What's the difference between KPIs and OKRs?

KPIs are measurements within a strategic framework

KPIs are used to evaluate performance over time. They are the most important measurable metrics a company follows to ensure alignment between goals en strategy. Yet a lot of organizations tend to forget the K in KPIs and therefore track too much and lose focus on the key indicators (the once that really matter). If everything is a priority, nothing is. 

OKR is a strategic framework

Too often we let day-to-day work get in between our priorities leaving us unable to distinguish priorities from things that don't scale. OKR gives you the framework to not track everything you do, and instead focus on what really matters. Well-designed OKRs are set quarterly and will cause you to reevaluate, automate and outsource what doesn't really matter.

When defined properly there is no right or wrong between the two

If you ask us, OKRs are especially appropriate when you want to initiate lasting change. It is about changing behavior, processes, direction and tools and allows you to be a little more creative in doing so. 

However, if the project is one that has already been initiated, has been executed before and you now wish to scale. Then it is best to choose KPIs. They give a clear measurable picture of the execution of your strategy.

OKRs often demand a change in attitude

All too often we see companies that have created a multi-year plan behind which is a strategy they can be proud of. Overzealous as they are, they then launch a bunch of projects, give managers the assignment to implement something together with their team, and then the ball drops. We are drawn so quickly into the day-to-day work that the execution of the strategy, and thus the original focus, is diluted. The answer lies within a solid framework and the accompanying software to help you see clearly. 

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OKRs are meant for straightforward management

Set 3 to 5 Ambitious Objectives 

Objective create clarity and indicate the direction in which you want to go. You simply draw out the roadmap to success. Set clear quarterly goals and give insight and meaning to those who will execute the change. 

Setting Objectives rules: 

  • Focus only on what really matters. Dare to say no or redistribute some tasks.
  • Objectives should be measurable and time-bound.
  • Objectives need to be ambitious - Any objective that you achieve for the full 100% was not ambitious enough. 70% is the new 100%.
  • Tailor them to your teams and don't copy them blindly. OKRs help your teams be innovative and join forces in an agile way. 


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Link to each objective 2 - 5 measurable key results

These are measurable milestones you link to your goals, to see the progress you make to reach the goal. 

Setting Key Results rules: 

  • They are numbers you link to your actions, not the direct actions in themselves. Data will come from the actions you take. 
  • Objectives tell you where to go. Key results are the outcomes.So try to express initiatives in numbers that you want to achieve in order to reach your goal.
  • Visualize your data, analyze it and don't stare blindly. Try to see the bigger picture by working as 1 company, not 1 department. 
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Create transparency and give purpose

Spoom helps you focus on what really matters thanks to risk-management features and integrated communications. Provide a global overview and make sure everyone is on the same page thanks to clear dashboards. Create clarity when you and your team need it most and make forecasts easily.

Spoom maps out your OKRs

  • Avoid silos and ensure that data from different departments is linked. 
  • Give teams an overview by showing how their actions contribute to the objectives. 
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Contact Mathieu and his team. Our Spoom Data experts will be happy to guide you through the tool using concrete examples with your data.

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