Quantive launches Quantive StrategyAI, the world’s first strategic intelligence platformRead the blog to learn more
Quantive launches Quantive StrategyAI, the world’s first strategic intelligence platformRead the blog to learn more

The 2024 OKR Guide

Estimated read time icon
26 min read
Article hero image

Why implementing OKRs has never been easier

Today's business landscape, characterized by seismic shifts such as AI advancements, supply chain disruptions, and global market jolts demands a responsive goal-setting framework

Objectives and key results (OKRs), as a structured, flexible, and adaptable framework, has gained traction across businesses of all sizes, enabling focus and agility amid market fluctuations.

As businesses increasingly rely on OKRs to navigate these shifts, the methodology of this goal setting framework has evolved to embrace technological advancements.

Companies excelling with OKR software now witness a transformative era in its capabilities, thanks to the advent of purpose-built AI tailored for OKRs. This advancement simplifies OKR adoption and management, lowering the barriers for companies looking to implement OKRs in 2024. 

OKR software augmented with strategy-specific AI can support businesses at every step of the OKR process, with features like AI guidance, automated progress tracking, and predictive analytics streamlining OKR adoption and optimization.

This guide covers OKR fundamentals and outlines the 13 crucial steps of integrating OKRs into your business.

Who this guide is for?

We’ve crafted this guide for a diverse range of business professionals by highlighting practical insights and real-world applications. It’s particularly valuable for senior leadership roles responsible for integrating company-wide OKRs into mission and strategy, as well as strategy and planning professionals overseeing goal alignment and achievement. Moreover, it’s suited for medium to large enterprises aiming for seamless OKR implementation and startups in their growth phases seeking strategic development

By the end of this guide, you’ll not only understand the fundamentals of OKRs but also gain actionable steps to implement them successfully in your unique business context to increase performance and customer satisfaction.

As we dive into each stage of the OKR process, we’ll detail how OKR software and specialized AI functionalities can support a streamlined, effortless, and effective OKR process.

The OKR (objectives and key results) basics

When implemented correctly, OKRs establish alignment and accountability throughout your organization, helping teams see how their work contributes to your company’s objectives. Moreover, OKRs drive strategic alignment, focus, and engagement, facilitating an operating rhythm for execution. 

While you may be eager to reap these benefits and implement OKRs as soon as possible, most companies’ first mistake when setting OKRs is disregarding their ultimate business objective. 

When working with OKRs, you must keep in mind what your company ultimately wants to achieve and by when, as quarterly and annual OKRs must work toward a long-term vision. This gives your employees a clear perspective and timeline for engaging in valuable strategic execution and cultivating meaningful business impact. 

Now that we’ve emphasized the importance of aligning OKRs with the company objective, we can establish a more granular understanding of OKRs.

What are OKRs?

Created by Intel’s CEO, Andy Grove, and later popularized by John Doerr in his New York Times best-seller, Measure What Matters, OKRs are a framework for setting and managing ambitious, measurable, and time-bound goals. 

OKRs are made up of two components: objectives and key results. Objectives are what you want to achieve. Key results let you know if you're progressing toward or have accomplished your objective.


  • Qualitative
  • Aspirational 
  • Something you, your team, or your organization aim to achieve

Key results

  • Quantitative
  • Measurable 
  • Indicate if you achieved your objective

What’s the purpose of OKRs?

OKRs are a dynamic business framework for effective goal setting, progress tracking, and continuous improvement. Its structured approach ensures alignment with top-level initiatives by instilling accountability across all levels of the organization.

“Becoming proficient in OKRs requires time and effort. But the leaders and organizations who prioritize mastering OKRs experience significant improvements in all areas of strategic execution — by impressive margins.”

- Elie Casamitjana, OKRmentors

How are OKRs different from other goal-setting methodologies?

OKRs’ dynamic nature diverges from rigid goal-setting methods or conventional KPIs by prioritizing precision and tangible results in line with changing circumstances. They encourage ambitious yet measurable goals that fuel innovation, adaptability, and ongoing agility. When implemented effectively, they inspire organizations to embrace change, pursue higher standards, and outpace competition, leading to significant and lasting outcomes.

How many objectives?

As a rule of thumb, the company and each team should have a maximum of three objectives per quarterly planning period. However, don’t feel pressured to create three objectives if one suffices. 

Less is more with OKRs. Your teams will quickly learn the value of focus if OKRs are brief and precise.

How many key results? 

We recommend creating two to four key results per objective as a standard practice. This clarifies what needs to be done without overextending your OKRs. 

More than five key results are hard to maintain, but less than three won’t define success enough.

What makes a good OKR?

 A good OKR is simple, clear, and actionable. Any person in any function of your organization should be able to look at your OKR, understand what the objective is trying to achieve, and what actions are needed to drive the progress measured by key results. 

At Quantive, we use a time-tested formula for writing OKRs:

OKR formula illustration: We will (objective) as measured by (key results)

With this formula in mind, here’s a checklist to help you write top-quality objectives and key results.


  • Are there too many or too few? 
  • What impact will they have? 
  • Why should anyone care? 
  • Can they be clearer or more concise? 
  • Why is this important to us? 
  • How long will this objective last for?

Key results

  • Are there too many or too few? 
  • Are your key results task or outcome oriented? 
  • Are they ambitious enough?
  • Are the targets realistic? 
  • Who is accountable for each key result? 
  • Are they actionable?

Can OKRs be written for individuals?

At Quantive, we acknowledge the varying perspectives on individual OKRs. As the methodology matures, we've recognized the inefficiencies and potential risks associated with creating individual OKRs. 

The strength of OKRs lies in their ability to drive collective work by breaking down silos and promoting cross-functional alignment. Individual OKRs undermine the collaborative spirit embedded in the framework, resulting in a disjointed approach to goal attainment. 

Individual OKRs may also inhibit risk-taking and dilute the aspirational core of OKRs — especially if employees perceive their performance evaluation to hinge on OKR attainment. Therefore, we advocate creating team and departmental OKRs that align with broader company goals instead. These encourage progress while preserving the freedom to explore innovative pathways.

Getting started with an OKR framework

Launching the OKR process

With the preliminary OKR knowledge established, you're ready to get moving with your OKR process. So, where do you start? 

To ensure the process is seen as valuable by executives all the way down to individual contributors, you need a well-designed and intentional approach to OKRs. 

Answering the question “Why OKRs?” is where successful OKR strategies begin.

Step 1: Understand why you want to adopt OKRs

Your organization faces a unique set of strengths, challenges, and circumstances. Whether you’re a global enterprise or a small startup, OKRs can boost business growth by facilitating:

  • Focus
  • Accountability
  • Alignment
  • Transparency
  • Engagement
  • Outcome-focus
  • Stretch goals

Let’s explore how each benefit translates to better organizational results.


By helping hundreds of high-growth companies successfully implement OKRs, we’ve learned organizational focus is among the most desired benefits of OKRs. Productive, innovative teams often lack focus as today’s modern operating environment makes it easy to mistake “busy” with “effective.” The OKR framework ensures work focuses on priorities instead of unproductive or futile tasks.


The OKR methodology is a system of public ownership that encourages collaboration and assigns progress to key stakeholders. This drives accountability while ensuring everyone has a say in the outcomes. This approach builds a culture of trust and transparency, increasing the consistency of your teams’ efforts and empowering them to commit to strategic objectives. As a result, everyone can see what’s working and what isn’t, keeping strategy relevant and agile.


Alignment eliminates time, energy, and resource waste. OKRs foster alignment by removing silos and connecting employees’ efforts to company and functional objectives. As OKRs emphasize your organization’s strategic direction — showcasing top initiatives from each function — work funnels toward the same objectives, increasing the potency and potential of everyone's contributions.


OKRs promote visibility and transparency, supercharging other OKR benefits. Visibility into organizational processes improves teams’ focus and promotes accountability, making alignment and motivation a breeze. Moreover, real-time progress transparency condenses feedback loops, allowing your business to adapt to changing conditions quickly and effectively.


OKRs empower teams with the power of choice. By focusing on the “why” behind work, teams can establish "how” they accomplish their work. This democratization of decision-making motivates employees to go all-in on the OKR process. As a result, team engagement improves, with employees gaining a better understanding of how their work impacts progress at every level.


OKRs force teams to define and measure success based on desired outcomes rather than completed tasks. This enables organizations to pivot, adapt, and innovate effectively, steering efforts toward achieving tangible and meaningful results rather than ticking off boxes.

Stretch goals

OKRs encourage teams to set targets beyond standard expectations, pushing them to aim higher and achieve more than initially anticipated. While such ambitious goals may not always be fully achieved, they inspire innovation, creativity, and growth within the organization. These expand your company’s capabilities, prompting teams to explore new possibilities and solutions they wouldn’t have pursued otherwise.

As you explore the benefits of OKRs, take a moment to reflect: What specific benefits do you envision achieving with OKRs? How might OKRs be pivotal for your organization’s success? Now is the moment to contemplate and consider what you want to get out of this goal-setting method and how you can use it to shape your organization’s trajectory.

A graph explaining how to promote shared ownership of outcomes with OKRs

Step 2: Get buy-in from leadership and teams

You can spend all day planning the perfect OKR implementation, but it may be a waste of time without organizational buy-in. Simply put, you can't roll out OKRs if leaders and the wider organization don't support them.

Your leadership must justify the effort and resources to implement OKRs.

The organization can start preparing for the rollout once the leadership team is aligned around trusting and supporting the OKR pilot. This doesn’t mean going in heavy-handed to involve everyone during the initial OKR rollout. Instead, focus on choosing the right groups to contribute to the pilot’s success, adequately positioning them for an OKR pilot or staged rollout.

Step 3: Connect your OKRs to your mission

Understanding your business mission — a guiding principle for your organization's purpose — is crucial in shaping your OKRs, ensuring they’re aligned with core business pillars and contribute to the broader organizational vision. Answering the following goal-setting questions with your mission in mind is therefore pivotal in effective creation of quarterly OKRs:

  • What are you trying to achieve? 
  • Why do you want to achieve this? 
  • When do you want to achieve it? 
  • How will we validate the results?
a graphic explaining how to boost success rates with okrs

Step 4: Set up your OKR pilot group

At Quantive, we strongly recommend a gradual OKR implementation within a controlled environment. In our experience, companies that have rushed into a big launch spent 3-6 months trying to manage the process on an unnecessarily large scale. This rush could cause OKRs to fail and lose credibility before they can demonstrate value within the organization. 

Your OKR pilot serves as proof of concept across a small part of your organization. As with any program, the idea is to start small, build trust, and scale up to success.

If successful, the OKR pilot can build credibility, demonstrating the OKR framework’s effectiveness within your organization.

A pilot may not be necessary for companies with less than 100 employees — smaller companies can start by initiating OKRs across their entire organization. However, larger enterprises or those with more complex structures should use pilot OKR programs to test and prove the effectiveness of OKRs before scaling them organization-wide.

Objectives of running an OKR pilot

You can run an OKR pilot to test one of many aspects, such as:

  • Broad engagement: Do teams and individual contributors use the methodology?
  • Leadership engagement: Does leadership buy into OKRs?
  • Scale and growth: Can OKRs be used at scale, given the organization’s processes, logistics, and technologies?
  • Technology fit: Does your business’s technology enable people to focus on their objectives? Does this approach work for distributed and hybrid teams?
  • Conceptual fit: Do OKRs fit into your organization’s culture and working style?

A pilot program can highlight the potential obstacles in your change management process, allowing you to strengthen your OKR implementation strategy before scaling it.

The success of your OKR pilot depends on seven factors:

  1. Onboarding: Have we effectively prepared employees for the OKR pilot?
  2. Participation: How involved are participants with the process?
  3. Alignment: How aligned are the pilot’s OKRs with organizational goals?
  4. Transparency: To what extent has the OKR pilot improved collaboration across silos?
  5. Focus: Are participants able to prioritize what’s essential for effective OKRs?
  6. Attainment: Are OKRs helping us achieve our objectives?
  7. Culture: What changes are required to make OKRs successful?

Choosing your OKR pilot group

As we’ve established, depending on your company characteristics, OKR pilots can make or break the success and adoption of your OKR implementation. Below, we explore three approaches to selecting your pilot group: 

Scenario 1: Focus on management 

Engaging top-level management, including executives and department leaders, can streamline top-down strategies and secure immediate executive support. Apply this scenario if you seek swift alignment of highlevel goals and quick buy-in. However, note that this approach lacks insights into day-to-day operations, potentially skewing the perspective on how OKRs would unfold across the broader organization. 

Scenario 2: Focus on functions and departments 

Selecting specific functions or departments for your OKR pilot enables a targeted evaluation of OKR processes across organizational layers. You can take this approach to assess OKR applicability within specific business segments. Yet, this approach might limit cross-functional collaboration, potentially impacting the broader understanding and adoption of OKRs.

Scenario 3: Mix of the two 

Blending the previous two OKR pilot approaches allows you to test both top-level engagement and cross-functional dynamics. Implement this scenario for a balanced approach that leverages both top-level support and in-depth departmental insights. However, be prepared for the challenge of orchestrating diverse perspectives, potentially posing challenges in aligning priorities between functions.

“The pilot should be rolled out to a group that’s both high-performing, extremely forward-thinking, and open to trying new things.”

- Michael Goitein

Step 5: Appoint OKR leadership

As you wouldn’t expect long-term marketing success without a CMO or sales to excel without a CRO, OKRs need dedicated leadership to be efficient. 

Choosing an OKR sponsor, champion, and coach is essential for rolling out, scaling, and sustaining OKRs within your business. These key players undertake OKR responsibilities such as decision-making, motivating teams, and managing operations. 

OKR sponsor 

The OKR sponsor — typically the CEO or COO — helps establish the OKR framework’s credibility and authority. They’re more focused on strategy and less focused on execution, trusted with defining OKR success, creating the communication strategy, and supporting the rollout of OKRs. They help secure leadership and team buy-in while maintaining the efficacy of OKRs by integrating these into the fabric of business operations.

OKR champion 

The OKR champion focuses on evangelizing, describing (and improving on) the setting, tracking, and review process of OKRs. They cover the who, what, when, how, and why of OKRs, acting as internal OKR experts who provide ad hoc OKR knowledge to your organization. 

OKR coach 

As an intermediary between the strategy-focused sponsor and the execution-focused champion, the OKR coach role puts the OKR strategy into action. Typically, they’re external consultants or internal professionals who understand your organization, its strategy, and the OKR methodology. They support OKRs by facilitating the OKR writing, setting, and retrospective processes while overseeing training activities and monitoring program health.

Step 6: Establish an OKR rollout strategy

With leadership established, you’re ready to formalize your OKR rollout strategy. 

Operational rhythm 

Understanding your OKRs’ operational rhythm is critical to an effective rollout. The program owner should share timelines and expectations for the OKR cycle. While the first cycle is challenging, subsequent cycles make OKRs a familiar routine.

Without clear expectations or an operational “flow,” OKRs can feel forced or rushed.

Mapping out each step of the OKR process with desired outcomes in mind will give you the best shot at successful OKR implementation. But how do you communicate your OKRs and ensure visibility every step of the way?

Communication strategy

Effectively communicating your OKR rollout is essential. Whether it's at the start of the fiscal year or outside the annual planning process, what matters most is how well you prepare for it. 

While it doesn’t need to be perfect from the get-go, consider the following when creating an effective communication strategy around your OKR cycle:

  1. Kickoff activity: Announcing OKRs to your teams
  2. Months before implementation: OKR training, strategy, and cycle management
  3. Weeks before implementation: Company OKRs, developing and aligning team OKRs
  4. OKR execution: OKR deployment, adjustments, progress metrics, etc
  5. Next implementation planning: Reviewing quarterly results, recalibrating, and continuing

Answer your team’s OKR questions

With the OKR cycle and communication strategy established, the success of your OKR implementation depends on buy-in from your teams. This may require a little convincing if they have their hands full with complex daily operations.

Asking teams to take on OKRs will only succeed when there’s a clear “why.”

Most teams have the same questions regarding using OKRs. Anticipating and answering these can alleviate stress around OKR rollouts. Let’s look at how you can go about answering some common OKR questions, including:

  • What are we going to do? 
  • Why are we doing it? 
  • What’s in it for me? 
  • How do we do it? And how do we do it well?
  • How can managers help make OKRs stick?

What are we going to do? 

“We’re rolling out OKRs so we can focus on the larger impact of your work instead of isolated tasks. OKRs will also increase transparency and alignment within your team and the organization, ensuring a better understanding of overarching success.” 

As employees appreciate understanding their work’s contributions, emphasizing how OKRs unite teams for impactful work helps make efforts purpose-driven and conducive to success.

Why are we doing it? What’s in it for me?

“Setting wider team and company goals will give you more autonomy in shaping our company’s future. You’ll have the freedom and authority to choose how you’ll deliver on those goals — and we’ll celebrate wins across all teams. Learning from our collective successes and failures will also help everyone perform better.”

As Dan Pink mentions in Drive, people need three things to be motivated: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Remind teams you trust them by empowering specialized, autonomous work that fulfills motivation.

How do we do it? And how do we do it well? 

“We will have weekly check-ins to reflect on progress and confidence levels surrounding goals. Each team will be responsible for pinpointing issues and planning to overcome them. Using tracked metrics and your professional intuition, you’ll be able to assess how likely you are to achieve your goals. Transparently stating your confidence in goal attainment can help the rest of the organization stay aligned with your progress and set additional goals to support your initiatives.”

Transparency in OKR progress fosters alignment and the identification of potential support needed for successful goal attainment.

How can managers help make OKRs stick?

“Training your team on OKRs will reduce any knowledge gaps. Coaching on OKR best practices will reinforce positive behaviors. Showing progress and celebrating wins turns metric-tracking from a rote exercise into a vehicle driving positive change.” 

Managerial support through training, coaching, and acknowledgment reinforces a culture where OKRs are integral to positive change and continuous improvement.

a graphic explaining how to maintain okrs with automated updates and reminders

Step 7: Set OKR rules of engagement

While there seem to be many rules for OKRs, remember that the framework is adaptable to your organization’s needs. Using the following checklist as a base, you can give the OKR framework the best chance of success. 

Rules of engagement checklist:

  • Define your chosen OKRs planning cadence 
  • Determine how frequently OKRs should be updated 
  • Decide the maximum objectives a person or team can own 
  • Decide the maximum key results attached to a single objective 
  • Choose how often teams should meet to discuss OKR progress 
  • Nominate who sets OKRs for teams and individuals

OKR components to clarify


Emphasize your OKR cycle length. Typically, companies use quarterly OKR cycles. However, depending on individual organizational factors, they may use shorter cycles (from four to eight weeks) or longer timeframes (such as four or six months). 


Clarify the OKR check-in cadence. OKR check-ins extend beyond metrics, offering a nuanced view of key result progress. They delve into the challenges, successes, and team dynamics in pursuing OKRs, supporting teams in adapting and aligning objectives through ongoing communication and problem-solving. 

Maximum number of objectives and key results 

Communicate the ideal number of objectives and key results. As mentioned, a maximum of three objectives per quarter is ideal per team, function, and the company as a whole. Aim for two to four key results per objective to ensure clarity while avoiding unnecessary complexity in defining success.

Retrospective meeting cadence 

Establish a clear cadence for OKR retrospectives. Consistent review of OKR progress is vital for ongoing performance and accountability. These retrospectives typically involve periodic reflections on achievements, setbacks, and lessons learned, empowering teams to fine-tune strategies and improve performance for future goals.

"It’s important to get team OKRs going on a quarterly (or similarly short) cycle to build habits and practices that will stick and start to engage the rest of the organization around OKRs."

- Mark Spitzer

How can OKRs be set?

You can set OKRs in three ways:

  1. Top-down: Fosters alignment, involving quick planning
  2. Bottom-up: Drives engagement and motivation, requiring little coordination
  3. Bidirectional: Middle ground between topdown and bottom-up

OKRs should balance the need for managers to drive results and for OKR owners to take accountability. When choosing your ideal method for setting OKRs, bear in mind the core benefits of each approach.


Managers, supervisors, or executives set all objectives. This approach best suits companies that have sweeping projects or need to realign completely.


Teams set their OKRs based on what they think should be accomplished, using company and functional OKRs as guiding principles. This approach gives them more influence on which goals are undertaken, subsequently uncovering hidden gaps and encouraging projects that inspire enthusiasm. 


A collaborative process where managers and employees engage in negotiations to set objectives. Teams seeking autonomy may lean towards more self-direction, while service-oriented functions find value in a topdown approach.

a graphic explaining how to foster collaboration with okrs

Step 8: Define company OKRs

Before setting team objectives, you need to set clear company objectives. These involve both annual and quarterly objectives, with quarterly objectives ensuring annual objectives are attained.

“Organization-wide OKRs are important for setting overall business priorities, while team-level OKRs help connect day-to-day tasks to high-level strategy. Start with these two levels and progressively add more based on your company’s motivation and need for alignment, focus, and engagement.”

- Elie Casamitjana, OKRmentors

Annual objectives 

Annual company objectives are the most important and ambitious. When preparing these objectives, look at your organization’s longer-term goals using mission and vision for inspiration. 

Here's a thought exercise for creating annual objectives — if we could achieve only three strategic objectives this year, what would they be? 


Keep in mind that OKRs are all about focus.

Quarterly objectives 

With your annual objectives in place, defining quarterly objectives should be straightforward. 

For example:

Essentially, quarterly objectives break down annual objectives into smaller, focused avenues. If these objectives produce results, they’ll likely be carried over into the next quarter. If not, leadership can pivot to a new focus.

Step 9: Define function and team OKRs

All the work you’ve done setting company OKRs pays off at the function and team level. With company OKRs connected to the mission and vision, function and team OKRs align as tactical pursuits. 

Function OKRs describe what departments are trying to achieve, while team OKRs are the rallying point for individual contributors.

OKR examples

Crafting your OKRs can seem daunting initially, but exploring some OKR examples can inspire you and showcase their practical application. 

Below, you’ll find OKR examples designed for a company eager to thrive in a rapidly evolving industry by integrating change management as a core competency.

In this scenario, change management OKRs are aligned across diverse organizational tiers, spanning the company-wide perspective, functionspecific areas (such as the technology department), and team-level dynamics (like the software development team).

Company-level OKR example

a graph of company level okr examples

Function-level OKR example – Technology department

a graph of a function level okr example

Team-level OKR example – Software development team

a graph of a team level okr example

These examples showcase the interconnected nature of OKRs, illustrating how objectives at every level can interlink and contribute to the overarching company goal.

Step 10: Align and rollout OKRs

With company, function, and team OKRs set, it’s time for organizational alignment and the official rollout. As a rule of thumb, don’t expect every objective to neatly cascade from one level to the other. 

Align function and team OKRs to company OKRs 

While cascading isn't the goal, alignment is. Your company goals should represent top priorities, and each team should contribute where possible. 

Think of your objectives as a graph or web. Even if some elements are detached from the whole, they should align across peer teams and toward company goals. The alignment phase is also your last review of OKRs. This is the opportunity to stress-test each function and team’s OKRs, while ensuring the company OKRs provide a solid foundation. Ideally, each function contributes to at least one key result in a company OKR, balancing accountability for results across teams.

a graphic explaining how to streamline onboarding of OKRS

Publish OKRs

Once you’ve set your team goals, it’s time to share them publicly. Teams can then revise their goals to ensure cross-functional alignment when needed. This makes all OKRs more meaningful and cohesive, uniting teams through a common purpose. 

Leadership shouldn’t dictate every detail in the rollout. Front-line initiative indicates a healthy, empowered culture — employees with autonomy in goal setting have a stronger sense of ownership and work harder to accomplish their goals.

OKR rollout checklist:

  • 2 weeks before next quarter: Every team publishes their goals 
  • 1 week before next quarter: Teams collaborate and review each other’s OKRs to ensure alignment and adjust goals 
  • Days before next quarter: Teams publish and commit to their shared OKRs

Create action plans

Creating OKRs is different from the action plan. Planning helps anticipate obstacles and keeps the team on track. 

An action plan, enhanced with tasks, boosts productivity and focus.

Your plan for achieving your OKRs should include planned initiatives, tasks that need to be done, and benchmarks with deadlines. You should track this separately from your OKRs so the process doesn’t distract from the outcomes.

Checklist for action plans

  • Use action plans as outputs and OKRs as outcomes 
  • Identify leads and contributors responsible for KRs 
  • Establish a weekly check-in schedule to evaluate progress 
  • Link your action plan documentation to your OKRs 
  • Schedule monthly reviews and quarterly retrospectives

Step 11: Set OKR reviews and retrospectives

No one gets OKRs right the first time. Some OKRs need recalibration from one quarter to the next, while others will end, and new ones are created. This is why OKR review is so important. 

To drive performance and accountability, OKR progress should be reviewed regularly. These should not be like all-hands meetings but short, weekly meetings to discuss progress against objectives and set priorities for the next week. 

For OKR retrospectives, you must review the previous OKR cycle and make the necessary adjustments. This is a great time to look at OKR progress, determine which company OKR changes are required, and incorporate lessons learned into the upcoming planning cycle. 

The all-hands review of the past OKRs session is essential for several reasons:

  • It demonstrates how serious a company is about OKRs — if things get done and no one notices, it doesn’t matter
  • It’s a chance to give credit to people who excelled at their OKRs
  • It’s a learning opportunity for people and the company to see where things didn’t go well and how they could be improved
a graphic explaining how to unlock data from silos

Common questions to help guide the quarterly review process:

  • How was the progress in our first round of OKRs?
  • Were they well aligned? 
  • What went well? 
  • Where could we improve? 
  • Have company-level OKRs changed? 
  • Has anything changed with other teams we share dependencies with?

Step 12: Prepare for common OKR challenges and mistakes

When trying to implement OKRs correctly and effectively, you’ll face some OKR mistakes and challenges along the way. At a broad level, OKR implementations fail for many reasons. Here are four typically encountered OKR stumbling blocks: 

“Set and forget” OKRs 

This is the most common reason OKR implementations fail. OKRs aren’t a passive methodology — they require consistent time and effort. The more your teams engage with their OKRs and provide updates, the better your chances of driving results. To counter this mistake, establish a cadence of regular checkpoints to examine OKR progress. 

Overloading existing responsibilities 

When OKRs are seen as an addition to heavy workloads, teams may resist their adoption. Leadership should pre-emptively address this by asking: “What can we remove from responsibilities to enable OKR effectiveness?” Addressing this issue involves streamlining existing responsibilities to accommodate the focus and effort necessary for OKR success.

No accountability 

No accountability stems from poor engagement with OKRs, which typically occurs when teams are accountable for OKRs they’ve had no input in defining. This leads to the disconnected work silos OKRs are meant to prevent. To counter this, emphasize the outcomes you want to achieve without overspecifying the path to achieving them. A watertight plan at the start of the process will choke out creativity and innovation as new information becomes available. 

Focusing on deliverables, not outcomes 

For some teams, OKRs turn into a data-driven, output-focused task list. This won’t ensure the desired outcome from OKRs — this is simply conducting business as usual.

Step 13: Choose OKR software

Consider adopting OKR software to diminish common OKR errors and deploy a sustainable OKR approach. This solution streamlines the implementation, management, and tracking of OKRs to improve your OKR process, enhance collaboration, and nurture a culture of goal-oriented achievement.

Advantages of OKR software

Using purpose-built software to support OKR implementation creates significant advantages for your business, such as:

Greater visibility and better focus 

Team members have easy access to strategic objectives and OKRs across the business, focusing teams on what’s important to highlight, what’s working, and what’s not. This makes it simple to track progress on measurable outcomes. 

Out-of-the-box best practices 

OKR software incorporates best practices that support teams at critical junctures throughout the cycle.

Increasing transparency on progress and outcomes 

Streamlined and automated OKR updates eliminate status-check emails and reduce unnecessary transactional meetings. Slack and email notifications keep the team informed the way they want about the most critical priorities. 

Less stressed, more enjoyable work 

Platforms help teams raise concerns and catch issues before fires start, reducing employee stress and wasted efforts through better alignment and focus.

Improved team and employee engagement 

Team members and managers have a clear framework for giving and receiving feedback on OKRs, increasing engagement and ensuring consistent collaboration.

“In the beginning, start simple and integrate OKRs with your existing stack of solutions. But don’t underestimate the importance of easy reporting and tracking for teams and leaders. A streamlined solution can be a gamechanger for mid-size and large organizations.”

- Elie Casamitjana, OKRmentors

Simplify your OKR rollout with AI-driven OKR software

OKR software powered by AI can fast-track your OKR planning and execution journey — refining high level objectives, suggesting key results, and optimizing task orchestration for effective strategy execution. 

Our AI-powered OKR solution, Quantive Results, uses built-in intelligence to make smart recommendations, helping users be at their best when it comes to strategy execution through OKRs. 

How AI-assistance can take you from an OKR student to OKR master:

Account-level strategic context 

Tailored AI suggestions based on company specifics and personalized OKR approaches and policies.

Guided OKR creation

Step-by-step assistance in creating impactful OKRs, inclusive of the right teams and aligned to your mission. This simplifies the goal setting process. 

Task, description, and tag suggestions

Ensure comprehensive and effective OKRs with structured task recommendations, straightforward OKR descriptions, and strategic tag suggestions.

OKR effectiveness advisor

Personalized guidance based on best practices for improving existing OKRs, ensuring they’re concise, measurable, specific, and ambitious.

Quantive Results’ Platform Intelligence is always present but never invasive, guiding and optimizing your OKR journey by empowering you to define, execute, and optimize your OKR plan and supporting teams at each step of OKR implementation.

Quantive empowers modern organizations to turn their ambitions and strategic goals into reality through strategic agility. It's where strategy, teams, and data come together to drive effective decision-making, streamline execution, and maximize performance.   

As your company navigates today’s competitive landscape, you need an Always-On Strategy to continuously bridge the gap between current and desired business outcomes. Quantive brings together the technology, expertise, and passion to transform your strategy from a static plan to a feedback-driven engine for growth and performance management.   

Whether you’re a visionary start-up, a mid-market business looking to conquer, or a large enterprise facing disruption, Quantive keeps you ahead — every step of the way. For more information, visit www.quantive.com. 

Additional resources

Subscribe for our Newsletter