OKR Scoring: How to Score & Track OKRs

When you approach the end of an OKR cycle, you’ve reached the perfect time for grading OKRs.

Grading OKRs provides an opportunity for you and your team to reflect on accomplishments and evaluate what should be done differently during the next cycle. Remember, research shows that frequent monitoring and evaluation increase a person’s likelihood of accomplishing their goals.

Without a solid Objectives and Key Results (OKR) tracking and scoring strategy, you and your team will struggle to assess performance and make progress toward your long-term Objectives. 

Do you know how to track OKRs? Do you know the best practices for OKR scoring? If not, this guide can help.

What Is Scoring OKRs?

Scoring or grading OKRs is all about setting specific criteria — then using those criteria to evaluate the OKR methodology’s success. When you check in regularly and score or grade your OKRs, you and your team will experience more accountability, will feel more motivated, and will have an easier time tracking progress.

This element separates OKRs from other goal-setting methodologies, which often don’t include regular reviews and assessments. The lack of performance review can cause team goals to get lost in the shuffle of everyday activity.

Quarterly OKR Cycle with OKR Scoring

How Do You Score OKRs?

If you google “OKR scoring”, you’ll find that there are several different methods to choose from. No matter which method you choose, though, you’ll always need to determine the following: 

  • The scale you’re using
  • What each increment on that scale represents
  • How you will define progress

You can approach OKR evaluation in two ways: either using traditional OKR scoring or value-based Key Results within the OKR framework. 

Traditional OKR Scoring

Traditional OKR scoring uses a simple “yes or no” approach. In other words, did you accomplish a particular Key Result (Yes), or did you fall short (No)?

Some teams also use a slightly more complicated approach, which involves ranking each Key Result on a scale of 0.0 to 1.0 and color-coding the score as red, yellow, or green: 

  • 0.0 to 0.3: Red — the team failed to make meaningful progress
  • 0.4 to 0.6: Yellow — the team made progress but still fell short
  • 0.7 to 1.0: Green — the team delivered

Pros

  • Numerical and color-coded scores may make progress easier to monitor (assuming everyone has agreed upon what each color and numerical score means)
  • Color-coding provides teams with a straightforward option for OKR visualization
  • May work best for individual progress monitoring where there’s room for a greater level of subjectivity

Cons

  • Doesn’t provide a clear baseline for where the team started
  • Creates confusion because scoring is often highly subjective (e.g., what does a 0.5 actually mean in the grand scheme of things?)
  • Increases grading process complexity because everyone on the team has to agree at the beginning of the quarter what each score means for them to have any impact
  • Scoring brings almost no benefits when you’re using value-based key results

Traditional OKR Scoring Example

Let’s say a team’s Objective was to “Turn the sales pipeline in the African markets into an effective sales machine”, and they set these 3 Key Results:

  • KR1: Increase a conversion rate from 10 to 25 percent on all leads
  • KR2: Reduce the time spent in the sales cycle by 20 percent
  • KR3: Open 5 new stores in African countries 

If your team only reached a 15 percent conversion rate, that KR would receive a score of 0.6. If you only reduced time in the sales cycle by 8 percent, that KR would receive a score of 0.3. If you opened 4 stores instead of 5, that KR would receive a score of 0.7.

The average of those 3 scores, or the Objective final score, would be 0.5.

Traditional OKR scoring example - Weekdone blog

Forget Traditional OKR Scoring — Use Value-Based Key Results Instead

The problem with traditional OKR scoring is that it’s best used when there is no measurable impact that the team can produce. If people’s understanding of success needs to be qualitative and subjective, traditional OKR grades work fine.

Value-based Key Results are more beneficial and valuable, and Weekdone is the perfect tool to help you transition from traditional scoring to this more effective option.

Value-based Key Results allow you to easily measure the outcomes of successful activities. They are numbers-focused, set a clear baseline, and illustrate how ambitious (or not ambitious) a particular goal is. 

Pros

  • Provides clear, measurable KRs with a specific benchmark for everyone to measure against 
  • Can be done weekly — no need to wait until the quarter ends to analyze progress 
  • Uses data-based and numeric information to increase accuracy and prevent subjectivism

Pro-tip 💡 Use Weekdone’s Weekly Check-in feature to easily and consistently track Key Results

Cons

  • Requires more insight into current company progress before Key Results can be set
  • May be more challenging for personal OKRs 
  • Requires frequent check-ins, which may be difficult if teams don’t have the right OKR software

Value-Based Key Results Example

Let’s say your team’s Objective is to “Make our online store the easiest platform for buying our products”.

If this is the case, you might set the following 3 Value-based Key Results to help you determine whether or not you were successful:

  • Reduce infrastructure costs from $10,000 to $3,000
  • Maintain website availability during migration at 99.99%
  • Decrease online purchases’ times from 10 minutes to 2 minutes 

These Key Results establish a specific baseline and are highly specific and easy to measure. They allow for simpler OKR evaluation and help you and your team establish detailed OKR metrics to monitor throughout the quarter. 

Track OKR progress in Weekdone

Use OKR Software for OKR Tracking

Utilizing OKR software makes it much easier for teams to figure out how to measure OKRs and monitor progress throughout the quarter. The best OKR software will streamline the process of setting and evaluating OKRs and will save you a lot of time (compared to a more outdated option like an OKR spreadsheet).

Here are some OKR resources to consult if you want to learn how to use your OKR tracking tool or find out more about setting or scoring OKRs:

Upgrade Your OKR Scoring Method Today

OKR scoring is an essential part of the OKR method:

  • OKR scoring establishes specific criteria for tracking progress 
  • Scoring OKRs keeps teams motivated, engaged, and productive
  • The traditional OKR scoring template uses a Yes/No framework and is task-based
  • Value-based Key Results set a clear baseline, assess the ambitiousness of a goal, and provide more context into how successful a team was
  • Traditional OKRs work best when there’s no measurable impact for the team to produce
  • Value-based Key Results provide more insight and can be measured weekly for ongoing engagement and progress monitoring
  • OKR tracking software provides a clear Key Results that allow for easy visualization, and simplify the tracking process week after week   

👉Check out Weekdone today to streamline your OKR tracking and scoring processes.

Free for up to 3 users. Bigger teams receive a 14-day free trial.