What Is an OKR?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

OKRs can help teams and individual employees align behind organizational goals. Learn more about this essential goal-setting framework.

[Featured image] A project team tracks their OKRs on a whiteboard in an office.

An OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results. It's a goal-setting framework that helps organizations, teams, and individuals define and track their objectives and measure their progress towards achieving them. This involves defining clear objectives, which are inspiring and ambitious statements that describe what you want to achieve. Alongside the objectives, key results are set as measurable outcomes that indicate the success of the objective. 

Learn more about what OKRs are and how they work from a project manager at Google:

How does an OKR work?

An OKR consists of two key parts:

  1. The objective is a concise statement that describes what you want to achieve, providing a clear direction for your efforts. It should be inspiring, ambitious, and aligned with the overall goals of the organization.

  2. Key results are measurable outcomes that define the progress and success of an objective. They are specific, time-bound targets that indicate whether or not the objective has been achieved. Key results are often quantifiable and provide a way to objectively assess performance.

OKRs are typically set on a quarterly basis, although they can also be defined for shorter or longer timeframes. They are designed to be transparent, promoting alignment, focus, and accountability within an organization or team. Regular check-ins and progress tracking are important parts of the OKR process to ensure continuous improvement and adaptability.

Benefits OKRs

Having an OKR provides benefits beyond simply meeting goals. OKRs can:

  • Encourage team members to think big instead of playing it safe

  • Provide updates quarterly or more frequently

  • Ensures that all team members are clear on the organization’s priorities

  • Helps with workplace comradery

  • Gives team members a voice to comment on what's working and what isn’t

  • Allows team members to see their success and the success of others in working toward a common goal  

Related terms

Next steps

Set your next project up for success by establishing OKRs. Learn more about this and other project management techniques with the Google Project Manager: Professional Certificate on Coursera. Build in-demand skills to get job-ready in less than six months.

Keep reading

Updated on
Written by:

Editorial Team

Coursera’s editorial team is comprised of highly experienced professional editors, writers, and fact...

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.