OKRs are great for every industry and discipline, and software engineering is no different. In fact, OKRs were created at Intel, an engineering-led organization. In the beginning of Measure What Matters, John Doerr tells the story of Intel and how they used OKRs and won the microprocessor battle in the 80s. That Objective and Key Results went like this:
While technology has changed a lot since these OKRs were written in 1980, the basis of the OKR goal setting technique has not. Even beyond their inception, OKRs are especially important for software engineers, because, as Cristos Goodrow, Vice President of Engineering at YouTube, says, “Engineers struggle with goal-setting in two big ways. They hate crossing off anything they think is a good idea, and they habitually underestimate how long it takes to get things done.”
OKRs demand prioritizing ideas and assigning metrics to completion. They require that time spent by software engineers be used in a measurable, time-bound way—even if that does reduce the number of "good ideas” by picking the right OKR objectives.
Examples of Software Engineering OKRs
Whether your software engineering team is working on code reviews, unit testing coverage, data security, story points, or automated tools, here are some real-world examples of software engineering OKRs to draw inspiration from to document performance. Use them to motivate your own software engineering team and their OKRs.
Software Engineering OKR Example
For the rescue of Healthcare.gov, the engineering team had an ambitious goal.
OKR Example for a Product Manager
OKR Example for a Data Analyst
Individual Software Engineer KR Examples
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