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  • Writer's pictureReza Hassanzadeh

OKRs Vs KPIs: What Are OKRs? Meaning, Examples, and Comparison with KPIs in Game Companies

Updated: 6 days ago


In the fast-paced world of game development, having a good way to set goals is really important. OKRs, or Objectives and Key Results, are a popular choice for game companies, both big and small. In a field where the difference between a hit game and a flop can depend on many things—from gameplay mechanics to marketing strategies—OKRs offer a clear framework to handle this complexity. They help teams prioritize tasks, use resources wisely, and change direction quickly based on market feedback.


Whether you're improving an existing game or launching a new one, OKRs can be your map to success. This article explains what OKRs are, provides practical examples, and compares them with other performance metrics like KPIs, all designed for the unique needs of game companies.

A Brief History of OKRs

OKRs started in the 1950s when Peter Drucker introduced Management by Objectives (MBO). MBO focused on setting clear, measurable goals, telling employees about these goals, and tracking progress.


In the 1970s, Andy Grove, then CEO of Intel, changed MBO to create OKRs. Grove added Key Results—specific, measurable goals that track progress toward an Objective.


John Doerr, who joined Intel in the 1970s, learned OKRs from Grove and later introduced them to Google in the late 1990s, making the framework famous.

What are OKRs?

OKRs help teams focus on what’s most important and measure their progress over time. Typically set for a quarter, they consist of one or more Objectives, each with a set of Key Results.


Objectives are qualitative goals describing what you want to achieve.

Key Results are quantitative metrics measuring how well you're achieving your Objectives.

What are KPIs?

KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators, are metrics used to track the performance of a business or process. They can measure many things, like sales, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement.

It's an example of OKRs tracker.
OKRs Tracker

Step-by-Step Guide for Defining OKRs

Step 1: Understand the Context

  • Understand your organization's overall goals and strategy.

  • Identify the key areas or priorities needing attention.

Step 2: Set Clear Objectives

  • Define clear, inspiring objectives that are qualitative and ambitious.

  • Align objectives with the organization’s mission and strategic direction.

  • Use the SMART criteria: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Objective Structure:[Action Verb] [What] [Outcome]Example: Increase [player engagement] [by 20%] [in the next quarter].

Step 3: Define Measurable Key Results

  • Identify 3 to 5 key results for each objective to measure progress.

  • Ensure key results are quantitative, specific, realistic, and challenging.

Key Results Structure: Increase [metric] [from baseline] [to target] [by when].Example: Increase [daily active users] [from 100,000] [to 120,000] [by the end of the quarter].

Step 4: Ensure Alignment

  • Ensure each team’s or individual’s OKRs align with the organization’s top-level objectives.

  • Maintain a clear line of sight from company-level OKRs down to team and individual OKRs.

Step 5: Communicate and Cascade

  • Communicate the OKRs throughout the organization.

  • Cascade OKRs from top-level leadership to teams and individuals, ensuring alignment at every level.

Step 6: Regularly Review and Update

  • Schedule regular check-ins to review progress toward key results.

  • Adjust OKRs as needed based on changing circumstances or feedback.

Step 7: Celebrate Achievements

  • Celebrate successes and achievements when key results are met or exceeded.

  • Recognition and rewards can boost motivation and morale.

Step 8: Learn and Iterate

  • After each OKR cycle, conduct a retrospective to analyze what worked and what didn’t.

  • Use these insights to improve the next set of OKRs.

Predefined Text Structure for Objectives and Key Results:

Objective:

  • Start with an action verb.

  • Clearly state what you want to achieve.

  • Specify the desired outcome.

  • Make it time-bound if possible.

Key Results:

  • Begin with the action verb "Increase," "Reduce," "Achieve," etc.

  • State the specific metric you're measuring.

  • Provide the starting baseline or current value.

  • Set the target value or goal.

  • Specify the timeframe or deadline for achieving the key result.

OKRs vs KPIs

OKRs (Objectives and Key Results):

  • OKRs focus on specific, time-bound objectives that are aspirational and challenging.

  • Key Results provide clear, measurable outcomes that define success.

  • They are outcome-oriented and encourage a results-driven approach.

  • OKRs are often used for setting strategic goals and priorities.

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators):

  • KPIs are specific metrics used to track ongoing performance.

  • They are typically based on historical data and provide insights into current performance.

  • KPIs are often used for monitoring day-to-day operations and overall health of a business.

  • They are less focused on setting specific, time-bound goals and more on continuous measurement.

Example

OKRs (Objectives and Key Results):

  • Objective: Increase Player Engagement

Key Result 1: Increase daily active users (DAU) by 20% in the next quarter.

Key Result 2: Boost average session duration by 15% within six months.

Key Result 3: Achieve a 30% increase in in-app purchases over the next year.

  • Objective: Improve Game Performance

Key Result 1: Decrease crash frequency by 25% in the next month.

Key Result 2: Reduce average lag time to less than 1 second in the next quarter.

Key Result 3: Improve the game's app store rating to 4.5 stars within six months.

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators):

  • KPI 1: Daily Active Users (DAU)

Measurement: The number of unique players who log in daily.

Benchmark: Currently at 100,000 DAU.

Target: Increase to 120,000 DAU.

  • KPI 2: Average Session Duration

Measurement: The average time players spend in a game session.

Benchmark: Currently at 20 minutes.

Target: Increase to 23 minutes.

Conclusion

In the fast-paced and ever-evolving world of game development, success hinges on countless variables, making a robust goal-setting framework essential. OKRs, or Objectives and Key Results, are a popular choice for game companies because they provide teams with a clear path to setting ambitious goals, measuring progress rigorously, and adapting swiftly to market changes. Whether you're refining an existing game or launching a new title, OKRs can be your guiding stars.

This article has explored the core principles of OKRs, exemplified their use with practical scenarios, and highlighted the key difference between OKRs and KPIs. While both metrics play a vital role in performance management, OKRs emphasize aspirational objectives and measurable key results, while KPIs provide ongoing performance insights.

So, as you embark on your game development journey, let OKRs be your strategic compass. By understanding the nuanced difference between OKRs and KPIs, you can chart your course with precision and achieve your desired outcomes.

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