Engineering OKRs: 20 Examples to Get it Right

Did you know that setting goals can increase a company's productivity by 25%? An industry-leading CEO recently stated that the success of OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) depends on the effort of the goal-setter and the time invested into creating them. 

This is especially true when setting and managing engineering OKRs – to keep all the teams on the same page and give everyone a clear view of the bigger picture. 

Setting objectives and key results (OKRs) for engineering teams can be a challenge. They must be aligned with the company's objective yet be specific enough that members of the team know what is expected of them.

This blog post provides examples of engineering OKRs and explains how they should be tailored to fit your organization’s needs. We hope this will help you create effective OKRs for your engineering team and boost their productivity.

OKRs and Engineering: What to Know

If you work in engineering, chances are you've heard of OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). OKRs are a popular goal-setting system that helps organizations keep track of the progress and ensure that everyone is working towards the same objectives.

But what do OKRs have to do with engineering? Let's take a closer look.

It's important to understand that OKRs are not just for businesses; they can also be used in other settings, like educational institutions and nonprofits. 

OKRs have been used in engineering for many years. The key difference is that businesses typically focus on financial goals, while engineers focus on technical ones. For example, an engineering team might set an objective to improve the performance of a software product.

There are a few things to keep in mind when setting OKRs for an engineering team:

  1. Make sure the objectives are inspirational and set the team’s focus for a designated quarter.
  2. Choose objectives that are challenging but achievable; remember that it's okay to miss the occasional goal. Read about aspirational vs. committed goals 
  3. Involve everyone on the team in the goal-setting process 

If you need guidance to create OKRs for your engineering team, check out this ultimate guide. Using the examples in the guide you get started on setting impactful goals and learn how to manage an engineering team effectively.

Weekdone OKR guidebook

Why Engineering OKRs are Important

The engineering team at any company should have a shared understanding of how they are going to measure their success. The metrics you choose should be relevant to the business and also easy to understand.

OKRs can help teams to get clear on what they want to achieve in the short, medium, and long term. They also help teams to align their goals with their company’s strategy and make sure that they are working towards achieving the same goal.

outputs vs outcomes

OKRs are a tool for setting up a common goal for an engineering team. They ensure that everyone on the team is aligned with the company’s goals.

Top Benefits of Setting Engineering OKRs

One of the main key benefits of setting OKRs is that they can help you stay focused on what is important. Not only that, but OKRs keep your team on track to achieving their goals and provide a clear vision of the overall impact on the organization. 

Moreover, with strategic team planning you can prioritize tasks and promote consistency, transparency, and accountability. Some of the top benefits of setting engineering OKRs include: 

  • Improved collaboration between teams
  • Increased efficiency
  • More effective problem-solving
  • Better decision-making
  • Increased productivity
  • Clear goals and targets
  • Accountability

Successfully Set Engineering OKRs: What to Consider

If you're looking for a way to help your engineering team focus and achieve their goals, OKRs are a popular tool businesses use to create clarity and alignment around priorities. They can be adapted to any organization size or type and can be used to measure progress towards specific goals.

When setting OKRs, it's important to keep them realistic, achievable, and aligned with the company's overall strategy. Doing so will help ensure that your team stays focused and on track. 

Regular check-ins and adjustments will also help ensure that your OKRs remain relevant and effective. You should keep in mind the skill sets and capabilities of individuals in your team. Focusing on how to leverage individual strengths will go a long way in achieving success. 

A common question people ask when setting OKRs for the first time in their organization is – how many OKRs do we set

Take a look at some of the aspects to consider when creating OKRs
  1. When setting Key Results consider using the SMART goal formula while brainstorming: 
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Find out about  SMART goals so that your team is focused and you understand how to set goals that specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

free goal setting software
  1. Ensure that your objectives are aligned with your company's strategy. In many cases, teams set goals that may be important in themselves but don't contribute to the bigger picture. By aligning your objectives with the company strategy, you can help ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal.
  2. Ensure that you have buy-in from all levels of the organization. From the CEO to individual contributors, everyone needs to be on board with the objectives and committed to achieving them. Without buy-in, it will be very difficult to achieve success.

When setting OKRs, the best practice is to set one objective and three key results within that objective. What Is a Good Objective? A good objective for an OKR aligns with your values. It is specific and measurable with clearly outlined results to measure success, and also inspiring to everyone on the team. It should be easily understood by employees of all levels of the organization.

How to Set Good OKRs With Examples

Focus Areas for Engineering OKRs

When it comes to engineering, there are a few key areas that should be kept in mind when setting goals and objectives.

The top priority is always safety, in addition to efficiency and productivity which are also important factors to consider. Another important focus area for engineers is innovation. By constantly thinking of new ways to do things, engineers can help to keep their companies at the forefront of their industries.

It is also important for engineers to collaborate effectively with other departments in the enterprise to ensure that everyone is working towards the same company goals.

The focus areas of some of the OKR examples for engineering teams that you could consider include:

20 Engineering OKR Examples

Now that we've discussed important aspects to keep in mind when setting OKRs, let's look at some OKR examples for software engineers. These OKRs will not only help your software development team, but they are also useful for OKR Sales Engineer teams.

Product Development

Product development teams are responsible for creating new products and features. To be successful, they need to be able to balance the needs of the customer with the constraints of the engineering team.

Some possible objectives for a product development team could be to improve product quality, develop new features in a given timeframe, or improve the onboarding experience.

1. Objective: Strengthen product quality to become the industry-leading brand in the market

KR1: Fix 80% of bugs by the end of the three months

KR2: Enhance product features to improve usability by 10% and make the platform more intuitive

KR3: Reduce the number of critical bugs reported in the quarter from 15 to 5

2. Objective: Improve the onboarding process to deliver an exceptional user experience

KR1: Decrease onboarding time from 10 min to 2 min

KR2: Simplify product tour and get feedback from 10 stakeholders

KR3: Offer tips to help users and create FAQs by the end of the month

3. Objective: Reduce technical debt to improve processes

KR1: Reduce the number of issues tagged as debt by 40%

KR 2: Migrate 80% of applications, tools, and/or projects to the new system to reduce existing debt

KR 3: Decrease the number of contacts related to debt by 55%

Usability and Performance

Usability and performance go hand-in-hand. For example, a product can be very well designed, fast, and responsive, but users will quickly become frustrated if it doesn’t perform well. and it's not easy to use.

Some possible objectives for usability and performance could be to improve product or application performance, ensure a high standard in code quality, or improve the development release cycles.

4. Objective: Increase product reliability to ensure better performance and usability

KR1: Reduce the number of application usability issues by 45%

KR2: Improve application response time by 2%

KR3: Implement 3 application performance audits every month

5. Objective: Increase and improve development release cycles

KR1: Reduce build duration time from 30 minutes to under 6 minutes

KR2: Reduce product development cycle time from 25 days to 7 days

KR3: Ensure 80% of developers have QA training

Data Security

Data security is a critical focus area for engineering and product development teams. In the age of data breaches and cyber attacks, it's more important than ever to make sure that customer data is safe and secure. Some possible OKRs for data security could be to reduce the number of data breaches or decrease the time to detect and respond to threats.

6. Objective: Reduce the number of data breaches to ensure customer information is secure

KR1: Decrease the number of quarterly data breach incidents from 4 to 0

KR2: Implement multi-factor authentication for all users within three months

KR3: Ensure 100% of employees have completed security awareness training by the end of the month

7. Objective: Improve data recovery and the backup process by decreasing the time to detect threats

KR1: Automate all necessary manual tasks within three months

KR2: Decrease data backup time from 5 hours to 2 hours

KR3: Improve data recovery rate from 75% to 100%

8. Objective: Upgrade security measures to ensure data infrastructure is secure and reliable

KR1: Establish a process to ensure 100% of data is backed-up daily

KR2: Reduce data migration time by 75% and upgrade security processes by the end of the quarter

KR3: Reduce the number of breakdown incidents to 1 per quarter

Education and Training

As engineering teams grow, it's important to ensure that all members have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. Some possible objectives for an education and training team could be to develop new training modules, increase employee satisfaction, or decrease time to proficiency.

9. Objective: Introduce new training modules to level up the standard of the engineering team

KR1: Conduct training for 50% of the team on the new module within two weeks of release

KR2: Evaluate training effectiveness with a survey 3 months after release

KR3: Update training modules based on feedback

10. Objective:  Increase productivity to build a world-class engineering team

KR1: Develop a new training plan by the end of the month to identify the capabilities gap

KR2: Ensure 100% of managers are conducting weekly 1:1s with individual team members

KR3: Ensure 100% of teams have 360-degree reviews and personal development plans

UX and UI Quality

A product's user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) are important factors in its success. A product can have the best features in the world, but if the UX and UI are poor, users will quickly become frustrated and move on to something else. Some possible objectives for a UX and UI quality team could be to improve consistency in your design, animate your transitions, or decrease the time to complete tasks.

11. Objective: Improve and ensure consistency in the design process 

KR1: Implement an improved design process system by the end of the month

KR2: Conduct training for all team members on the new design system within two weeks of release

KR3: Conduct a survey six months after the release to evaluate the design system’s effectiveness 

12. Objective: Improve user experience to reduce friction between users and your website and/or application

KR1: Improve the system usability scale from 70 to 95

KR2: Reduce the time taken to sign up from 10 minutes to 3 minutes

KR3: Increase the usage of new product features from 55% to 95%

Reliability and Application Security

Engineering teams are responsible for ensuring that products are reliable and secure. This is especially important for teams that work on critical infrastructure or mission-critical applications.

Some possible objectives for a reliability and security team could be to reduce the number of outages, increase the time between failures, or decrease the time to recover from outages.

13. Objective: Build a reliable and secure product by reducing outages of critical systems

KR1: Identify all critical systems and implement a monitoring system by the end of the quarter

KR2: Increase the backup time by 85%

KR3: Conduct training sessions for all team members on incident response procedures by the end of the month

14. Objective: Ensure continuous usability during disaster recovery

KR1: Develop a disaster recovery plan (DRP) by the end of the month

KR2: Define DRP test scope and communicate to all relevant team members within one week after plan release

KR3: Ensure DRP tests are implemented once a month

Quality Assurance and Testing

Setting an OKR to streamline the quality assurance process and increase efficiency could mean major improvements across the team and organization. Many managers set this OKR to create incremental improvements across their company.

15. Objective: Streamline the quality assurance process to build an agile product and avoid unexpected crises

KR1: Implement a new QA automation tool on 55% of the code base

KR2: Increase automation testing from 55% to 95%

KR3: Reduce the number of critical bugs reported in a quarter from 4 to 1 before new releases

16. Objective: Create a seamless testing process using best practices

KR1: Reduce the number of bugs reported by end users to 1 per release

KR2: Identify open issues of old code (6 months old) and fix up to 20 bugs

KR3: Increase the test coverage of code to 80%

Automation

Automation is a great way to ensure faster product deployment and development. Managers can set OKRs related to automation to improve the deployment and development processes, and identify tools that can help speed up these processes.

17. Objective: Improve the development and deployment process using automation

KR1: Reduce the build timeline for all projects less than 6m

KR2: Lower the time-to-market for new releases from 9 months to 6 months

KR3: Improve the deployment speed from 800 to 1,500 deploys per year

18. Objective: Select tools for a specific function that best fits the needs of your organization

KR1: Identify and choose the top 3 tools required for specific functions by the end of the month

KR2: Test the selected 3 tools on 5 features of the product

KR3: Analyze and evaluate the 3 tools to choose the best tool by the end of the quarter

Community Development

As engineering teams grow, it's important to foster a sense of community and create a connection among teams to build a supportive group. OKRs for community development could be about establishing a mentorship program, starting an engineering blog, or hosting a meetup.

19. Objective: Establish a mentorship program to elevate the skill level of the team

KR1: Create a program and send campaigns by the end of the week to get mentors and mentees to sign up

KR2: Organize the program and ensure at least 50% of the engineering team members are connected with mentors

KR3: Conduct a survey at the end of the quarter to evaluate the performance of the program

20. Objective: Build environmentally and socially responsible teams

KR1: Create awareness and reduce monthly energy usage by 5%

KR2: Find at least 10 volunteers to sign up for a community event

KR3: Get 10k views in the quarter for blog posts posted on engineering/developer community forums

Several engineering OKRs can be tailored to the needs of any organization. The important aspect is to make sure that they are aligned with the company's overall objectives and that they are achievable and measurable. With planning and forethought, engineers can use OKRs to set themselves up for success.

How Weekdone Can Help

If you're looking for a way to help your engineering team set and track OKRs, Weekdone can help. Our software makes it easy to create and track Objectives and Key Results to see how your team is performing against their goals.

Using the popular status reporting framework of PPP (Plans, Progress, and Problems), our Progress Reports feature allows you to see how your team is doing week-over-week, so you can identify Problems and address them quickly.

Weekly Plan

Our Planning feature helps you map out your engineering team's objectives for the upcoming quarter, so you can make sure everyone is working towards common goals.

Check out this video to find out how Weekdone can help you set structured goals, keep track of them, and align everyone towards the company vision.

How Weekdone Works - Weekly Planning & OKR (Objectives and Key Results) Tool

Set Your OKR Goals Today with Weekdone

Now that you understand what OKRs are and how they will help your team succeed. A great way to measure OKRs is with a software platform that's designed to monitor your company's performance and goals. 

If you are ready to dive in, you can sign up for a 2-week free trial to test the Weekdone platform yourself. Weekdone offers a comprehensive OKR platform that makes it easier than ever for leaders to set, track, and manage OKRs. With our help, you can take your engineering team to the next level. 

We hope this article was a helpful guide for setting your engineering OKRs. If you have any questions or need help getting started, feel free to contact us. Our team is ready to assist you with leveling up your OKR game.

Like to learn more about OKRs?

The OKR Guide

Learn to use, how to implement and succeed with OKRs

Read the Guide
OKR Videos

Watch videos to get you started with OKRs and weekly reporting

Watch the Videos
OKR Examples

Write your own OKRs with inspiration from a wide range of examples 

See OKR Examples