OKR System Design Template

Design your individual OKR System based on your organization's needs

As with all frameworks, there is no “one way” or “right way” of using OKRs. However, there are many guidelines and good practices for shaping OKRs based on your organization’s need and desired outcome at a given point in time. 

The OKR System Design template provides a set of options and some guiding questions to get you started or continue the momentum in your organization already working with OKRs.

Start with defining your “Why”

Designing a customized OKR System requires a well-defined vision that includes company aspiration and current business and customer needs. Starting with the “why” can be a powerful first step. Ask yourself, your leadership team, and your co-workers these questions: 

  • What does the organization we want look like? What are the common themes?

  • Why do we want to work with OKRs?

  • What do we want to achieve with OKRs?

After identifying your desired benefits, the next step is to think about where the organization is at today and where it’s going according to the vision. This will make the OKR System more tangible. 

For each benefit, the following questions (e.g. on a scale from 1-10) can be asked: 

  • Where are we today? This becomes the starting point. 

  • Then, consider the desired state in 5-10 years. This becomes the long-term goal.

Next, the first improvement target can be set.
Breaking down the target further will make it more realistic. 

An example could be, “For the first test phase / the next 3 or 6 months, what do we want to achieve with OKRs?” 

Prioritize the answers according to the most pressing challenges. And also consider what is realistic given the current organizational system—including leadership, organizational structures, compensation systems, etc.

How to design your OKR System according to your desired OKR benefits

The OKR System can be thought of as the way you use OKRs in your company. It consists of three main areas: the OKR System Basics, the OKR Set Definition and the (remaining) OKR Cycle process. Instead of assuming that there is a right or wrong way to design these areas, it’s beneficial to use your desired benefits as a guide through the many options of each variable. 

The OKR System Design Template can be used to discuss options with the people responsible for the OKR System design before implementation or within each cycle to identify next improvement options.
Feel free to add other aspects or leave out topics that are not beneficial to discuss. 

Tip: This template can feel overwhelming at first for those not so deeply involved in the topic. Please note that it is designed as a working tool for OKR Experts so be mindful when communicating the options and chosen design patterns. Think in terms of a comprehensive story rather than a long list like this.

Happy exploring and designing!

A copy of the OKR System Design Template can be downloaded here

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