In any context, objectives (or outcomes) are important as they give guidance or direction; instead of only focusing on solutions.
(Solutions in the broad meaning: a product or service, an improvement, a feature, a functionality, …)
Quite often, solutions are proposed or defined without an objective in mind. To reach a certain objective, multiple solutions are possible. We want to track progress with respect to objectives, not only solutions.
When teams are given an objective, teams have the possibility to think for themselves what are possible solutions, and which solutions fit the best in the current environment (system, product, service, …). In general, teams who own part of the problem statement and the solution space are more motivated, more focused, more creative, as they feel ownership.
OKRs = Objectives + Key Results
It is a method of defining and tracking objectives and their outcomes.
- Objectives are what the organization or individual want to accomplish, and are typically subjective, qualitative. Objectives can be ambitious, can be challenging.
- Key results are concrete, specific, and measurable. They describe how you will accomplish the related objective, and measure whether you accomplished the objective or not.
The clue is that Objectives Key Results can be defined on several levels in the organization: for example executive management, departments, products or services, teams.