You are currently viewing What is an OKR and how to use it?

What is an OKR and how to use it?

OKRs are a great way to keep employees encouraged to achieve the goals of the company and achieve their own personal goals. They are a great tool to measure progress, set priorities, and Focus your team’s efforts on what really matters. They can be as simple or complex as you need them to be.

OKR is the abbreviation for Objective and Key Results.

In its simplest form, Objectives are the what, and the Key Results are the how.

You should use OKRs to make sure everyone is in sync with the company’s goals, at any given time.

An objective is something you want your team or company to achieve. Or have an employee accomplish as their personal goal. It’s a big-picture statement that describes what you want to accomplish. They should be qualitative rather than quantitative and should set the stage for what you want to achieve in the next quarter or year. For example:

I want my team members to feel valued at work(O), so I will schedule one-on-one monthly meetings (KR) with each person on my team where we can talk about their professional development goals and how they can improve their performance at work.

Key results show how you’ll achieve the objective. They are a measurable benchmark to complete the Objective. These should be specific, measurable, and time-bound. For example: “Achieve an 85% NPS score for our new product offering among customers who have used it at least three times in a given month

KRs should be used to assess the progress toward an Objective. They should be specific to the objective and realistic but challenging enough to stretch your teams and motivate them toward their goals. Each Objective should have 2-5 key results. They should help you answer the question: “How will this objective get done?”

If you are aiming for 5 key results per objective, it’s important to keep in mind that this target number doesn’t have to be exact if they all fit within the context of your objective.

Another good practice is to renew OKRs every quarter to give teams a chance to refresh their priorities and stay agile as the company grows.

Typical mistakes with OKRs:

  • OKRs don’t match or follow company goals
  • Setting up a huge bulk of OKRs and overwhelm your team
  • Procrastination of updating the OKR progress

Good examples of OKRs

For teams

Objective: Launch a web page for the new service

Key results: 

  • Create a wireframe 
  • Write Headline and Body copy 
  • Create 3 related articles
  • Create pricing plan 

There is a specific objective that needs to be accomplished and the key results are quantifiable so they are easy to track. 


Objective: Send out 400 outreach emails in June

Key results:

  • Create new email address
  • Create A/B templates
  • Upload Email list

This OKR is a great opportunity to set monthly goals for teammates in your outreach team. The objective is quantifiable and time bound, and the key results are also easy to do tasks that will help you accomplish your objective. 

Bad examples of OKRs 


Objective: Retain Newsletter subscribers

Key results: 

  • Send out more newsletters
  • Design new templates
  • Assign new copywriters

This OKR is bad since there is no set way to measure the success of the objective itself. The key results are also hard to track if they are fulfilled or completed since they are not measurable. 


Objective: Become a better colleague  

Key results: 

  • Accomplish yearly goals
  • Help coworkers
  • Be proactive

This OKR is bad since there is no certain criteria that determines the success of the objective. As we mentioned before OKRs should be used to keep track of your progress and setting key results that are unmeasurable and hard to track are bad practice.

How to set OKRs in Focus?

From your dashboard, you should select the objective section on the left panel. Here you can create, manage and oversee all the objectives you have set for your team. 

Create new objective 

Once you’ve determined your objectives, you can set them. It’s important to keep in mind that an objective is qualitative in nature — it describes what you hope to achieve down the line.
You can assign the specific objective to a team and also assign an owner, a person responsible to track, and oversee the progress and success of the objective. 

Despite creating the objective at the moment, you can still choose a different status for the same. There are 3 options to choose from: on track, behind or at risk. For example, If you feel like you are already behind on completing the mentioned objective you can choose exactly that.

Also, objectives should have due dates, but remember that OKRs should be realistic but challenging. 

Next up is setting up the Key Results. 

When thinking about what your key results will be for a given objective, make sure that they are not unrealistic. For it will make it harder for teams to connect or achieve the given result. And it will end up making the whole tracking OKRs concept a demotivating process. And the most important – they need to be measurable. 

You have 3 key results types that you can choose from: Number, Binary and Milestone.

Let’s say that your Objective is to “Grow your Newsletter list” and see how you can use all of them.

  1. Number (start/current/goal)
  • Set up 3 popup forms on your website
  • Share 5 Linkedin posts inviting people to sign up to your newsletter list
  • Share 3 Tweets with QR codes to have people sign up to your newsletter list

So each of them has a goal number and you can track those as time passes  and as you complete each of them. 

  1. Binary (true/false)
  • Decrease the number of clicks on the forms on your website to 2 per sign up
  • Run A/B test on the form on the main page
  • Create a first-time offer for people who sign up

Once a key result is completed you can choose true and it will be marked as done. 

  1. Milestone
  • Redesign your newsletter template
  • Clean up your current list from soft bounce emails
  • Create new popup designs for your website so users can sign up easily

For the Key Results you can assign multiple people that need to take over and complete them. So each key result can have one or multiple people involved. And the best practice is to keep it up to 5 key results per objective.

Furthermore, you can set up parent objectives for each objective. And adjust the privacy on the objective itself. It can be visible for the whole company, a specific team or private – only for the person who created the objective itself.

Milestones and OKRs

Each company or team has significant events that they are working towards achieving and those can be simply called milestones. 

So we can say that objectives are something towards which work is directed – the what and a milestone is a meaningful point in a project or occasion for the company.

Milestones examples: 

  • Start of a new project
  • End of a project
  • New employee 
  • New department creation/division
  • Signing new client
  • Product launch

Milestones can also be used to track the progress toward your Objectives. Since they can help others understand your OKRs and can be used as checkpoints and help people understand whether an achievement has been completed or simply postponed (which could result in confusion).

Milestones can be a great way to challenge yourself and grow as a professional. They not only help you set specific goals in your work, but they also give you something to strive for that is bigger than just the day-to-day tasks of your job.

By focusing on milestones instead of tasks, you’re able to think more long-term about what you want to achieve at work and how you want to get there. This makes it easier for managers and employees alike because everyone knows where the goalposts are without having any confusion about whether or not certain tasks were completed on time or with enough quality.

It’s important that both managers and team members understand how milestones work within an organization so there is no confusion about what needs doing next – which allows teams to stay focused on achieving their goals in a timely manner without getting bogged down by unnecessary busywork.

Updating OKRs in Focus

There are two ways in which you can update an OKR. 

1 – Clicking on the left side of the set OKR will open a side panel in which you can see the timeline and the progress of the objective and each key result.  On the bottom of this side panel there is also a field in which you can leave a comment for the given update. Once you are done, click save. You can also view the action history of the objective and see which teammate did the update.

GIF showing how to access this option

2 – By clicking on the right side of the objective where the owner is you will initiate a drop down overview of the objective key results’. Here you can also update each key result for your objective but you won’t be able to see the chart or access the action history. 

GIF showing how to access this option

Editing your OKRs in Focus

The ability to edit an OKR is only available to whoever created the said OKR. You can access this in the Objectives section on the platform. Find the OKR you wish to edit and click on the Edit button. This will load a new window where you can make changes to your objective and the key results.  

Tasks and how to use them for OKRs

How to create tasks in Focus

On your left side menu you can access the Tasks in Focus. Here you can see all previously assigned tasks and manage them or create new ones. 

You click on Add Tasks and fill out the fields requested for the given task. You can choose if this task is High, Average or Normal priority. Then you can either assign the task to yourself or someone from your team. You should also add a due date for the given task so it doesn’t end up forgotten and the assignee knows so they can manage their time to get it done. Beside being able to designate this task to an objective you can also appoint it to a specific key result. 

Tasks are an easy way to get the Key results completed if they require more actions. 

For an example let’s take a look at a team OKR. 

Objective: Launch a web page for the new service

Key results: 

  • Create a wireframe 
  • Write Headline and Body copy 
  • Create 3 subject related articles
  • Create pricing plan 

In this case, let’s say that you need 2 people on your team so the articles are written. You can assign tasks to each of them to get this key result completed. For example, you can assign person A with writing the articles and assign person B with proofreading and editing them. Bear in mind that one task can only be assigned to one person so don’t create overly complicated tasks. 

Each member can access its own tasks and the tasks he/she gave to someone else and mark them as completed once they are finished. 

Percentage tracking and how it’s calculated 

The progress of each OKR is shown in percentages and each is calculated differently depending on what type of Key Result you decided to use. 


If you decide to use the number approach then each Key Result will have different values at a different time. And the overall progress will be a result of adding all current percentages and dividing them by the number of Key Results that are in the given Objective. 

Here is an example: 


If you decide to use the binary approach, each Key Result will have equal value to the overall progress and percentage of the Objective.

Meaning, if you create an OKR with 3 Key Results, if one is completed that will result with 33.3% progress in the Objective. 

Here is an example: 


In summary, Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are goals set by companies and their employees to help keep teams moving in the same direction toward prioritized objectives that support meeting big picture goals. OKRs also help keep everyone on track with what they’re supposed to be doing—even if things change throughout the year. The best part? You can use them even if you’re not working in an organization that uses them already!