One thing we have to be clear about: If we try to focus on everything, we will focus on nothing at all.

– Andrew Grove

In our ever-changing and dynamic business world, the success of a company depends heavily on how well it defines and remains focused on its goals. Traditional approaches, well-known planning models, reach their limits because they lose sight of the essentials and get entangled in insignificant details. This is where the agile goal planning framework of Objectives and Key Results (OKR) comes  into play, which helps companies focus on the relevant goals and achieve strategic success. OKRs help companies clearly define their goals and make progress towards those goals measurable.

OKRs create clarity by defining the what (objective) and the how (key results). They promote transparency by giving employees at all levels of an organization an overview of what the company is focusing on and why.

“OKRs are a bridge between ambition and reality, between dreams and business results,” says John Doerr, well-known OKR champion and venture capital investor.

How OKR directs the focus to the essentials

Set clear and measurable goals that are relevant

OKR allows companies to formulate clear and measurable goals that are strategically important for success. Instead of dwelling on vague and general statements, goals are defined in a specific and quantifiable way. This creates clarity and allows all parties involved to move in the same direction.

Concentrating on the essentials

By applying OKR, companies can focus on the most important goals and avoid unnecessary distractions. Through focusing their energies and resources on the essential goals, companies can increase their efficiency and achieve results faster. The explicit definition of key results ensures that progress is objectively measurable and indicates clear success.

Alignment and collaboration

OKR creates a clear alignment of the entire organization towards strategic goals. By involving all team members in the planning process, a common understanding of the goals is created and collaboration is encouraged. Every person in the company knows how his/her individual goals contribute to the overall strategy of the company, which leads to higher motivation and commitment in the long run.

Flexibility and adaptability

By using OKR, companies can react flexible to changes and adjust their goals. Regular reviews and updates of the OKR ensure that the goals always remain relevant and are adapted to changing market conditions. This agility enables companies to seize new opportunities and mitigate potential risks.

What OKRs are not

It’s equally important to understand what OKRs  are not  : OKRs are not a substitute for a complete vision, mission, or strategy. They are a tool for achieving goals in dynamic environments, but they do not define the “why” behind these goals. OKRs are not checklists or task lists or even a control instrument or target agreement system.

Key results should be measurable and challenging, not just a list of tasks that need to be marked off. OKRs are team goals and not individual goals. Transparency across the entire organization serves the overarching orientation and the organization-wide, collaborative achievement of goals. The high level of transparency and communication also makes dependency within the organization visible and thus discussable and reducible. Likewise, OKRs are not a one-time thing. They are an ongoing process that requires regular review and adjustment. The value of OKRs lies in their ability to continuously align the company with its strategic goals and make progress measurable.

Why OKR is considered an agile goal planning framework

OKR is referred to as an agile goal planning framework. But why? What makes OKR agile? Here are some of the main reasons:

Short planning cycles

Traditional goal-setting methods often work with annual or semi-annual cycles. OKR, on the other hand, typically uses quarterly cycles. This allows teams to react quickly to changes and adjust their goals accordingly. This rapid adaptability is a key feature of agility.

Focus on learning and adaptation

OKR encourages you to set ambitious goals and to constantly learn and evolve as an organization. The process of regularly reviewing and adjusting goals fosters a culture of continuous improvement that is agile at its core.

Transparency and collaboration

OKRs are usually made transparent so that everyone in the company can see what the goals of the other teams or individuals are. This transparency fosters collaboration and helps break down silos. It also allows teams to react quickly to changes and realign their efforts accordingly.

Self-organization and commitment

OKR promotes both alignment with common goals and the autonomy of teams. While the objectives serve to provide a clear direction, teams have the freedom to choose their objectives and key results in a way that can most effectively contribute to the overall goals. This approach fosters ownership and agility at the team level.

In summary, OKR’s ability to enable quick adjustments, respond to change, encourage constant learning, increase transparency and collaboration while ensuring alignment and autonomy makes it an agile goal planning framework.


With OKRs, companies can set priorities and focus on the essential, relevant goals. Instead of pursuing a multitude of tasks and projects at the same time, they focus on those that have the greatest impact on achieving the company’s goals. The agile goal planning framework also enables agile planning to respond to market dynamics and make the company connectable. Although implementing them can present challenges, they can be overcome through engagement, open communication, and a culture of learning. By understanding what OKRs are and what they are not, companies can effectively use this powerful tool to achieve their goals.

Would you like to apply OKR in your company, but don’t know exactly how? Then book a free consultation with our OKR expert  here without obligation.

Alternatively, you can find out more about our services for OKR implementation here. (German)

Author: Karoline Schirmer, Agile Coach and OKR Master

Comments are closed.