OKR or Objectives and Key Results, is an agile goal setting framework that aligns individual and team goals to organisation goals.
An oversimplified view of this is depicted in the below image where Company, Team & Individual Objectives align with each other creating a sense of ‘unity of purpose’.
The concept of OKR evolved from Management By Objectives (MBO), thereby incorporating the best practices and getting rid of its previous limitations. While the intent for both is goal setting, there are various differences between OKR and MBO.
OKRs have been around since the 1970s. Andy Grove initiated this framework in Intel at a time when they were transitioning their business to microprocessors, a move that would completely transform the computer industry. It was a massive undertaking, considering it had to be uniform and accepted by thousands of employees located worldwide. The OKR system helped employees see how their individual actions had a measurable impact on the organisation. As a result, they were successful in making Intel a household name with their famous “Intel Inside” marketing campaign.
In 1999, John Doerr implemented OKR framework in Google and to this day everyone from the top management to newest employee successfully uses it. OKR has been very efficient in defining objectives and breaking them down into easily measurable key results. So much so that many Fortune 500 companies such as LinkedIn, Oracle, Twitter, Sears have followed Google and adopted OKR in their organisation.
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