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How To Write Good KR?

Sure Köse Ulutaş
by Sure Köse Ulutaş

You have determined what is really important to you, what you want to have an impact on, what you want to transform, what you want to change, namely your purpose.

Well, now, what results (KRs) will lead us to these goals?

To write good KR for your purpose, you can start by not accepting every KR example you see on the Internet or in books as true.

In this post of the OKR blog series, we would like to share our experiences in writing Key Results, which we learned from our experiences in writing OKR with many different teams.


Before you start writing KRs, you can start by asking these magic questions:

  • What problems do we need to overcome to reach our goal?
  • What customer/user/employee behavior should we change to achieve our goal? What results show us that this behavior has changed?
  • In the next 90 days, what do we want to see changed? What should we do that brings us closer to achieving our goal? How can we measure this?
  • What is there that we have never tried before that will get us one step closer to our goal?
  • What do companies, organizations and teams that have achieved this goal do differently?

For example, if your goal is to “Simplify the Customer Orientation Experience”, a KR for this purpose might be related to reducing the time your customer spends during the orientation process, since what you want to impact is to improve your customers' orientation experience. Or you can set another KR, such as the time it takes for your customers to complete the installation of the product.

The KR you write should express the desired result, not the activity. At this point, starting by understanding the difference between being output oriented and being outcome oriented will be extremely helpful for you to determine the right KRs as a team.


Let's say our goal is to “Simplify the Customer Orientation Experience.”

  • Output driven example / False KR: Prepare / submit survey to understand customer orientation experience.
  • Outcome-focused example / Right Example: Reducing the average time customers spend to complete the orientation process from 30 minutes to 1 minute.

When writing KR, avoid expressions such as activity, project, milestone where the result is unclear: You should be careful not to write statements such as "complete feature X", "launch campaign", "complete project" as KR. Because bringing a feature live or launching a campaign are not results that will guarantee that you will achieve the relevant goal. This is one of the most difficult topics to avoid while writing KR. When you want to write such a KR, ask yourself the following question: “Why do we want to bring feature X live?” “What result will this feature serve us to achieve?” You can reach the right KR with these and similar “why” questions.


A few more tips:

  • Every KR must have an owner. Sometimes two people can also be identified as KR holders. At the weekly team OKR check-in meetings, this person or persons should share the risks with the team, after updating the KR and completing the KR, if any, or the activities necessary to minimize these risks, with the team during check-in.
  • A good KR should be accomplished within a certain time frame (usually a quarter for teams).
  • Right KR should introduce a challenge that will change the behavior of the team. However, focusing on impossible results can demotivate the team. Therefore, a good KR should keep the team in a learning zone halfway between the comfort zone and the danger zone.

One- or two-hour meetings with your team is often not enough to write good KRs. It is a crucial step to devote enough time to this study and to review all the data you have before meeting with your team, and to come to this study with a preliminary preparation, to write the best KRs. For instance, before determining the KRs that will lead you to a purpose for the orientation experience; Looking at current customer experience survey results, understanding why customers who gave up using the product during orientation, understanding what companies that offer this experience best do best, looking at existing KPIs such as your orientation satisfaction score will allow you to write an efficient KR with your team.

Stay tuned for our other posts where we will share our OKR experiences!

We will be posting our latest guidelines to good KR examples very soon.