Frequently Asked Questions

Can existing OKRs be changed?

Short answer: yes for individual and team goals, not so much for company goals.

Long answer: we don't recommend it for your first few OKRs as it's often how you can learn to adequately set targets. But if fundamental assumptions change - such as a change in the business, or the realization that what you're doing isn't working: absolutely!

It's obviously more problematic to change company goals because of their large impact. However, it's better to stop a goal that is going nowhere - especially early on.

Employees routinely get 100% on their goals. Am I doing it wrong?

Not necessarily. As we note, stretch goals aren't for everyone and perhaps your organization isn't ready for them. First thing to do is to objectively determine if performance is stagnating. Again your OKR tool should help here.

If you feel that goals have become an administrative task, consider making them gradually more difficult. Start at the top and work your way down. Make sure that even company-wide goals have key results.

How to make people care?

The most common reason for apathy in the face of goals is that employees don't believe this is something management truly cares about. Explain why you're working with OKRs and lead by example.

How to avoid sandbagging?

It can be done by the manager making sure the key results really equates success. Peers can also play a role when OKRs are shared within a team.

My team just finished its goals. Now what?

At the end of a goal, whether you have individual goals or not, the team should get together and rate each OKR.

It's also useful to judge if the goal was too difficult or too easy. This is part of the learning experience.

How do I evaluate our goal process?

The best way to check if your process is working is to ask employees and line managers.

  • Was the timeframe adequate?
  • Was the goal difficulty well calibrated?
  • How long did it take you to write your goals?
  • How often have you updated or interacted with your goals?

Should I hire a consultant to help us draft OKRs?

OKRs are quite simple to manage so technically there's no need to hire a consultant. Your OKR tool should help employees write their goals.

But companies also routinely get external help with strategy and to diagnose any organizational change needed.

Should I use a software to manage my OKRs?

We're a *bit* biased since that's our bread and butter. But to be honest, not everybody needs a full-fledged system. Some people are happy with an Excel spreadsheet, others keep track of OKRs in Trello.

It may be fine in the beginning but it breaks down after 10 employees (~ 30 goals per quarter to navigate, update and analyze). Even for a single team with just team goals, checking in and automatically sharing information is a valuable first step.