The Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) methodology's popularity has increased dramatically over the years.
However, getting started with OKRs, and finding good OKR templates is not always the simplest process. Hundreds of our clients at Weekdone have asked us questions like:
- What are OKRs?
- What are some free OKR templates?
- What are the benefits of using an OKR template?
- How can I get started with the OKR template?
We've made our response public with this article 😊
To help you draft, set, and track OKRs we’ve created free OKR templates in Excel, Google Sheets, Word, and PDF formats.
We've also included a step-by-step guide on how to skip OKR spreadsheets and use dedicated OKR software to make the implementation of OKRs into your company as simple as possible!
Download free OKR templates
In order to give our clients the best chance to succeed, we’ve created a variety of OKR templates in Excel, Google Sheets, Word, PDF, and even PowerPoint and Google Slides formats.
Also, we’ve published Weekdone-powered 100+ OKR examples which you can use for different teams and departments in your reporting templates or a dedicated OKR tool.
Free OKR Templates
With that, here are the different formats of OKR Templates we've created (click to open and download an OKR template):
- Free Drafting OKRs Template – Powerpoint + Google Slides
- Free OKR Reporting Template – Excel Spreadsheet
- Free OKR Reporting Template – Google Sheets
- Free OKR Reporting Template – Word Document
- Free OKR Reporting Template – PDF
Skip spreadsheet-based OKR templates and use a dedicated OKR software like Weekdone, the process is simple:
1. View 100+ OKR examples to get inspired, then add your Company Objective right into Weekdone’s Quarterly Objectives,
2. Invite your teammates to set and add their Team OKRs, this makes them visible for everyone,
3. Come up with the Initiatives and add them to the Team’s OKRs,
4. Use Weekly Check-ins to make progress towards OKRs.
What are OKRs?
OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) are a quarterly goal-setting framework for companies to drive growth, innovation, and improvement. OKRs focus on the most important areas that need improvement and help you deliver valuable outcomes for the business.
OKRs are based on two essential elements:
- The Objective is a qualitative goal that defines what you want to improve,
- The Key Results are business outcomes that specify how you’ll know if you have progressed towards the Objective.
Two other crucial elements of the OKR process are Initiatives and Weekly Check-ins — the ways you actually drive your OKRs and track the progress:
- The Initiatives include all the projects and plans that will help you achieve your Team Objectives,
- The Weekly Check-ins drive your OKRs forward by focusing your attention on what you need to do during one week.
What are the benefits of using an OKR template?
OKRs put great emphasis on effective teamwork, alignment, and accountability which is achieved through focusing the entire team on working smarter, not harder.
Here are some benefits you can expect when using the right OKR template to set your OKRs:
Set ambitious and measurable goals
Simplicity and limited number of Objectives and Key Results allow each team to focus on what really matters. It's recommended to have 1-3 Objectives for each team, with not more than 3-5 Key Results for each Objective. Team members should think about how they would measure results that they plan to deliver during the quarter and how the numbers will show their success.
It’s also recommended to set stretch goals that are high-effort and high-risk ones. It is intentionally set above normal standards to encourage growth and innovation. As these goals are not tied to compensation, it allows teams to be tolerant to mistakes and come up with more out-of-the-box solutions to address challenges.
Increase productivity through focus on goals
Having a limited number of OKRs not only helps to set goals but also focus on outcomes rather than outputs. The biggest challenge that most companies face is that instead of defining Key Results as measurable outcomes they set a list of action-based outputs.
The output is an action that you take towards your goals. Outputs in the OKR world are called Initiatives. Outcomes are the measurable results that you hope to see after you have delivered your outputs. Outcomes are not about doing, they are about delivering real, valuable business results.
Keep you goals agile
Unlike traditional long-term strategic planning, OKRs prefer shorter goal-setting cycles, which allow teams to adjust and adapt to change, reducing risks and waste. Strategic Objectives are usually set for 1 year, and tactical OKRs — for a quarter. At the end of each cycle, everyone analyzes the results and adjusts the strategic goals if needed. Regular and shorter review cycles reduce the time for planning, and team members don't need to place bets about what will happen in 2-5 years.
Align and connect team to your business goals
Alignment can easily go wrong if people are not aware of how it should work and what the process looks like. It’s not just about having goals somehow linked to each other. OKR alignment is deeply rooted in the goal-setting process and requires a good understanding of the OKR drafting process.
Using the OKR template you can set overarching company Objectives, communicate the Quarterly Objectives with the teams, let teams set their contributing OKRs and link team OKRs with the company’s vision, strategy, and top priorities.
Achieve accountability and progress
As OKRs are set by the whole team together, not by the team manager alone, everyone has personal accountability for their team Objectives and are more motivated to achieve them. You can use the OKR template during your Weekly Check-ins, a quick 15-20 minute meeting where you and your team reflect on the progress of Team OKRs and set new priorities for the upcoming week.
The purpose of the OKR weekly check-in is to facilitate OKRs progress. Teams make sure that progress is happening by looking at accomplished Plans, the results of these Plans, and the lessons learned when moving forward. This turns your work towards achieving Objectives and Key Results into a weekly flow.
How can I get started with an OKR template?
Using an OKR template to set and measure your OKRs is a step in the right direction for a more focused team and better tracked and managed goals.
If you're considering whether to go for templates, or invest in software dedicated to OKRs – check out this article.
Weekdone offers features, statistics, and dashboards to make the OKR process more efficient, consistent, and engaging for your teams. But, however you choose to start working with and tracking OKRs – these 10 tips and tricks will help you make the most of Weekdone OKR software or our free templates!
Guidance for setting OKRs in Weekdone + Templates
1. OKR levels and cadence
Writing Objectives requires intellectual effort. You need to analyze what is going on in your company and prioritize the most impactful improvement areas. Without a clear Objective for the company it’s hard and most impossible for teams to write good OKRs.
There are two main levels for quarterly OKR goal-setting:
1) Company level overarching directional goals (the Company Objectives)
2) Team-level operational (actionable) Objectives and their Key Results.
If you follow alignment best practices, the team level OKRs would contribute to company Objective and drive it forward. OKRs work best when implemented with a quarterly cadence.
2. Setting company Objectives and team OKRs
The first step in the OKR process is to determine overarching company-wide Objective(s) for a quarter – a common destination for all teams in the organization. For example:
- Improve cross-team collaboration
- Improve our competitive advantages to stand out from the competition
- Radically improve the first impression our customers are getting about us.
The most important part of a leader’s job is deciding on what areas need improvement and focusing everyone’s attention on something that needs a change.
Prioritizing is extremely important here.
To keep everyone focused and aligned, you should set no more than 3 Objectives for the company each quarter. When the overall destination is clear, teams develop their own function-specific OKRs that would contribute to achieving the overarching goal. Having one OKR is fine but don’t go over three.
3. Team Initiatives
Key Results will determine which Initiatives the team is going to prioritize and which Initiatives to postpone or discard. Initiatives are the key things your team will do to drive the progress on an OKR. Initiatives do not change the progress of an Objective when achieved, only moving the needle on Key Results will. After completing the Initiatives you still need to check if it brought desired results.
4. Weekly Check-ins
After the teams have set the OKRs and agreed on the main Initiatives to start with, it’s time for the individuals to start planning their week to work towards achieving the team OKRs. Weekly Check-ins are the most granular and tactical part of OKR execution.
Each week the team members should discuss their OKR and its progress and agree on the next steps to take.
5. Linking Weekly Plans to team Objectives
Now you can see how your weekly Plans fit into your Team OKRs.
You can link weekly Plans to your Objectives – this creates a list of activities that have gone into accomplishing a given goal. This is a best practice we strongly suggest, it not only substantiates your progress on your Key Results but also helps you stay organized and keep your team updated.
Linking your weekly activities to your team OKRs in Weekdone is very simple. After adding a plan you can just link it by choosing the option from the item menu and linking it to the relevant Objective(s).
Learn more about our progress reporting templates to help you track weekly plans.
6. KPI dashboard
Though KPIs have a different function than OKRs, many users still confuse those two and use KPIs instead of Key Results for Objectives. In order to keep your KPIs separate from OKRs you can use Weekdone’s KPIs dashboard to set company or team metrics that you are trying to achieve this quarter, show your current status and share that with your team and company.
In a similar way to OKRs, KPI expectations are calculated based on which week in a quarter you are. Depending on that, the KPI can be off track (red), on track (green), at-risk (yellow), or exceeded (blue).
Our Google Sheets integration is awesome for automating various metrics (like KPIs) into your Weekdone reporting dashboards
7. Company and Team overview dashboards
Weekdone’s automated OKR dashboards show at a quick glance, where you are with your progress compared to expectations. The key to good OKRs is to always know how your team, and your company is doing. The Company and Team overview dashboards let you manage your goals to make sure you stay on track and address problems before you fall too far behind.
8. Using comments
You can add comments to almost any item in Weekdone – Objectives, Key Results, Initiatives and weekly items.
Use Objectives comments to explain where the need for this Objective comes from. What is the problem you are trying to solve? Why is this Objective important? You can also add links to relevant documents or pages.
Key Results comments are great to provide context to the update made or explaining why the progress has been stalling. It’s a good practice to leave a comment every time you update the Key Results. End of the quarter is good to look back and see what kind of things brought progress and for what reasons things didn’t progress.
You can comment on your team members or other people in company weekly items to provide feedback, ask questions or share support.
9. Hierarchy view
After you have set up your OKRs and align them with the relevant Company Objectives it’s good to check how the alignment looks like in an OKR hierarchy. This view lets you see all of your OKRs and how they connect in an easy-to-view format, so you can make sure your OKR flow is correct. To access this view click hierarchy in the top menu of the OKR page.
From there you can view how your OKRs are connected together and how each team is contributing to the overarching company objectives. You can also toggle through all options to get a specific view of one team or department individually.
10. Team & company reviews
The end of the quarter review should also happen in the correct order. The company-wide review should always start with the Teams reviewing and analyzing their OKRs and work done.
The review meeting should have two outputs:
- a longer report of Team learnings, ideas, etc, and
- a shorter overview to present to others in the Company.
The first would be for the Team, more detailed info about their learnings, and the second for a Company-wide review as there’s no time and need to share all the details with other Teams.
For your convenience, here are the OKR examples you can choose from to populate your OKR Template.
Browse the OKR examples and copy them into your template to get started:
Using an OKR template in combination with OKR examples will hopefully help make your transition to OKRs as smooth as possible so you can focus on setting only the best OKRs from the get-go.
To Wrap Up
Basically, we're giving you all the materials you need to get started with OKRs. The materials include OKR templates, videos and an infographic explaining what OKRs are and how to get started so then, you can start implementing them yourself.
👉 Weekdone offers a free OKR consultation. If you are having trouble setting up your OKRs or if you just want to have a professional eye review them, you can have a consultation with one of our OKR experts. With experience setting up and advising companies of all sizes, they are ready to help you and your team set better goals and achieve them. This is especially great if you are new to OKR methodology. Contact us to set up an appointment.