Dear Andy,

My organization has established OKRs at the company level and has also encouraged everyone to set their personal OKRs. I’m unsure how I continue driving the process forward and what else I need to consider beyond following the cycle and being present for the team. Are there any guiding principles or strategies I can implement to continue fostering growth?

In short, what should an OKR Shepherd do?


We're sharing reader questions, answered by the team. Named in the honor of Andy Grove, the creator of OKRs.

Hello Maika!

Thank you for reaching out. The short answer to your question is, “a lot!”

OKR Shepherds play a vital role in the OKR process, working alongside Champions and Conductors to ensure its success. Think of them as the project managers of the OKR initiative. Their primary responsibility is to keep the program cohesive and drive engagement around OKRs. For example, most companies have at least one layer of OKRs between company-wide and individual OKRs. As a Shepherd, you can help ensure that the work every individual does has a positive impact on team priorities, and that team priorities align with company-wide OKRs.

Once OKRs are set and locked, the primary role of an OKR Shepherd is facilitating regular tracking and kicking off grading and reflections at the end of each cycle. Staying closely connected to the organization’s OKR tracking is a key task for Shepherds. They prompt teams to stay up-to-date in OKR-related responsibilities and nudge them when there are delays (tactfully, of course).

Shepherds also keep teams engaged in the process. When a team questions the effectiveness of their new OKRs or encounters challenges with measurement or alignment, the OKR Shepherd is the go-to person for guidance and coaching.

During the retrospective at the end of a cycle, Shepherds assist teams in measuring their progress and reflecting on its potential to improve team performance in the next cycle. In organizations with extensive goal-setting programs, there may be multiple OKR Shepherds, so don’t feel you need to necessarily go this alone.

To ensure your OKR Shepherds are properly trained, check out our Measure What Matters: Succeeding with Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) certification course on LinkedIn Learning.

For a first-hand account from an OKR Shepherd, read about the global NGO Light for the World. Their Shepherd, Eva Hammer, details how she got buy-in from an initially reluctant team and important success metrics she was able to identify (like a significantly streamlined OKR writing process) along the way.

Thanks for writing in, Maika, and best of luck to you and your team on your OKR journey.


Billy from the What Matters Team

We're sharing reader questions, answered by the team. Named in the honor of Andy Grove, the creator of OKRs.