How to get the best results from using OKR examples
This article provides some real-world OKR examples & how to structure them to guide you towards more success with OKRs.
1 November 2022
As awareness and popularity of OKRs increases throughout the corporate world, more and more organisations are beginning to adopt OKRs as a means of achieving company goals. Despite seeing an upward trend in the use of OKRs amongst businesses, we still find that what companies and teams struggle with the most is writing their Objectives and Key Results. This is somewhat unsurprising given the wealth of misinformation circulating and poorly structured OKR examples from so-called 'practitioners'. So what we intend to do here is provide some real-world examples of OKRs that will hopefully flush out the bad habits and guide you towards more success with OKRs.
The value of OKR examples
As with any relatively new phenomenon, there will always be 'grey areas'. Messages get diluted and copycats - who've often never put anything they're writing about into practice - dangle the golden goose and lead people to bad practices. That being said, there is always value in examples of what's been done before, especially when it's led to successful user experience. OKR examples can provide something of a formulaic equation for how to compose OKRs, whether they be Company-wide, Executive or Team OKRs. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to writing and operating with OKRs, we recommend following a relatively straight-forward pattern for crafting your Objectives and the accompanying Key Results.
What do good OKR examples look like?
Before starting to conceptualise OKRs, we encourage our clients to think about the following:
- Do we have a clear direction or strategy for this team or group?
- What will drive growth, change or innovation?
- Do we know the Company objectives?
- What is the purpose of our team or group, do we have a mission?
- What do we want to achieve? What does good look like?
- Does our focus align to the Company objectives?
When writing OKRs on any scale, it's important to remember that a good Objective will be qualitative and identify desired outcomes for the organisation. Setting well defined Objectives is crucial to the OKR process, as it essentially defines the success criteria upon which the Key Results are then set. We suggest you structure your Objective like the example below:
Let's use an electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer for instance. An example of a good long-term Objective might be: Create a zero-carbon future for the less affluent, through a classified marketplace for electrically powered transportation in order to make EV transportation affordable and accessible.
Key Results are a set of metrics or measurable goals that indicate your progress towards achieving the set Objective. Your Key Results should be quantitative and time-bound as well as being clear and unambiguous. We suggest you structure your Key Results like the example below:
Using the Objective from the previous EV manufacturer as an example, here is what some good Key Results might look like to measure progression towards the outcome:
- Increase the percentage of the EV used market from 2% to 5% of total used car market
- Increase number of EV cars listed for less than £7,000 from 2% of inventory to 10%
- Average listings for price for EV Cars to reduce from £35K to £20K
- Increase average new monthly listings from 100 to 500
Other types of OKR examples
Team-based quarterly OKR examples
If the above is considered more of a Company-wide (long-term) OKR, then here's what we might expect to see in the way of a Team-based quarterly OKR: Objective: Enable the listing process to populate vehicle data automatically in order to create an effortless and accessible listing experience for our customers. Key Results:
- Reduce dropout rate of classifieds creation from 60% to 40%
- Reduce average sales lead time from 7 days to 5 days
- Increase conversion rates from sign up to listing from 10% to 20%
- Increase conversion rate of 55-65yr old from 5% to 40%
Note that the Objective doesn't dictate what you will do, but rather what you're expecting to see when finished. A good Objective will also typically only define a single describable change in state. With the next few examples, we have given an idea of the problems and challenges the various teams have been tasked with overcoming.
Online Marketing OKR examples
Problem Statement: The Digital Marketing Team have been told by their Head of Marketing that they need to improve online sales and lead generation. Objective: Improve the company website’s effectiveness as a marketing tool in order to generate more leads and online purchases. Key Results:
- Increase number of leads per quarter from 15 to 30
- Increase the number of monthly Newsletter Subscribers from 500 to 1,000
- Reduce the number of un-subscribers per month from 179 to 50
- Increase overall customer satisfaction from 78% to 95%
Sales Team OKR examples
Problem Statement: Sales Team are spending too long on administration. There’s very little automation in the sales process, which has resulted in a slow system-response time and consequently having no analytics or data. The Sales Team thus needs to fix the process to be able to re-focus their attention to value-delivery. Objective: Increase the value we can deliver to our customers by automating non-value added sales tasks, so we can focus on solving customer problems. Key Results:
- Reduce customer wait time for a quote from 2 days to 1 hour
- Reduce number of steps to authorise a sales order from 8 to 2
- Increase first-time-right orders from 80% to 95%
- Increase percentage of upsell wins at point-of-sale from 6% to 10%
Engineering Team OKR examples
Problem Statement: The team isn't able to deploy new customer changes frequently, which has meant that the lead time for making changes is too long and systems are unstable. Teams are aware of the DORA metrics from the DevOps Research & Assessment team, which identifies four key metrics to measure software delivery & performance. Objective: Improve our ability to react faster to changes in customer needs by adopting DORA metrics in order to become elite performers. Key Results:
- Increase deployment frequency from once every 3 months to every month
- Decrease lead time for change from 1 month to 1 week
- Increase mean time to recover from 2 days to half a day
- Decrease change-failure rate from 50% to 15%
Product Team OKR examples
Problem Statement: The Product Team needs to improve business value delivery for its products and improve its ability to deliver change to the customer. Objective: Validate our assumptions faster for new features and services by focusing on flow through of the product development process in order to reduce our feedback-cycle time. Key Results:
- Increase flow velocity from 6 to 12
- Reduce flow time from 30 days to 15 days
- Increase flow efficiency from 15% to 33%
- Reduce flow load from 30 to 20
Use our Canvas to put OKR examples into practice
The primary function of the 1ovmany OKR Canvas is to facilitate the creation of strategic OKRs, as well as helping to craft a vision, ambitious goals and improve overall employee engagement. This makes it the ideal tool to help take the OKR examples above and create Objectives and Key Results that will work for you and your team members in the context of your business. Our canvas denotes four stages of creating structured and well formulated OKRs, whether you're just starting out with OKRs, or have already begun working with them. Stage 1 is about developing a comprehensive understanding of what it is that we as a team are trying to achieve, so when we create an objective there is consistent alignment with our purpose. During Stage 2, we make clear what the team is collectively aspiring to achieve for the organisation during the next OKR period, and flag any challenges and/or blockers that could inhibit success. Stage 3 is about using the data and insights gathered from Stage 2, for the purpose of prioritising activities and areas of concern that will form the basis for our OKR template. Finally, in Stage 4, the team should be narrowing in on a set of OKRs that they will commit to for the coming period.
The structures for composing OKRs that we suggested earlier can provide a good basis for the conversations and thinking behind the sequential process above. This is why we don't typically endorse following anyone else's OKR examples, as OKRs should be unique to your organisation, team and business context. What we have tried to do with the OKR Canvas and the above examples of how to structure OKRs, is provide a template to help guide & facilitate the process of writing OKRs and the conversations that should be happening around them. Me and my Co-Founder - Taner Kapucu - are also Co-Authors of The OKR Method, which we recommend reading if you have any interest in using OKRs in an organisational context.
About the author
Mike is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of 1ovmany. He is also the Co-Author of The OKR Method a Strategy & OKR Expert and at times an Executive Business Transformation Coach.