How to Make OKRs Measurable That Drive Accountability & Progress

okr measurable

Many businesses struggle with defining and tracking measurable OKRs. This can lead to a disconnect between employee efforts and overall business goals.

Metrics might seem clear on paper, but if they don’t resonate with your team, achieving success becomes an uphill battle.

There’s a better way! By involving your team in crafting measurable OKRs, you can bridge the gap between individual contributions and overall business goals.

We’ll delve into proven strategies for writing impactful and measurable goals with the benefits you can expect. We’ll also share best practices and real-world examples to guide you on your measurable OKR journey.

okr measurable

What are Measurable OKRs?

Measurable OKRs are clearly defined, team-aligning, and quantifiable goals that can be easily tracked and assessed for progress.

OKRs include numerical targets that indicate whether the desired outcomes have been achieved. By being measurable, they provide clarity and accountability, enabling teams to gauge their performance accurately and make informed decisions to drive success.

Setting measurable OKRs requires a specific approach. First, define your objective – the ambitious target you want to reach.

Then, establish key results – the quantifiable metrics demonstrating progress toward your objective. Here’s the key: each key result should be measurable with a target value or percentage.

Don’t settle for vague statements; aim for numbers that tell a definitive story. Whether increasing website traffic by 20% or reducing customer churn to below 5%.

What are the key characteristics of measurable and good OKRs?

Strong OKRs function as a bridge between inspiring ambitions and measurable progress. Here’s a breakdown of the key characteristics for both OKRs to remember:

Objectives must

1. Aim high with significance

Your objectives should be audacious and stretch your team. They shouldn’t be business-as-usual goals but something that will create a real impact on the company. 

Think about what would be a game-changer for your team or department in the coming OKR cycle.

2. Concrete clarity

While ambitious, objectives must also be clear and well-defined. Avoid vague statements.

What exactly do you want to achieve? For example, instead of “Improve customer experience,” a better objective would be “Become the industry leader in customer satisfaction as measured by NPS.”

3. Action spurs progress

Great objectives are action-oriented. They should inspire your team and clarify what actions need to be taken.

Instead of “Enhance brand awareness,” a more action-oriented objective might be “Launch a social media campaign that increases brand mentions by 30% within the quarter.”

4. Spark inspiration

Don’t underestimate the power of inspiration! Objectives should be exciting and motivate your team to go the extra mile.

Think about how achieving this objective will benefit the company and the individuals involved.

Key results must be

1. Precise

Each KR should be crystal clear, leaving no room for misinterpretation. What exactly are you trying to achieve? 

For instance, instead of “Improve brand awareness,” a more specific KR would be “Increase brand mentions on social media by 20% within the quarter.”

2. Time-bound

Every KR needs a defined timeframe. When do you expect to achieve this result?

This injects a sense of urgency and helps track progress. Building on the previous example, you could add “measured by a social listening tool.”

3. Aggressive yet realistic

Don’t be afraid to set ambitious KRs. A little healthy stretch can be motivating.

However, complete outlandishness can be discouraging. The key is to find that zone where the KR feels challenging yet achievable. 

4. Measurable and verifiable

Ensure each KR has a clear metric attached. This allows you to track progress and verify achievement definitively.

Numbers, percentages, or concrete targets are your friends here.

Why are measurable OKRs important?

Measurable OKRs are a must for several reasons. Let’s explore how each factor you mentioned contributes to success:

1. Laser focus for your business

Clear metrics in your OKRs help everyone prioritize what truly matters. Imagine everyone in the company rowing in the same direction towards those measurable goals.

This eliminates confusion and wasted effort on less impactful activities.

2. Seeing is believing (and Adjusting)

Measurable OKRs allow you to track progress throughout the cycle. Are you on target?

Do you need to adjust the course? Without clear metrics, it’s like driving blindfolded – you might be making some headway, but it’s hard to know for sure, and you risk missing opportunities to optimize your approach.

3. Pulling in the same direction

When everyone’s working towards measurable goals, it puts up a powerful sense of alignment across teams. Each department can see how their efforts contribute to the bigger picture defined by those OKRs.

This breaks down silos and creates a more collaborative environment.

4. Reaching for the stars (and Measuring How High You Get)

Measurable OKRs allow you to set ambitious yet achievable goals. Numbers provide a clear target to strive for, motivating teams to push their limits.

And because you’re tracking progress, you can celebrate milestones and course-correct if needed, keeping that ambitious spirit alive throughout the journey.

What would it mean to you to make an OKR measurable?

Making an OKR measurable is all about ensuring you have clear and quantifiable indicators of progress toward achieving your objectives. Essentially, it means having specific metrics or key results that we can track over time to see how well you’re doing. 

By making an OKR measurable, we can effectively gauge our performance, identify areas for improvement, and celebrate milestones along the way. It’s about bringing clarity and focus to your goals so you know exactly what success looks like and how close you are to reaching it. 

This approach not only enhances accountability but also enables us to make data-driven decisions and course corrections as needed, ultimately driving us toward success.

Why do many people think that so many OKRs are not measurable?

That’s a common concern, and there are a few reasons why many OKRs are unmeasurable. Let’s explore some of the culprits:

One common issue is setting vague or ambiguous objectives that lack clear metrics for success. Without specific targets to measure progress, it becomes challenging to track how well you’re actually doing. 

Another factor could be a lack of OKR alignment. If the key results chosen aren’t directly tied to the objective, it becomes harder to measure progress accurately. 

Additionally, sometimes there’s a disconnect between setting ambitious goals and ensuring they’re realistically achievable, which can lead to impractical or unmeasurable OKRs. By addressing these factors and ensuring clear, aligned, and realistic goals, you can improve the measurability of your OKRs and drive better results.

How should you make OKRs Measurable?

Ensuring measurability is key to tracking progress and achieving success. Here’s a breakdown of how to make your OKRs measurable at each stage.

Step 1: Consider company goals as the measuring stick

Begin by gaining a thorough understanding of your company’s objectives. Bring together important individuals from various departments to collaborate and determine the most important priorities for the upcoming period. 

Streamline these priorities into well-defined, ambitious company goals that outline what you aim to accomplish (for example, becoming the industry leader in customer satisfaction). Afterward, develop measurable KRs for each goal. 

These KRs serve as quantifiable indicators of progress. Concentrate on numerical values and percentages that can be easily monitored. 

Clearly establish the criteria for success for each KR – how much, how many, and by when? Ensure you have the necessary systems to monitor and track progress.

Step 2: Equipt the right tools for measurable tracking

Focusing on measurable OKRs is a wise decision! While the right tools cannot create perfect goals, they can greatly enhance tracking and accountability. Start by identifying your needs: the complexity of goals, team size, and data availability. 

For simple OKRs and small teams, free options like Google Sheets may work well. If you have complex goals or larger teams, consider exploring different OKR software.

These tools offer cascading, visual progress tracking, and automated OKR reporting features. If data is crucial, look for tools that integrate with your existing CRM or marketing platforms. 

Tools are helpful, but the core lies in well-defined SMART objectives and key results. This combined approach will set your team up for success with measurable OKRs.

Step 3: Keep the team’s input a priority

Get everyone on board! Host a brainstorming session where your team actively contributes ideas KRs that connect to your company goals. This penetrates a sense of shared responsibility and ensures diverse perspectives are considered.

Next, challenge them to get specific. Guide them in identifying relevant metrics for each KR, using existing data, or suggesting new ways to track progress. The key is clear measurement – by what percentage, when, and how will success be evident?

Once finalized, ensure everyone understands how their individual work contributes to these measurable KRs. Transparency is key to building team alignment and accountability. 

Finally, schedule regular check-ins to discuss progress, celebrate wins, and keep everyone motivated throughout the OKR cycle. By involving your team in crafting measurable OKRs, you’ll leverage their expertise, foster ownership, and achieve greater buy-in for your company goals.

Step 4: Create objective statements with measurable outcomes

First, ditch descriptions of tasks and processes. Instead, focus on the desired outcome or impact you want to achieve. For example, aim for “increased customer satisfaction with response time” instead of “improved response time.”

Secondly, use an active voice to state your intention clearly. Vague phrases like “become the leader” lack direction. Opt for something stronger, like “establish ourselves as the top provider” or “significantly increase brand awareness among [target audience].”

Remember, ambition is great, but so is specificity. Don’t just say, “grow our business.” Define what “growth” means for you – a revenue increase by a specific percentage, expanding into new markets, or something else entirely.

Finally, consider including a timeframe for even greater clarity. This can be as simple as “double our market share within the next fiscal year.”

Step 5: Let numbers narrate your story (Key Results)

These numbers tell you if you’re hitting your target. Each KR should be like a mini-goal directly linked to your objective. 

For example, if you want happier customers with faster deliveries, a strong KR could be “Increase on-time delivery rate to 95% by quarter four.” Get specific! Instead of generic “website traffic,” tailor your KRs to your goals. 

Track sales conversion rates, social media growth, or bug reduction in product development. For laser focus, make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound). 

Numbers are king, but consider a qualitative KR, like employee satisfaction surveys. Finally, remember – OKRs are a journey, not a destination. 

Refine your KRs as needed, track progress, and adjust strategies based on the data. These powerful KRs give you a clear roadmap to achieving those ambitious objectives.

Step 6: Track your progress consistently 

The key to turning OKRs into reality lies in consistent tracking. Don’t wait until the end of the cycle for a big reveal but schedule regular check-ins with your team, perhaps bi-weekly or monthly, depending on your timeframe. 

These don’t need to be lengthy sessions. Leverage your tracking tools – spreadsheets or OKR management software to visualize progress on key results quickly. 

Are those numbers trending upward? Are you on track to achieve your ambitious goals? If not, use this data to have a focused discussion with your team. Identify roadblocks, brainstorm solutions, and adapt your approach as needed. 

Remember, OKRs are a continuous improvement framework. Consistent tracking ensures they remain dynamic and drive real results.

Do you seek external help in implementing OKRs? JOP’s OKR Consultants can help you create measurable OKRs and accelerate the whole process for the first time.

What are the common OKR mistakes you should avoid?

Like any powerful tool, there are a few common pitfalls to avoid using OKRs. Let’s get started with some key things to keep in mind to ensure your journey delivers the results you’re looking for:

1. Don’t overthink It

First, OKRs shouldn’t be an essay competition. Keep them clear, concise, and ambitious. Think of them as your north star, guiding your team in the right direction.

2. Don’t be hard on yourself

OKRs are meant to be a stretch, but they shouldn’t be discouraging. If you find yourself hitting all your targets every time, it might be a sign they weren’t ambitious enough.

Aim high, but be okay with learning and adapting along the way.

3.  Don’t use OKRs for compensation

OKRs Zeasure progress towards strategic goals, not individual performance. Tying them directly to compensation can create a stressful environment that discourages collaboration.

4. Don’t confuse results with initiatives

This is a common one. Key Results (KRs) should be measurable outcomes, not just to-do lists. Don’t confuse activities with the results those activities are meant to achieve.

5. Don’t write low-value committed OKRs

Ask yourself, ‘If we achieve this, will it make a real difference to the business?’ Don’t waste time on vanity metrics that don’t translate to concrete value.

6. Don’t forget to track progress

Regularly track your progress, analyze what’s working, and adjust the course if needed. Setting aside time for check-ins keeps everyone accountable and motivated.

Can you provide tips for successfully using Measurable OKRs?

Let’s talk about making your OKRs truly measurable and successful. Here are some key things to consider:

1. Brainstorming is your friend: Don’t go it alone! Collaborative brainstorming sessions with your team can spark great ideas and ensure everyone feels invested in the goals.

2. Time is of the essence: Consider the timeframe when setting OKRs. Are they quarterly, annual, or something else? Realistic yet ambitious goals within that time frame are key.

3. Empower your team: Don’t micromanage. Give your employees some independence in achieving the OKRs. This fosters ownership and creativity.

4. Prioritize ruthlessly: There will always be more to do than time allows. Prioritize your OKRs to ensure you’re focusing on the most impactful goals.

5. DRIs are key: Assign a Directly Responsible Individual (DRI) for each key result. This ensures clear accountability and ownership within the team.

6. Reflection, not punishment: Scoring key results shouldn’t be a blame game. Encourage honest reflection on what worked and what didn’t so you can learn and improve next time.

7. Patience is a virtue: Remember, OKRs are a journey, not a destination. It might take some time to find your rhythm, so be patient and celebrate the progress along the way.

8. Celebrate the wins: Recognition goes a long way! Don’t forget to acknowledge and celebrate individual and team achievements related to your OKRs. This keeps motivation high.

What is committed vs. aspirational key results in OKRs?

Think of OKRs as having two types of goals on your team’s plate: Committed and Aspirational.

Committed key results are the bread and butter. They’re ambitious but achievable goals that your team absolutely should hit within the OKR cycle (usually a quarter). 

These are the ones you roll up your sleeves for and ensure get done.

Aspirational key results, on the other hand, are the moonshots. They push your team way outside their comfort zone and might even seem impossible initially. 

These are the big, hairy, audacious goals (BHAGs) that inspire innovation and can lead to remarkable achievements, even if you don’t quite reach 100%.

Here’s an analogy: Imagine you’re training for a marathon. Your committed goal might be to finish the race in a certain time, while your aspirational goal could be to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Both push you, but the committed goal is the one you hold yourself accountable to within your training period.

The key is to find a good balance. Too many committed goals can lead to stagnation, while too many aspirational ones can be demotivating. A healthy mix keeps your team focused on progress while reaching for the stars.


Remember, getting your team involved is the key to creating meaningful and measurable OKRs. Their input is essential for crafting goals that are clear, ambitious, and achievable.

By working together, you can ensure everyone is rowing in the same direction and that your hard work translates into real results.

Regularly track progress and always be there to support your team members.

If you are new to the OKR methodology and want to accelerate its implementation, you can seek the help of our OKR Consultants. They specialize in collaborating with organizations and offering personalized execution plans.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Should an OKR be measurable?

Absolutely. Without clear metrics, it’s difficult to track progress, assess success, and ultimately achieve your goals. Think of OKRs as a roadmap – measurability provides the milestones that tell you how far you’ve traveled and helps you stay on course.

2. What is an OKR measurement?

OKR measurement defines how you’ll quantify progress toward your objective. It’s your yardstick to determine if you’re hitting the mark with key results. This could be a number (e.g., increase website traffic by 20%), a percentage (e.g., improve customer satisfaction by 10%), or another quantifiable metric relevant to your objective.

3. How measurable should OKRs be?

OKRs should be measurable enough to provide a clear picture of progress but not so rigid that they stifle creativity or adaptation. Aim for specificity that allows for unambiguous assessment. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself: “At the end of the cycle, will it be obvious whether we achieved this or not?” If the answer is unclear, your OKRs might need some refinement in measurability.

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Gaurav Sabharwal


Gaurav is the CEO of JOP (Joy of Performing), an OKR and high-performance enabling platform. With almost two decades of experience in building businesses, he knows what it takes to enable high performance within a team and engage them in the business. He supports organizations globally by becoming their growth partner and helping them build high-performing teams by tackling issues like lack of focus, unclear goals, unaligned teams, lack of funding, no continuous improvement framework, etc. He is a Certified OKR Coach and loves to share helpful resources and address common organizational challenges to help drive team performance. Read More

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