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OKRs vs KPIs: What’s the Difference?

OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are both important tools used by businesses today to measure and track progress towards achieving goals. While many may confuse the two, there are significant differences between OKRs and KPIs. In this article, we will explore the differences between OKRs and KPIs to help businesses understand which tool is best suited for their needs.

What are OKRs?

OKRs are a performance management tool used by businesses to set clear and measurable objectives and key results in order to track progress towards achieving a desired outcome. OKRs are typically set at the company, team, and individual level and are used to align everyone towards a common goal.


An OKR is made up of two parts: an objectively defined goal or objective that is to be achieved and key results that measure progress towards that goal. The goal or objective is an ambitious, challenging, and specific aim, while the key results are measurable targets used to track progress towards achieving the objective.

What are KPIs?

KPIs are quantifiable metrics used to measure business performance. They are commonly used by businesses to track progress towards achieving their strategic goals and objectives. KPIs are one of the most important tools businesses use to assess their progress towards achieving their defined financial, production, or customer-related targets.


KPIs are typically used to measure the performance of both business processes and individuals within a business. Additionally, KPIs are often determined by external benchmarks, such as industry standards, customer satisfaction targets, or other established performance metrics.


The difference between OKRs and KPIs

The main difference between OKRs and KPIs is the fact that OKRs are more focused on objectives and outcomes, while KPIs are more focused on measuring performance. OKRs are ambitious and stretch goals that help businesses and individuals improve their overall performance, while KPIs are defined metrics used to measure specific aspects of business performance.


Another key difference is that OKRs are typically set on a quarterly or annual basis, while KPIs are often monitored on a more frequent basis, such as monthly or weekly. This means that OKRs are used to set long-term goals, while KPIs are used to track progress towards established targets and goals.


OKRs are also frequently used to help businesses align their teams towards achieving specific outcomes, while KPIs are typically used to assess the performance of specific processes or individuals. OKRs help companies stay focused on achieving specific strategic objectives, while KPIs help companies measure and adjust their performance towards reaching those goals.

Example 1:

A company sets an OKR to increase their annual revenue by 20%. The key results associated with this objective could be to launch a new product line, expand into a new market, and increase customer retention rates. The focus is on achieving an overall goal that aligns everyone towards a common objective.

Example 2:

A company sets a KPI to measure their customer satisfaction rates. The metric used is a Net Promoter Score (NPS) and the benchmark is the industry average. The focus is on measuring specific aspects of business performance and comparing it to external benchmarks to determine how they are performing relative to others in their industry. 

In conclusion, OKRs and KPIs are both important tools for businesses to track their performance and progress towards achieving their strategic goals and objectives. While there are similarities between the two, there are also significant differences. Understanding these differences can help businesses determine which tool is the most appropriate for their specific needs.