April 24

Stop Using OKRs & KPIs and Shift to OGSMs


There’s a trend in the tech industry toward OKRs for goal alignment. And while OKRs are good, they’re not great. They try to skip directly from objectives to results and don’t flow downward into the organization well. OKRs are helpful but could be better.

The OGSM model is copped from the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. (You know, little companies like P&G, Johnson & Johnson, Gillette, etc.) Here’s how it works:

OGSM = Objectives + Goals +Strategies +Measures

The “What”

Objectives (words)

What do you want to achieve? This is your objective. Here are some examples:

  • double monthly active users (MAU)
  • get funded
  • launch our prototype

Goals (numbers)

Goals are how you measure your progress toward the objective.

  • 2 Million MAU by January 1, 2018
  • $6 Million in funding
  • prototype in app store and >50 users

The “How”

Strategies (words)

Your strategies articulate how you’ll achieve your goals.

  • triple traffic to our website
  • double conversion rate (CR)
  • make multiple versions of our pitch deck
  • run pitch deck design by our angel investors and get feedback/concerns
  • set up meetings with VCs
  • build pre-launch landing page to collect emails
  • set up iTunes Connect and Google Play Publisher accounts

Measures (numbers)

How will you know when you’ve achieved your goals?

  • 3,000 weekly unique visitors to our site
  • 6% conversion rate
  • 3 versions of our pitch deck that we can test
  • 5 meetings with our angels to get deck feedback
  • >20 VC meetings scheduled
  • >500 unique visitors to our pre-launch landing page
  • iTunes Connect & Google Play accounts set up (yes/no)

Next Steps

This is where the “official” OGSM model stops but we can take it a little further. The next natural step is to determine the tactics or “levers” you can pull to hit the measures above.

Tactics / Levers

This is where the rubber really hits the road. The words → numbers approach is perfect for applying the business’ top-level objectives into the deeper levels of the organization. For example, the CMO’s Strategy (e.g., “triple traffic to our website”) becomes the digital marketer’s Objective. She can then create her own more granular OGSM model from there and determine the levers she wants to pull to reach it (e.g., PPC ads, social media marketing, content marketing, etc.).

What It Looks Like

Sample OGSM table
A quick and dirty example of how an OGSM might look for a software startup.

OGSM aligns everyone’s priorities toward the same high-level business objectives. Everyone within the organization has a clear perspective of how their day-to-day work rolls up to the larger company objective.

Was this helpful?

Are you using a version of this at your company? How has it worked for you?

Any suggestions for improvement?

Please add a comment below with your thoughts.


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  1. Would like to know more. We are using OKRs. Am aware of OGSM however does it make sense to shift ?

    1. OKRs are great, they’ll always have a place, but I think OGSM is more decomposable into each individual org. within a company, even down to the individual level.

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