KPIs vs. OKRs vs. Metrics, Which Is Best To Use?

Still at crossroads on whether to use an OKR or KPI as performance measurements for your new project?

January 3, 2023
Press the button to generate random icebreaker questions.
There are 300 more icebreaker questions at the bottom of the article
How would you describe your job to a five year old?
What season would you be?
What is a weird food you have tried? Would you eat it again?
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Would you go in the mother-ship with aliens if they landed on Earth tomorrow?
What is your favorite season?
Do prefer working from home or the office?
What is your earliest memory of this job?
What is the best thing you have bought so far this year?
What is the earliest book you remember?
If you had to move to another country, which one would you choose?
You are the best criminal mastermind in the world. What crime would you commit if you knew you would get away with it?
What is your favorite movie genre to watch?
What was the last thing you ate?
What person from history would you add to Mount Rushmore?
What is a weird fact you know?
What is your favorite part of working from home?
Were the Spice Girls a good team?
Imagine you can instantly learn any language. Which would you choose?
If you could live in any state, which state would you pick?
Which fictional team is the best team of all time?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
What do you usually eat for a quick lunch?
What simple food will you never eat?
Show us the weirdest thing you have in the room with you right now.
Would you rather stay at a hotel or an AirBNB?
What is your favorite movie genre to watch?
Are you more productive in the morning or at night?
Who is someone in your community that makes a difference?
Who was your most unique pet?
Choose one famous person from history you want on your team during a zombie apocalypse.
What is a good way to give back to the community?
Which song could you listen to over and over again?
Is Hugh Grant funny?
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Would you want to have an imaginary friend today? Did you have one as a child?
What actor or actress would you want to play you in the movie about your life?
What is the best super power?
What is your New Years resolution?
You can only eat one food again for the rest of your life. What is it?
What is the best work holiday?
What is the first gift you remember receiving?
Would you rather join Metallica or Backstreet Boys?
What is the best example of a community you have seen?
What is an easy way to do something nice for someone?
Show us your phone background and tell the story behind why you picked this image.
What was your first job?
Pick any band to play at your funeral.
If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what would you pick?
Which superpower would you give to your arch enemy?
What is the most obscure superpower you would want?
What emoji best describes how you are feeling right now?
If you could live in any country, which country would you pick?
Would you rather live in a city or a town?
What is your favorite holiday?
What is something you accomplished as part of a team?
What is your standard office lunch?
What is your most used phone app?
What is your favorite season?
Have you ever won something as a team?
Imagine you are a professional baseball player. What is your introduction song?
Beach holiday or ski trip?
Have you ever been to a funny comedy show?
Would you rather live at the North Pole or the South Pole?
What is your favorite song to sing?
If you could live in any state, which state would you pick?
Imagine you could teleport anywhere. Where would you go right now?
What is the most unusual job you have heard of?
What was the last thing you ate?
You can visit any fictional time or place. Which would you pick?
What do your family and friends think you do all day?
What movie do you wish you could watch again for the first time?
Show us your most-used emoji.
What was the most unique style or fashion trend you ever embraced?
What movie defined your generation?
You are stranded on a remote desert island. Are you alone or with your worst enemy?
What is your favorite knock-knock joke?
Have you ever told someone Santa is not real?
Do you know how to speak more than one language?
On a scale of 1 – 10, how much of a team player are you?
What is your #1 recommendation in this city?
What is your favorite holiday?
What bucket list item do you most want to check off in the next six months?
What is your favorite mythical creature?
What was the first way you made money?
If you could be great at any Olympic sport, which would it be?
Which song could you listen to over and over again?
When did you start liking/hating mushrooms?
Where is your favorite vacation spot?
Do you take your PTO all at one time, or another way?
Which show do you remember most from your childhood?
Which beverage goes best with pizza?
Would you want to have a personal assistant follow you around everywhere and do what you asked of them?
Have you ever met your idol?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Would you rather live 100 years in the past or 100 years in the future?
What is your hobby?
When you are alone in the car, what volume is the music at?
Imagine you no longer have to work. How would you spend a Tuesday?
What is your favorite type of sandwich?

Performance assessment is a very fundamental aspect of company growth. Every business, at each point in time, should know its level of progress. This awareness helps to identify result-producing strategies and those that are not.

Performance evaluation can be carried out using different methods - OKRs, KPIs and metrics are different options. So, it's essential to know the best method to use in tracking your company’s progress. 

We know that selecting the right method can be challenging due to the peculiarities of the available types. So, it's necessary to understand how to execute each type and who should be responsible for its facilitation. 

This article will explain the differences between these growth indicators, when to use them and how to combine them. 

Let's jump right in!

Is There A Difference Between OKRs And KPIs?

Yes, there's a difference between OKRs and KPIs.

Key performance indicators, KPIs, are applied to ongoing projects while OKRs are best suited for futuristic planning. Basically, OKRs place emphasis on plans, while KPIs focus mainly on the outcome.

Here are some other differences:

  1. Constituents

KPIs are metrics that help indicate or measure the status of a particular project, enabling you promptly take actions when necessary. For instance, a KPI could be the number of cash transactions processed in the last quarter. 

The OKR, on the other hand, could be a combination of objectives such as to be the foremost fintech startup in the region. And a key result will be attaining a retention rate of 85%.

  1. Timeframe

OKRs have timeframes for their implementation. It could be quarterly or annually, while KPIs evaluate projects on an ongoing basis; they are not limited by timeframes.

OKRs are strategic goal-setting frameworks, allowing them to comprise ambitious and bold plans; they are ideal tools for sales and marketing teams.

In addition, OKRs are routinely reviewed to suit current market trends, while KPIs are not always re-evaluated, they are typically applied to another project or plan.

  1. Collaboration

A significant difference is that OKRs are developed collaboratively. OKR development helps to promote employee engagement and employee satisfaction. Team members actively contribute to the crafting of team OKRs, which eventually form the bedrock of the overall company's OKR. 

KPIs, however are pre-determined metrics sometimes defined by employees' inputs. In most cases, they are defined by the company's management. Their essential function is performance evaluation -  Did we achieve this plan?

Are OKRs Metrics?

OKRs are a goal-setting framework, not metrics. Metrics are elements of measurement that can be quantified and can be used to monitor progress within the OKR.

Usually, they are developed by using inputs from data sources. For instance, retention rate is a metric that can be used to track progress towards an objective; 50% retention rate by the end of the second quarter.

Metrics are a way for you to track and monitor your progress towards a specific goal. Put simply, metrics are how you determine if you’re winning or losing. 

OKRs, however, are a combination of objectives and key results. Objectives show the big picture (e.g., increase revenue by $10k), and key results are the specific activities to accomplish those objectives (e.g., increase sales by 10% by increasing conversion rate by 1%).

Is OKR A Replacement For KPI?

An OKR is not a replacement for KPI. It's crucial to track and monitor important aspects of a strategic plan which a KPI can do effectively. And replacing one for the other may have a negative effect on result satisfaction and by extension, company's success.

Here are some similarities and differences of KPIs and OKRs:

  1. Functions

OKR is saying, moving the number of downloads from a thousand in January to ten thousand in December of the same year. And the number of downloads indicates the KPI. 

So, while KPI tells where you are currently, OKR is about where you want to be. 

  1. Definition

OKRs and KPIs perform different functions and play specific roles in the company's overall success. KPIs serve as the platform on which OKRs operate. 

So, the inputs from KPIs tell a lot about whether the company is doing well or not and which aspects of business require urgent attention.

  1. Interdependence

Neither is better than the other in helping to reach the desired goal; they work hand in hand.

What you intend to measure or assess determines which to apply; performance evaluation for a program being rerun with a view of boosting its outcome is done using KPI. An OKR will help to birth an entirely new program.

Can OKRs And KPIs Work Together?

Yes, they can work together. It's good practice to use both OKRs and KPIs to reach a goal.

OKRs and KPIs, when monitored simultaneously, paint a more detailed and extensive overview of the company's state of affairs. This allows information concerning the different aspects of the company's project to be readily available for strategic plans.

The KPI provides a performance evaluation that is broad in nature. This evaluation helps you come up with the different initiatives that can be done to achieve a set goal. And that’s where an OKR comes in - to clearly define a strategic plan and the measurable key results.

Sometimes KPIs become the key results. For instance, if the KPI indicates that sales are lagging, an ambitious OKR can be developed to focus on boosting overall profits. This can be done by geometrically increasing the number of product units sold and the number of sales now serves as the key result.

Subsequently achieving an OKR might require the creation of new KPIs to evaluate the company's performance post-OKR achievement; an OKR can be used to remodify a KPI.

For OKRs and KPIs to work together effectively, regular communication between employees and managers is essential. This entails meeting frequently to discuss progress, highlight opportunities, and identify challenges.

Assembly helps you seamlessly combine your OKRs and KPIs perfectly. Sign up to learn more.


Ultimately, the best way to measure progress is by setting goals. However, identifying the ideal metrics for your business depends on what you're trying to measure.

Whether you use OKRs, KPIs, or metrics, you should set your own goals to determine how to show the impact of those goals on your business. So, any organization with intentions of upscaling must prioritize performance evaluation at all levels of the organization. 

And companies can achieve this by successfully integrating performance measurement in every workflow aspect makes it possible to spot areas requiring changes or improvements.

This strategy results in much better outcomes and, by extension, improves employee and customer satisfaction.

The important thing is not just to know how your company has grown in the past but how it will grow in the future.

It's standard practice to combine OKRs and KPIs in your goal-setting framework; get it right with Assembly. Book a free demo today.

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

Get the foundational knowledge on creating an employee recognition program that boosts employee engagement and helps them feel valued.

Explore Guide
Employee recognition guide