Strategic Planning & OKRs

Transform decision-making by connecting investments, products, portfolios, and daily work to strategy and implementing collaborative goal-setting methods.

Objectives & Key Results (OKRs)

Objectives & Key Results (OKRs) are powerful tools when defining and successfully executing strategy. They provide a framework for leaders to communicate strategy in an actionable, transparent way that allows portfolios, initiatives, and programs to prioritize and align investments, resources, and work to deliver results that support strategic objectives.

OKRs reflect a collaborative goal-setting method that can be adopted at different levels in the organization. The Objective is the “what” that is being achieved, and the Key Results represent the “how” — the steps or outcomes necessary for the Objective to be achieved. OKRs help organizations zero in on what is important to them.

Benefits of Adopting Strategic Planning & OKRs

OKRs can help enable business agility throughout your enterprise. OKRs help organizations zero in on what is important to them through what John Doerr, acclaimed venture capitalist and author of Measure What Matters, calls four “superpowers”:

  • Focus – Objectives tell everyone in the organization what needs to be accomplished.
  • Align – Key Results link daily work to the company’s highest priorities.
  • Track – OKRs are visible across the organization and easy to monitor.
  • Stretch – Objectives help organizations reach higher achievements.

Creating OKRs

You can use the following sentence to help create a meaningful OKR:  We strive to <Objective> as measured by <the set of Key Results>.

Objectives are memorable, qualitative descriptions of what you want to achieve. They should be short, inspirational, and engaging. An Objective should motivate and challenge.

Key Results are sets of metrics that measure your progress toward an Objective. For each Objective, aim to have a set of two to five Key Results. Having a set of Key Results, including countermeasures to drive the right behavior, helps create a clear and sustainable OKR.

Guidelines for Writing OKRs

Set inspirational objectives.

Limit objectives to 3-5 per quarter.

Be aggressive and courageous. Don’t be afraid to fail.

Define clear, concise key results for each objective.

Make KRs time-bound and measurable (using numbers works best).

Pair quantity and quality in KRs where possible.

Don’t dictate KRs. Let your team decide how to do the work.

Gather input from the bottom up.

Don’t worry about perfection. OKRs can always be revised or discarded if business needs dictate it.

Make sure everyone, from top executives on down, own individual objectives tied to your organizational OKRs.

Tips for Adopting OKRs

  • Understand how Objectives and Key Results work together. Objectives are what you want to achieve (qualitative), while Key Results are how you will achieve the Objective (quantitative).
  • Be careful not to designate too many OKRs, as more than two to five across a given team or area can detract from priorities.
  • Actively monitor the progress of Key Results and reassign budgets, resources, and work for efficiency.
  • Capture OKRs then broadly and loudly evangelize the successful use of OKRs to execute strategy.
  • Allow transparency into OKRs across the whole organization to ensure alignment across the business.
  • Conduct regular reviews and check-ins of OKRs to advance accountability, transparency, and progress.

OKRs Throughout an Organization

  • OKRs can be leveraged at different levels of the organization: at the executive level, by product teams, and even by individual teams dedicated to functions (ex PMO, architecture) or technology domains (ex. network, digital security).
  • Establish interest groups or evangelize documents to allow teams to share guidance, lessons learned, and collaboratively develop best practices.
  • Anticipate and encourage a degree of flexibility in how teams adopt OKRs to fit their specific needs.
  • Ensure all teams’ OKRs are defined to function in tandem with each other, working toward the same Objectives .

Learn more about crafting Objectives and Key Results that will empower your people and increase organizational agility

Implement Strategic Planning & OKRs with Apptio Targetprocess

Targetprocess helps your organization define and manage OKRs at several organizational levels. It provides a single, visual source of truth to easily track the investments, products, portfolios, and work aligned with specific Objectives and Key Results. This alignment enables organizations to monitor progress in real-time, accelerating and transforming decision-making. Organizations can make adjustments as needed, such as re-assigning resources to other work, or re-balancing budgets, in order to achieve their objectives.

Develop OKRs

  • Establish, track, and manage progress toward strategic Objectives.
  • Link work items to a particular strategic Objective, fostering alignment between OKRs and daily work.
  • Targetprocess provides a single source of truth to view all initiatives, Key Results, and the progress for each Objective.

Align initiatives, portfolios, and daily work to strategy

  • Apptio Targetprocess accelerates confident decision-making through alignment of initiatives, portfolios, and daily work with specific strategies across the enterprise.
  • Increase transparency with enterprise alignment by connecting all levels to strategy.
  • Align investments with goals to confidently make future investment decisions

Accelerate enterprise transparency

  • Establish, track, and manage dependencies, milestones, and overall timelines towards strategic Objectives.
  • Promote enterprise alignment through connecting all levels of the business to Objectives and Key Results.
  • Connect value streams to solutions, initiatives, and Agile release trains to track resource capacity and appropriate funding.

Apptio Targetprocess is a leading solution for strategic portfolio management (SPM) and enterprise agile planning (EAP) that allows business and technology planners at all levels to dynamically manage work, budgets, resources, agile programs, and portfolios while ensuring all are continuously aligned to the enterprise strategy. The combination of flexible data model, Solutions Library, and partner community make it the most agile SPM platform in the market. Targetprocess is the only SPM platform that integrates directly with the industry-leading ApptioOne financial management platform, enabling organizations to model true product TCO and more holistically manage the value of technology investments and innovation.