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OKR vs Smart goals – The Differences, Similarities and Tips for Setting Up

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OKR vs Smart goals

Recent studies have shown that an organization follows various approaches to set and prioritize goals that improve employee performance and in turn result in business success. There are few methods to define the goals and “S.M.A.R.T” is one such goal-setting method.

In an article, George T. mentions that “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives”. Recently we have seen Organizations move their focus from S.M.A.R.T goals to OKRs to ensure that the set goals are achieved. Superpowers of OKRs help us to convert our vision to actionable key results and help us to see the progress constantly. On the other hand, SMART is a simple way to create objectives but lacks visibility in achieving the organizational goal.

In this blog, we will take you through,

  • What is OKR and How Does It Work?
  • What are SMART Goals and How Does It Work?
  • Similarities Between Goals and OKRs
  • Difference Between OKRs and SMART Goals
  • Pros and Cons of OKRs and SMART Goals
  • When to Use OKRs vs. SMART Goals
  • Tips for Setting OKRs and SMART Goals

What is OKR and How Does It Work?

OKR (Objectives and Key Results) is an interesting goal-setting framework to measure goals by which both individuals and teams are aligned to make success. OKRs came in light with Intel and the success stories started raising after the implementation at Google and today OKRs are being used by other organizations in spite of the size and industry.

OKR consists of a couple of important concepts:

1. Objectives

Objectives help us to see “our destination, where are we traveling towards?”. To be precise Objectives answers the question “Where do you need to go?”

Objectives give us clear direction toward what mission to be accomplished, inspiring with a concrete path, and time-driven but not metric-driven.

For Example:

Objective: Grow and increase our business by Q2

2. Key Results

Key results are the action plans which help us to achieve the objective. They are metric-driven and actionable. Key results answer the question: How will you know you’re getting closer to your Objective?

Key results help to measure your progress towards the objective and indicate if you are in the right direction. They are usually specific and time-bound.

An OKR refers to an Objective with one or more key results.


Key Result 1: Grow revenue to $5M

Key Result 2: Launch 2 new product modules by Q3

Key Result 3: Increase the customer retention rate from 90 to 95%

What are SMART Goals and How Does It Work?

goal setting tool

Similar to OKR, SMART is a goal-setting tool, that describes how the objectives with a timeline attached to them, we can understand SMART more as given below.

Five Significant SMART criteria:


What needs to be achieved Achieve more customers in MENA This is more specific as to what is to be achieved but is mor