Scoring OKR

Expert tips on grading your objectives and key results throughout the quarter, as well as a scoring guide and free scorecard.

What is OKR scoring?

OKRs, or objectives and key results, are a great tool to use to focus your team on specific goals. But they are only as successful as the plan you create at the start of the cycle, so it’s important to grade and assess your OKRs throughout the quarter.

The purpose of scoring OKRs is to assess the initiatives you completed and the measures you took to achieve your goals. It’s about setting up specific criteria, checkpoints, metrics, and benchmarks at the beginning of the cycle and using them to evaluate how successfully your team implemented the OKRs.

If you keep track of how well you’re performing throughout the quarter, it also gives you the chance to reassess and change direction if necessary when certain initiatives are not working. This approach helps to keep your organization agile.

Assessing OKRs throughout the quarter

In general, it’s recommended to have several checkpoints and assessments of your OKRs throughout the quarter–not just at the end of the cycle. At the beginning of each quarter, you should establish what your OKRs will be, and which metrics, benchmarks, criteria, etc. will determine the success of your key results and drive progress on the objectives. This is what you will refer to when grading your OKRs throughout the cycle.

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Throughout the quarter, you should have regular check-ins with your team to make sure that you’re on track. This means assessing your initiatives’ progress and tracking your key results. Having these regular check-ins will not only keep your OKRs at the top of everyone’s mind, but it will also indicate how much progress has been made.


Questions to ask during check-ins and monthly reviews:

To determine your confidence level and adequately assess your progress, here are some questions to guide you during an OKR check-in or monthly review:

Looking through initiatives:

  • What progress has been made?
  • What comes next?
  • Who is owning which task?
  • Are all the tasks getting done on time?

Looking at key results:

  • Has any progress been made or are there blockers?
  • Has there been any stagnation or backwards movement?
  • What needs to change?
  • Are the initiatives driving results or not?
  • Are the key results which are being achieved actually advancing the objectives?

Looking at objectives:

  • Is the objective close to being achieved? Why or why not?
  • Does the objective still make sense in terms of the company’s strategy and vision?

Predictive or confidence scoring

Based on the answers to above questions, you can determine your confidence level for each key result. The confidence level is there to indicate how well you think your key results are going.

At the start of the quarter, your confidence score should be around 50%. As you progress and start executing your initiatives, you should either be getting more confident and knowing you’re on track, or you may encounter blockers and your confidence level will sink. If your confidence level continues to sink as weeks go on, you should reassess your initiatives and potentially come up with new ones.

If you use OKR software to score and track your OKRs, programs like Collato will let you track your confidence level of key results as you add updates throughout the cycle.

The closer to the end of the cycle, the more irrelevant the confidence level becomes. You should always be increasing in confidence as the end of the quarter approaches. At the end of the quarter, you should be using the grading forecast and the OKR scoring scorecard.


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How to score OKRs

Assessing your OKRs by using a grading scale will help you evaluate what you managed to accomplish, as well as opportunities for change and development. In order to score your OKRs you will need:

  • A scale for measuring achievement
  • A key to determine what metrics represent which grade
  • An understanding of what good progress looks like

It’s important to remember when scoring OKRs that your objectives and key results are meant to be challenging and difficult to achieve. Experts say that even achieving just 70% of what you set out to do should be seen as a major accomplishment. So keep this in mind as you write your OKRs as well as when it comes time to grade them.

How to score key results

As we mentioned above, you should be doing regular check-ins and reviewing your key results to make sure that you’re on the right track. Besides assessing your confidence level, you should also be keeping track of your current score to determine what progress has been made. To do this, you will need a scorecard such as this one:

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This is the traditional way to measure your OKRs. Using a scale like the one above, give each individual key result a score from 0 to 1.0, with 0.0 meaning complete failure to make progress, and 1.0 meaning delivery or beyond.

At the start of the OKR cycle, you should determine what metrics will represent the key result’s achievement. For example, your key result might be “increase weekly organic website traffic by 200%.” You can assess the progress made here by using the score key below:

  • 0-40% increase = 0.0
  • 40-80% increase = 0.1
  • 80-120% increase = 0.5
  • 120-160% increase = 0.7
  • 200%+ increase = 1.0

At each monthly review, you can determine your current grade for this key result. By the end of the quarter, if you’ve achieved a 120% or higher, you know that you’ve made great progress.

How to score objectives

Grading your objectives is quite different to grading key results. Key results are meant to be measurable, and objectives may not be at all. That’s why Andy Grove, the founder of OKRs, uses the “yes or no” approach to scoring objectives, also called the binary scoring method. Basically, you either achieved your objectives, or you didn’t.

Let’s say your objective is “Write a best-selling novel.” This goal is specific and ambitious–but it’s impossible to measure on a scale. You can either say “Yes, I did this” or “No, I did not do this.” While this approach may seem harsh, it does help keep things clear. However, be careful not to let it demoralize your team if objectives are not achieved. Since your objectives are meant to be ambitious, it’s important to consider your scoring overall–for your objectives and your key results combined–to assess true performance.

Tips for scoring OKRs

Your objectives and key results will be individual to your team and your company, so the way you grade them should be, too. But with these tips, you can make grading your OKRs as simple as possible:

  • Determine the criteria and metrics for a key result’s score as you create them, keeping in mind the increments you will use to grade them later on.
  • Only key results should recieve a grade–not objectives. Objectives should use the binary scoring method, i.e., yes or no.
  • Keep in mind that scoring a 0.7 or 70% should still be considered a major accomplishment. Consider this while you’re creating your key results, too.
  • Make your OKR scores visible to the whole team and company. This will keep team members motivated and encourage transparency.
  • Use your OKR scores to guage your upcoming OKR cycle–what can you take away from your grades? You should see obvious places for improvement and which initiatives work well.
  • Do not tie performance assessments with OKR grades. This is proven to be ineffective and demotivating.
  • Use an OKR software such as Collato to track and grade your OKRs to keep scores visible and make progress tracking easy.
OKR scoring simplified

Engaging goal updates

Get a better sense of how your goals are progressing. Collato lets you create progress updates that help you and your team stay on track and motivated. Give updates with text, file sharing, screen recordings, and more.

Predictive and confidence scoring

Collato lets you update your confidence level each time you update your progress on key results. This makes it easy to see how your initiatives are going and when it’s time to reassess.

Aggregated goal setting

Collato calculates the cumulative progress of connected sub-goals’ progress toward their respective main goals. This way you can quickly visualize everyone’s contribution and progress.


Threshold target metrics

Is your goal to stay above or below a certain number? Collato lets you track threshold targets so you can quickly see whether or not you’re on track. The threshold will always be shown as a horizontal trend-line, so it’s easier for you to visualize progress.

Get your goals on track

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Learn more about scoring OKR

FAQ

How strictly should OKR be graded?
Objectives and key results are supposed to be difficult to achieve. That means when it comes time to score them, achieving 60-70% (or a 0.6-0.7) should be considered a great accomplishment. If you score low on your OKRs, take it as a learning opportunity, and reassess your initiatives for the next cycle.
How do you measure OKRs?
To determine your OKR score, you need to grading methods. For the first, you measure your key results based on a scale from 0.0-1.0. A 1.0 means you achieved 100% of your set key result or more, and a 0.0 means you achieved none of it. Calculate your target accordingly. The second method is the binary scoring method, which is used to grade objectives. This is simply answering if the objective was achieved by either “yes” or “no.”
Which tool should be used to track OKR?
An OKR software like Collato will make tracking and scoring your OKRs much simpler. With Collato, you can determine the value of your key results, assess your confidence level with each progress update, and what your score move from 0-100%. Collato also keeps your OKR score visible to the entire team, to encourage transparency, motivation, and employee buy-in.