OKR vs KPI: Know the Difference for Maximum Results

OKR and KPI: what are they?

Organisational objectives & key results (OKRs) and key performance indicators (KPIs) are two of the most important tools for measuring the success of an organisation. They’re used by businesses to track progress, set goals, and measure performance. But what exactly are OKRs and KPIs?

OKR is a goal-setting system that helps companies define their objectives, then break them down into measurable key results that can be tracked over time. It’s a way to align your team with organisational goals so everyone is working towards the same end goal. It also helps to measure progress more accurately than other methods.

Objective statements are usually emotional and aspirational; they are frequently slogans (such as "become the market winner in XYZ"), but they can also be figures if everyone believes that they are emotional. The best Key Outcomes should change something from X to Y and reflect the Goal. However, this is not always possible in real life, especially at the beginning of maturity, and other choices, such as KR1 (make something), are also acceptable.

KPIs, on the other hand, are specific metrics used to measure performance against predetermined goals. These metrics give organizations a better understanding of how well they’re doing in terms of meeting their objectives. By tracking KPIs regularly, businesses can identify areas where they need improvement and make changes as needed. bullseye-with-three-darts

In some ways, these systems are similar: both are inherent in the principles of measurability and limited time, i.e. it is important to create all metrics accurately measurable (on some scale or as a percentage) and they must be set for a certain period of time (most often a month, quarter, year). However, if you understand the rest of the principles and approaches, then you will have no difficulty in understanding the difference between them.

OKRs Vs KPIs: Difference Between OKRs and KPIs?

Based on the definitions, it is difficult to understand the difference, but it is there and it is significant. The main difference is that Objectives & Key Results are used for change and disruption management , while KPIs are used for process management ( run ). To put it simply, the first one plans and measures the challenges, and the second one - the current project activities.

The purpose is not the same

While OKR goals are more bold and audacious, they are usually attainable and the result of an ongoing process or initiative.

Indicators have a variety of uses, including gauging staff performance, assessing an ongoing project or endeavor, and gauging a program's effectiveness.

However, OKRs encourage workers to be aspirational so that the business can advance, rather than measuring success.

Your success is measured differently

While achieving the expected result in the KPIs is positive, in the OKRs it is not so much . Conversely, if it is very easy to meet the OKRs it means that they were not ambitious enough to have an impact and you should rethink them.

Reasons for use

Companies use OKRs to set goals and improve the overall performance of their employees. On the contrary, they use KPI as a metric that reflects numerical data about how employees perform. In addition, KPI is a measurement tool that businesses use to manage employee performance. OKRs allow employees to focus on their goals by creating the smaller outputs employers expect them to achieve in order to achieve the goal.

Frequency of change

Another difference between the two is the frequency with which companies change, modify, or create new OKRs and KPIs. Department leaders often change OKRs on a quarterly basis, while KPIs are more likely to stay the same for a longer period of time, usually a year or more. For example, if a company has a two-year purchasing cycle, they will keep their current KPIs until the end of the purchasing cycle and then adjust accordingly. businesswoman-using-tablet-analysis-graph-company-finance-strategy-statistics-success-concept-planning-future-office-room

KPIs are vertical and OKRs are horizontal

OKRs can come from a specific task and can even be used in personal life; they are not forced from executive roles on the basis of your business. Each of them has a unique OKR. KPIs are only developed by executives to track success in this instance.

In summary, the OKRs are a Strategic Framework and the KPIs are the Measures within that framework, which can be part of the Key Results.

What do OKRs and KPIs have in common?

What do OKRs and KPIs have in common? According to all the information that I provided you above, we can draw numerous conclusions about the OKR and KPI , these are some of my conclusions; I invite you to take yours:

  • OKR & KPI are both metrics
  • There can't be many. On the contrary, they are few and pertinent.
  • OKR & KPI have to be checked frequently.
  • They serve to make important decisions for the company.

Can OKR replace KPI?

It is important to maintain KPIs to keep track of the vital elements of your organization. And while KPIs are often considered BAUs, there are times when KPIs can inform, and even become, your OKR if it's a metric you want to change significantly. Think of it this way: OKRs describe where you want to be, not where you currently are.

Let's use the example of a finance team that fell behind on their KPI for submitting contracts within a certain period of time. Raising this to an OKR for one cycle may make sense to help focus attention. Once they have shown that they can continually meet this expectation, it can be demoted to a KPI. This allows management to still keep an eye on you, but it doesn't have to be an OKR.

Combining OKRs and KPIs

Yes, you can have both KPIs and OKRs in your business strategy. KPIs are metrics that help describe how you know you’re making progress towards achieving your goals. On the other hand, OKRs provide an ambitious goal-setting method to help drive progress.

Using OKRs to lead will help ensure that you reach your desired outcome faster than a simple KPI. Even though they are similar, OKRs do not replace KPIs. They are complementary tools that should be used together to measure success. While KPI may tell you where you’ve been, OKRs help define where you’re going and what needs to happen in order for you to get there.

When it comes to tracking and measuring progress, using both KPIs and OKRs is essential for understanding if you’re making the necessary headway on your objectives. By combining the two, businesses get a more comprehensive view of their performance and can use okr progress to make better decisions about their future goals.

Best practices for combining the two metrics

When combining the two metrics of OKRs and KPIs, it is important to use both in a complementary manner. OKRs are the acronym for Objectives & Key Results, and they provide a goal-setting framework which can help to move the needle on larger objectives. Whereas KPIs are measurable indicators that may be used to track smaller tasks and measure progress. When used together, these two powerful tools have the potential to streamline performance management processes. For best results, it is recommended to set realistic goals with OKRs before drilling down into more granular details with KPIs. KPI technical board This will enable executives to focus on what matters most while also keeping track of progress along the way. The combination of OKRs and KPIs provides an effective platform for making sure that goals are met while also gathering insights which can inform future decision-making.

Tips for determining which metric to use when

When it comes to determining which metric to use, it’s important to start by considering your business goals. OKRs are designed for long-term goals and projects, whereas KPIs are used for short-term objectives. If your goal is ambitious but achievable, then you may want to consider using an OKR.

Alternatively, if you want to measure two of your key results in a shorter period of time then using KPIs might be more suitable. A great way of combining OKRs and KPIs is by using the OKR framework and setting ambitious KPIs as one of its key results.

This will allow you to track progress towards the overall objective while also having measurable targets that can help you make decisions quickly. Ultimately, it’s up to each organisation to decide what works best for them - there may be some cases where using both OKRs and KPIs is most beneficial, whereas in other cases just one type might be more appropriate.


We've used some precise instances to contrast OKRs and KPIs. There will be some ambiguities in the real world; a change in terminology could transform an important outcome into a KPI (or vice versa). One of the important outcomes in the first OKR scenario given above was "Expand employees by 45%." A Indicator could also be the quantity of workers. Since a KPI is typically just one data point and the OKR structure is only dependent on monitoring data, there will occasionally be duplication.

It's okay if your key outcomes and key performance markers start to sound alike. Just keep in mind that one is a result and the other is a gauge; the two can intersect, but not in terms of how they are used. Knowing the distinction between these two ideas will help you decide on the best strategy for your organization's goal-setting.

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