A Quick Guide to OKR Dashboards

Objectives and Key Results (OKR) is a simple yet proven …

SimpleKPI Icon By Stuart Kinsey

2 Minute Read
Dashboard with graphs and large letters OKR hovering over.

Objectives and Key Results (OKR) is a simple yet proven goal-setting tool that has enabled companies like Google, Intel, and Oracle to achieve astonishing growth goals. The effectiveness of OKRs stems from providing a clear and quantifiable guiding light that a company can work towards without ambiguity or miscommunication.

OKRs make goals simple by testing any action against whether it achieves the objective measured by the critical results set out in the OKR.

From a business perspective, the magic of OKR Dashboards is that everyone knows the goal and how they will get there. They add structure and drive to an objective by showing progress toward the overall objectives.

What's covered:

  1. What is an OKR?
  2. What is an OKR Dashboard?
  3. What is the Difference Between KPI and OKR?
  4. An Example of a Good OKR
  5. The Benefits of OKRs
  6. Creating Your First OKR
  7. What is OKR Software?
  8. Finally

What is an OKR?

An OKR, or 'Objective and Key Result' is a tool that helps you set big goals and then break them down into smaller steps to help you achieve them. Companies, departments, teams, and individuals use OKRs to set exciting and achievable goals. The OKR framework provides a way to track progress and ensure everyone works together to achieve the goal. When you use OKRs, you can focus on what you need to do to achieve your goal and ensure everyone knows the focus and their actions.

Objectives and Key Results flow Diagram with the letters OKR at the top and lines connecting the objective to key results and actions.

What is an OKR Dashboard?

An OKR Dashboard is a tool that allows you to create easily digestible snapshots of OKR progress, taking in all the necessary data and displaying it in visualizations, such as graphs and charts.

Objectives are divided into respective authorities, such as per employee or department. This allows you to see areas that need improvement and where things are progressing better than expected.

With OKR Dashboards, you can merge several OKRs into a single visualization, giving you an instant snapshot of the organization's overall progress. As well as defining the timescale of your snapshot, it makes it easier to assess progress on several timeframes, such as monthly, quarterly, annually, and more.

OKR Dashboard example showing charts and their objectives

What is the Difference Between a KPI and an OKR?

KPIs or Key Performance Indicators are performance indexes that help evaluate the success of an organization. OKRs are similar to KPIs but inspire specific action toward a clear goal. KPIs tell a more ambiguous story of success or failure and do not describe any particular action that needs to be taken.

KPIs should be grounded and attainable, indicating whether an organization is succeeding on its current path. Failure to meet KPI targets should be seen as a sign of a problem with the current process. On the other hand, while OKRs should be attainable, they should also be bold with lofty ambitions and present a proverbial carrot to drive your organization forward.

  • An OKR is a strategic framework that sets ambitious and inspirational objectives with measurable key results.
  • A KPI is a measurement tool that tracks the success of ongoing activities, processes, or projects with quantifiable indicators.
  • An OKR is often used for external and qualitative goals, while a KPI is usually used for internal and quantitative goals.
  • An OKR is typically set at the organizational level, while a KPI is often set at the departmental or team level.
  • An OKR defines the what, how, and when of achieving a goal, while a KPI defines the what of measuring a goal.

An Example of a Good OKR

The most effective way to illustrate the concept is by providing an example. To that end, we thought we'd highlight an excellent example of an OKR to help further understand the idea.

As we have mentioned, an OKR should consist of an ambitious objective that can be quantified using multiple key results-often between three and five. For our example, we are going to use three key results.

Objective: Improve Brand Awareness

  • Key Result: Work with influencers to drive 1,000 additional sign-ups
  • Key Result: Achieve five earned mainstream media placements
  • Key Result: Gain 1,000 LinkedIn followers through quality posts

In this example, you can see that the main objective is very vague in and of itself-improving brand awareness could be defined in any number of ways - but with the key results, there are quantifiable indicators of success, along with the roadmap of how to achieve that success. These key results provide a numerical representation (342/1000 LinkedIn followers, for example), which means the overall OKR can be represented as a numerical value, such as a percentage.

Once these Key Results are agreed upon, then each would be broken down into simple actions such as:

  • Contact ten influencers this week.
  • Create two quality posts this week.

The Benefits of OKRs

Now that you know what an OKR is and how they work, let's take a moment to spell out the benefits of using OKRs in your organization.

  • Improved Focus

    The main advantage of having clear, quantifiable goals, is that any action can be tested against the simple question, "Does this help me reach my goal?" Seeing how a given task aligns with the goals set out by the OKR not only helps keep your organization on track, it acts as a reassurance to individuals within that organization, as they can always clearly see that they are on the right path.

  • Improved Collaboration

    When everyone knows the goals your organization is striving for, it makes it easier for individuals and different departments to collaborate; since everyone knows what the ultimate objective is. Collaboration helps to move things along (not to mention foster a healthier work environment), where blind task-based work keeps people and departments isolated.

  • Greater Goal Clarity

    The ultimate power of OKRs is the ability to mesh personal, departmental, and organization-wide objectives with measurable results. Seeing how an individual goal fits into the bigger picture helps people understand their role in the overall objective, bringing a greater sense of unity within the organization. Visualizing a direct line between a personal OKR and an organization-wide OKR helps people feel valued, as they can see exactly what they are doing to help.

Creating Your First OKR

Now that you're well-versed in what an OKR is and why you can benefit from it, it's time to start creating your own. Remember, every organization is different, and OKRs from one organization will rarely be as effective if transplanted to another.

  1. Establish Long-Term Priorities

    The first step in determining an objective is understanding your priorities; this way, you can test your potential goals against whether they help you achieve those priorities. Consider at least a three-year plan.

  2. Convert Priorities into Annual OKRs

    Once you know your long-term priorities, break them down into annual OKRs. It can help to break your OKRs out into categories, such as "strategic," "financial," and "organizational,."

  3. Break Down Your OKRs

    Once you have established annual OKRs, it is time to break them down into smaller OKRs. Start with quarterly OKRs, then team OKRs, and finally individual OKRs. The important thing is that each OKR builds towards the organization's overall goal. There should be no objective that doesn't clearly and directly advance the general cause.

  4. Keep Track, Constantly Tweak

    From this point on, you should be closely watching the overall picture, tweaking OKRs where their key results are not producing the desired effect, and praising where appropriate.

What is OKR Software?

OKR Software is a tool that helps organizations manage their objectives and key results (OKRs). It provides a platform for setting goals and tracking progress toward those goals. With OKR software, you can easily create and manage OKRs for your organization. You can also track progress towards those goals and get real-time updates on how your organization is performing. SimpleKPI can help you create and track your OKRs, and stay organized and focused on achieving your goals.

An OKR Report being displayed using simple kpi software on a blue background.


OKRs are a valuable tool for any organization and can be just as effective at every departmental level. They provide clarity and focus that helps organizations avoid drift, feature creep, and other problems stemming from a lack of clear objectives. It's important to note that no two organizations are the same, and OKRs that work for one organization might not work for another. Analyzing your priorities and finding OKRs to help you get where you need to go is essential. And well-structured OKR software can help you take the guesswork out and speed up the process.

Stuart Kinsey portrait

by Stuart Kinsey

Stuart Kinsey writes on Key Performance Indicators, Dashboards, Marketing, and Business Strategy. He is a co-founder of SimpleKPI and has worked in creative and analytical services for over 25 years. He believes embracing KPIs and visualizing performance is essential for any organization to strive and grow.

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