Objectives and Key Results (OKR)

By John Doerr in his 2018 book “Measure What Matters”

“When people have conflicting priorities or unclear, meaningless, or arbitrarily shifting goals, they become frustrated, cynical, and unmotivated” (Doerr, 2018). For these reasons, managers and leaders should adopt processes and techniques that enforce team alignment by detangling priorities, provide clear expectations, and ensure tasks align with organizational goals. Objectives and Key Results (OKR), popularized by John Doerr in his book “Measure What Matters,” provide a simple, repeatable process scalable across every level of an organization. 

“An objective is simply what is to be achieved, no more and no less. By definition, objectives are significant, concrete, action oriented, and (ideally) inspirational… Key Results (KR) benchmark and monitor how we get to the objective. Effective KRs are specific and time-bound, aggressive yet realistic” (Doerr, 2018, p. 7).

Ideally, team portfolios should consist of a combination of 2-3 top-down directed objectives and 2-3 grassroots initiated objectives, but never more than 3-5 objectives total. Furthermore, OKRs should be reviewed quarterly for relevance and progress made. The graphic below illustrates OKRs when used across an entire organization.

Note: The OKR framework is used during the later stages of the Culture Mapping cycle at the Flight level when developing ways forward. Incorporating project management techniques, such as OKRs, is essential for making the cultural development methodologies within this white paper action focused.


  • Doerr, J. (2018). Measure What Matters, Penguin