting and tracking: “How Google sets goals: OKRs”
- OKRs were introduced by John Doerr (Google board member) in 1999, based on his exposure to the use of OKRs at Intel.
- OKRs are set and evaluated on a quarterly bases.
- Objectives & Key Results should be bold, slightly out of reach, a little uncomfortable, unreasonable. Objectives are not necessarily measurable, Key Results must be measurable (e.g. NN monthly visits by Y/M/D)
- Keep it focused, max 5 Objectives with 4 Key Results
- OKRs are not a performance evaluation tool – not a standard element of annual employee evaluation. Although they are helpful for employees to draw upon and summarize/recall their impact over the past 4 quarters.
- OKRs are graded each quarter. Each Objective score [0-1] can just be an average of the Key Result scores [0-1] for that objective. “Grades don’t matter except as a directional indicator.”
- 60% – 70% accomplishment is good. 40% is bad. 80%+ means your goals are too easy. The scores provides data about the individual and teams’ ability to accomplish certain goals.
- Everyone’s OKRs are public (part of the employee directory listing)
- Company-wide quarterly meeting to examine the top-level OKRs. This provides an opportunity to calibrate and re-prioritize.
- Needs alignment, buy-in and participation from the top on down. Cannot be half-hearted.
Here are some example OKRs that Rick established for his first quarter working for Google as Product Manager on Blogger. Included are the grades [0.0 – 1.0] assessed at the end of the quarter:
Objective: Accelerate Blogger Revenue Growth [0.7]
- Launch “Monetize” tab to all users [1.0]
- Implement AdSense Host Channel Placement Targeting to increase RPMs by xx% [0.3]
- Launch 3 revenue-specific experiments to learn what drives revenue growth [0.7]
- Finalize PRD for Blogger Ad Network, secure eng allocation to build in Q1 [0.8]
Objective: Grow Blogger traffic by xx% over organic growth [0.45]
- Launch 3 features that will have a measurable impact on Blogger traffic [0.6]
- Improve Bloggers 404 handling, extend time on site and pageviews per session on sessions that start with a 404 error by xx% [0.3]
Objective: Improve Blogger’s Reputation [0.72]
- Re-establish Blogger’s leadership by speaking at 3 industry events [1.0]
- Coordinate Blogger’s 10th birthday PR efforts [0.8]
- ID and personally reach out to top xx Blogger users [0.8]
- Fix DMCA process, eliminate music blog takedowns [0.4]
- Set up @blogger on Twitter, regularly participate in discussions re: Blogger product [0.6]
In the video, a few of John Doerr’s original presentation slides are displayed. Here they are:
Hat tip to TechCrunch