Stretch Goals or OKRs

As popularised by Google, the real benefit in OKRs come from setting ambitious stretch goals. This is a way to allow people to think creatively about how they can take massive leaps instead of incremental gains. In stretch goals, the outcomes are not guaranteed, the path to success is not defined and teams will often experiment and learn along the way. Sometimes they will achieve 50% of their ambitious goal. Sometimes 20% or if they’re lucky they’ll get to 70% of the target number.

It is important to calibrate and set expectations with the management teams when planning if this is a stretch goal or a committed goal.

Stretch OKR example from Google

Objective or Goal

  • Develop the next-generation client platform for web applications.

Key Results

  • Chrome reaches 20 million seven-day active users.

Initiatives

  • Broadened their distribution deals with the OEMs [original equipment manufacturers]
  • Embarked on a “Chrome Fast” marketing campaign to heighten product awareness in the United States
  • Expanded their demographic by launching Chrome for OS X and Linux.
  • Creating a passive alert for former Chrome users who’d been dormant

Read how Google CEO Sundar Pichai used OKRs to build the world’s most popular web browser

Committed Goals or OKRs

There are also times when teams can commit to an outcome. The OKR is something the team feels confident about and the path to achieving the goal is well defined.

Let’s look at an example of a stretch goal or OKR

Committed OKR example

Objective or Goal

  • Allow users to pay via a provider of their choice

Key Results

  • Integrate top 5 payment gateways requested by Q3

Initiatives

  • Complete integration with Google Pay
  • Complete integration with Stripe
  • Complete integration with Paypal
  • Survey our users about their payment needs

How to score stretch and committed OKRs

When closing goals and OKRs at the end of the quarter, it is important to consider how committed vs stretch goals should be rated.

When closing a goal or a key result in North, there are 4 outcomes to choose from; Completed, Partial, Missed and Dropped. In case of a stretch goal or key result, it is OK to mark them as completed even when they are only 70% complete. This expectation, however, must be decided between the manager and the team when setting the goal.

% Complete of a Stretch GoalOutcome
> 70%Completed
40%-70%Partial
< 40%Missed
% Complete of a Committed GoalOutcome
100%Completed
60%-99%Partial
< 60%Missed

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