When it comes to goal setting, the objectives and key results (OKR) framework is a potent tool for identifying specific business targets, reaching stretch goals, improving alignment across departments, and driving company-wide transparency. It’s so powerful that OKRs can seem complex and intimidating — especially for the people ops professionals and team leads responsible for:
- Training their reports on OKR tracking
- Reporting results to senior management and leadership
You might find yourself asking: How can we excel at OKR tracking? And what can we do to streamline the process for setting, monitoring, and reporting our OKRs, so the strategy becomes a valuable asset rather than a distraction?
We’ve got you covered. In this guide, we’ll answer those questions and walk you through proven steps and methods you can implement right away to manage and track your OKRs effectively.
📊 Turn your OKR tracking system into a value-building asset
Leapsome has customizable OKR templates and automated metrics and reporting to get you started.
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What is OKR tracking?
OKR tracking is an organization’s ongoing process to set, monitor, and report on its objectives and key results. While OKRs encompass concrete metrics that help measure progress, your people won’t be able to work efficiently toward their targets without an established tracking method.
For effective OKR tracking, you need:
- An understanding of what exactly OKRs are on leadership, team, and individual levels
- A reliable, repeatable OKR process
- Specific, measurable key results
- A method for scoring your OKR progress
- Weekly OKR check-in meetings with your team
- Quarterly OKR reviews to discuss where you delivered, where you didn’t, the mistakes you made, and your success stories
Why tracking OKRs is important
Tracking OKRs matters because your key results show what steps you need to take to meet your objectives weekly and monthly. If you set OKRs and forget them, or rely only on key performance indicators (KPIs) to track your progress, you won’t know the specific actions you should take to achieve your objectives.
But tracking OKRs also makes it easier to:
- Keep teams and individuals focused on what they need to do to get meaningful results on a project or goal
- Discover roadblocks to progress
- Hold everyone accountable for their results
- Collaborate on shared goals
- Learn from your successes and failures
“We set objectives quarterly and update our key results weekly. Part of the OKR process is accountability, and regularly updating OKRs allows us to collaborate on objectives at risk, celebrate wins, and ultimately keep our [goals] top of mind.”
— Raffaele Riconosciuto, Director of Marketing at Termly
How to track your OKRs
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Tracking OKRs is fundamental to making them work for your company, departments, and team members. But how can you simplify OKR management for an easy and efficient tracking process? Here are a few best practices to implement.
1. Save your data
Record and track your OKR data in the same place you set your OKRs, which could be in a simple spreadsheet or an OKR tracking software solution. Don’t forget to assign an owner to each OKR or key result you want to track.
This directly responsible individual (DRI) will update and score your progress regularly, so team members and stakeholders can instantly see how things are coming along. Saving and sharing your data with stakeholders makes it easier for your team to collaborate and identify potential barriers to your goals.
🔎 Need an example of how to record, manage, and act on your OKR data? Check out our free OKR template to see how we track our OKRs at Leapsome.
2. Automate your OKR score calculations
OKR tracking shouldn’t feel like a chore. But you need to score your objectives accurately as you work through them, especially when dealing with multiple stakeholders. That’s why using a tool that automatically assigns objectives a numbered score, color, or confidence status based on your key results is best.
Tracking progress gets tricky when you’re using a spreadsheet system for managing team and company OKRs. Spreadsheets are helpful for getting organized and collaborating, but may require too much manual work from the DRI for reliable scoring.
3. Use reports & analytics to visualize data
When you’re tracking individual OKRs, a basic OKR setup and scoring system is enough to stay apprised of your progress and decide on future action steps. But when you’re monitoring organizational OKRs and cascading OKRs, it takes too much time to sort through all the different cross-departmental key results and update everyone on their status. That’s why you need a tool that displays your OKR data visually.
For a better understanding of how that can look, here’s an example of how Leapsome automatically renders company, team, and individual user OKR data into an easy-to-read line graph that you can filter based on status and OKR ownership.
You can also use our Goal Tree view to illustrate cascading goals, which makes it easier to create alignment and see how your individual and team OKRs flow into broader company goals.
4. Update your OKR progress weekly
The best way to continue making strides, keep your team in sync, and stay ahead of any potential setbacks with your OKRs is to run weekly OKR review meetings. These get-togethers allow team members to identify strategies that have helped them move forward, deal with their current obstacles, and understand what they need to prioritize next.
Your OKR meetings should…
- Be at the same time every week.
- Last between 15 and 30 minutes.
- Allow all team members responsible for key results to prepare and present their talking points. It shouldn’t be one individual’s responsibility to lead the meeting and report on progress.
- Be open to everyone, including staff members who don’t own any key results.
- Follow the same agenda every week, where you:
- Identify the progress status of each objective and its corresponding key results.
- Discuss anything that’s currently blocking progress.
- Talk about what you’ve tried and learned since your last OKR meeting.
- Determine which actions you need to prioritize for the coming week.
5. Hold quarterly reviews
Quarterly OKR reviews work similarly to weekly OKR review meetings. They act as a space where every team can report on their status, share their success stories and mistakes, and talk about what lessons they learned.
If your department is going to keep the same OKRs for the next quarter, this is also the moment for leadership to ask their team leads:
- Do you feel prepared to tackle your OKRs for the next quarter?
- Do you need any support with your OKRs for the next quarter?
- Is there anything we need to tweak or change about your OKRs as they currently stand?
And if you’re going to update your cascading OKRs, be sure to ask for input and ideas from department heads and colleagues.
As you continue your OKR tracking journey, keep in mind that achieving a score of 100% isn’t the goal. If you’re consistently achieving 100% on your OKRs across the board, that may be a sign your goals aren’t challenging enough. Instead, focus on making what progress you can — aiming for around 70-80% fulfillment — and using your quarterly reviews to assess what’s working and what isn’t.
OKR tracking methods
Regularly monitoring your OKRs makes achieving them easier. But how you track them also plays a role in how streamlined and transparent your OKR process is. Here are three of the most common approaches to OKR tracking you can adopt for your organization.
OKR setting & monitoring software
Organizations use OKR software to set, communicate, measure, and track their goals. Many businesses opt for an OKR setting software solution because it gives them a centralized place to control every aspect of their OKR management. This way, they don’t have to worry about their OKR data getting lost amid various spreadsheets and messaging platforms.
- Customizable OKR templates
- Automated OKR scoring
- Analytics and reporting
- Customizable visibility settings
- Communication and feedback features
- Automatic progress updates and tracking reminders
- Syncing abilities between individual OKRs and performance review data
🤔 Curious if Leapsome can make OKR tracking easier for you?
We’ll help you effortlessly transition from an ad hoc system to an automated OKR tracking process that saves you time and frustration.
👉 Learn more
OKR tracking templates
OKR tracking templates are ready-to-use, customizable spreadsheets designed to set overarching company goals and establish corresponding objectives and key results. They’re a great, free option for companies just starting with OKRs, or you can use them to draft your objectives and key results before you publish them to a more specialized OKR platform.
- Different templates for goal-setting, documenting, and tracking
- Highly customizable
- Free to use
- Easy to share with your team
- Can be used in the drafting stage before publishing your OKRs to a formal tracking system
Pen & paper
We advocate for any system that works best for your organization. And for some companies, that’s a pen-and-paper OKR tracking system. While mid-size and large corporations that care about transparency and visibility should pair this approach with a more sophisticated method, pen-and-paper systems work well for brainstorming and planning. They might also benefit individuals who find putting their ideas on paper helps them be more creative.
- Ideal for the brainstorming and planning phase of OKR creation
- Simple to use
- Can be useful in the drafting stage
- Can be helpful for people who struggle to ideate on digital documents
Track OKRs like a pro with Leapsome
Without a streamlined system for staying on top of your key results, your OKRs won’t get you very far. But it takes time, strategy, and collaboration to get your approach to OKR tracking right, which can make the entire process feel like a full-time job.
At Leapsome, we believe your OKR tracking system should be a tool in your repertoire, not a thorn in your side. That’s why our Goals & OKR Management Module includes customizable OKR templates, automated calculations and scoring, and user-friendly analytics dashboards for better visibility.
And because we know the importance of teamwork, we offer advanced features for communication and feedback between stakeholders and team members.
📈 Your OKR tracking system should work for you, not against you
Leapsome lets you streamline OKR tracking with customizable templates, analytics dashboards, and automated scoring.
👉 Book a demo
FAQs about OKR tracking
How often do you track OKRs?
You should update progress toward your OKRs weekly and reset or adjust them at the beginning of every quarter. It’s best to track your OKRs in regular team meetings that last no longer than 30 minutes.
Weekly OKR tracking keeps teams focused on making progress toward their targets and helps monitor them in a team context — rather than managers tracking them independently. This makes meaningful collaboration easier.
What is an OKR dashboard?
An OKR dashboard is a software feature for visualizing and tracking OKR progress. Depending on the capabilities of your software of choice, you can use an OKR dashboard to track company, team, and personal objectives and key results.
Leapsome allows individuals and teams to track their goals along a line graph, but you can also use our Goal Tree tool to view your company’s cascading goals. This gives teams an overview of how the status of their goals affects the company’s overall progress.
How is OKR progress measured?
You can use several methods to measure your team’s OKR progress. Here are two of the most common ways to monitor your OKRs for more precise tracking:
- On a scale of 0% to 100%, with 0 showing that you failed to make progress and 100% indicating that you reached your objective.
- On a scale of 1 to 10.
You can also categorize your OKR progress using confidence statuses, like:
- Green, yellow, and red, with green illustrating you’re on track to deliver on your objective, yellow signaling your key result needs attention, and red showing you’re off track.
- “On target,” “off target,” “at risk,” “canceled,” “delayed,” or “done.”
Depending on the OKR you’re tracking, you can assign it a binary score, like 0 or 1 or yes or no, to indicate you have or haven’t done something. For example, if one of your key results is to attend a conference, you could mark it as “yes” after you’ve attended.