With the popularity of the OKR methodology increasing, many organizations are looking to this goal-setting framework to help them achieve alignment and focus. While OKRs provide great structure to help teams navigate the goal-setting process, they can be tricky if you’re adopting them for the first time.
If you’re preparing for an OKR planning cycle or need some guidance on setting OKRs for your team, we’ve put together a free OKR template to help make this process easier. This Google Sheet provides an easy-to-clone template to help you write your OKRs, and offers hundreds of OKR examples for different teams and departments.
How The OKR Template Works
Ready to start writing your organization’s OKRs? To use this template, let’s start by walking through each of the template fields:
- Objective: This is what you're trying to accomplish, and should be qualitative and inspiring. A great way to frame this is to state what “we will…” do.
- Key Results: These will measure whether you've accomplished your objective and should be measurable, verifiable, and identify a number to measure. A great way to frame this is to state “as measured by…” what you’re hoping to achieve.
- Due Date: This will hold you accountable to a deadline you’re working towards.
- Lead: This individual is responsible for facilitating the execution of the goal and should be the person doing the most work on the Key Result.
- Contributors: These are individuals who are directly working on this goal and people you'd like to reflect on that KR regularly.
- Starting Metric: All key results should have a metric in order to measure your progress. This will be your starting point when the goals are set.
- Target Metric: this is the goal metric you hope to achieve by the due date.
- Notes: This is where you can provide additional details or links to external documents. It may also be helpful to think about other teams that may need to be linked to this OKR.
Tips For Filling Out Your OKR Template
The most important thing to remember is that OKRs cannot be filled out by one person – they rely on collaboration, dialogue, and revision. Here are some pro tips to help encourage a collaborative OKR creation experience and ultimately a successful OKR process:
- Ask your team (and peers and boss): "What are the three most important things for us to accomplish in the next three months? Why is this important?"
- Foster transparency by welcoming the entire team to the goal-setting discussion. Creating a culture where risk-taking is encouraged, it will allow your team to come up with bold ideas to drive innovation and growth.
- Consider starting with the broad organizational objectives when devising your team’s objectives, and think about ways that your goals will contribute to the top-level goals.
- Differentiate between aspirational and commit goals, and identify how to balance the two to keep your teams motivated.
- Put draft objectives in front of your team and ask them to write a better version.
- Brainstorm key results with the team and let your team members identify which key results they want to lead.
- Once goals are finalized, keep the OKR document in a public space so that everyone can revisit. This will also prove to be helpful when setting new goals for the next OKR cycle.
If you need some guidance while drafting OKRs, consider downloading this team workshop guide, intended to provide you and your team with writing OKR best practices and step-by-step direction on how to develop impactful OKRs.
The OKRs Are Complete! Now The Work Begins...
Congratulations! You’ve drafted your OKRs which is a huge step, but there’s still a long way to go to achieve your goals. Figuring out the best way to track your goals can seem like an OKR in itself. Many organizations use Google Docs or Google Sheets to track goals, which can be a great tool for getting started. But when it comes to getting people engaged in your goals - which is a paramount component to executing OKRs successfully - that’s where OKRs can get lost in the spreadsheet shuffle.
Managing OKRs through a dedicated software platform improves collaboration across the board. Tools like Koan provide an intuitive UI for managing goals, visualizing goal hierarchy, collecting insights from dedicated dashboards, and ultimately encouraging transparency and engagement.
Once goals are established in a centralized, collaborative place, here are some tips for helping a team stay on track, enthusiastic, and successful in the process of achieving the Key Results.
- Get everyone excited about the goals and how it benefits them. You want to make sure that everyone is 100% onboard, clear leads and contributors are assigned to each KR and proper expectations are in place so that everyone is set up for success.
- Break Key Results into actionable tasks and develop action plans that provide details around how the team will achieve these KRs.
- Throughout the quarter, employees measure and share their progress, checking in regularly with their own and adjacent teams. Check-in regularly to measure progress, identify if there are any areas that need help, or if the goal needs to be reevaluated.
Deploying and managing the OKR process can be challenging, especially if you’re using shared documents and an ad-hoc process that doesn’t reinforce positive habits. The real work in the OKR journey lies in organization and communication. The more streamlined those elements are, the easier time your team will have on the path to meeting their ambitious goals.
Explore how to make the entire OKR process easier and more productive for your team. Get started for free today.