SMART Goals Vs OKR is a prominent discussion right now in the project management field. OKRs and SMART goals are two prominent techniques to set goals or objectives for an organization, project, or individual. Project managers and supervisors regularly adopt SMART Goals when setting effective goals. SMART goals have established a structured framework for targeting efforts and attaining goals since the 1980s.

However, many startups and corporations have adopted the objectives and key results (OKRs) model in recent years. This post will discuss the difference between OKR and SMART goals when to use SMART Goals Vs OKRs, and the pros and downsides of each strategy.

SMART Goals Vs OKR: The Similarities

According to, both are based on the Management by Objectives (MBO) theory. They share the idea of working towards the organizational goal.


  • Both tools are designed to help you define specific goals that will help you achieve commercial and organizational success. 
  • Both frameworks use their unique approaches to achieve the organizational aim. They both share the feature of making the action plan explicit and quantifiable.
  • Both frameworks are informal and do not require any qualifications; they are open-source tools that may be targeted to the needs of the enterprise. 
  • Both frameworks share the goal of completing the task within the time range stated. OKR and SMART goals are similar in that they are specific, measurable, achievable, and time-bound.

SMART Goals Vs OKR: The Differences

OKRs and SMART goals appear alike. Both techniques define goals. However, OKR is considered a more advanced way for company-wide goal-setting.


  • OKRs are designed to propel organizations toward growth and long-term improvement. They function most effectively with a quarterly goal-setting cycle and weekly check-ins to monitor progress and stay on track. On the other hand, SMART objectives are one-time objectives developed for smaller projects that lack a direct or established link to higher-level objectives.
  • Setting SMART objectives is more applicable to smaller teams than to organizational levels. However, OKRs are appropriate for big corporations.
  • OKRs alignment functions both top-down and bottom-up to ensure alignment and ensure that individuals contribute upwards. In contrast, SMART goals are more subjective since they lack a bottom-up component.

Pros and Cons of SMART Goals 


  • Offers guidance and establishes priorities.
  • Your strengths and shortcomings are evaluated.
  • It aids in maintaining concentration on the desired outcome.
  • It identifies the areas where improvement is necessary.
  • It provides a sense of satisfaction as you continue to track your development.
  • It saves time that would otherwise be used on non-goal-oriented activities.


  • It demands strong motivation to succeed.
  • Undue stress, especially when the deadline is approaching.
  • Setting goals can sometimes stifle your creativity in other areas since all of your attention is focused on achieving those goals.

Pros and Cons of OKRs


  • With OKRs, individuals have more freedom to develop objectives and outcomes that contribute to the organization’s overall goals.
  • Key Results are quantifiable; their achievement may be determined. It is easier to measure your progress when you can mark off milestones along the path.


  • While it is admirable that OKRs be developed with participation from all company members, this can be problematic. For instance, if each team establishes its OKRs, alignment with the organization’s key priorities may be compromised.
  • OKRs are reviewed frequently, typically every three or four weeks or every month. These inject some self-reflection into the process of goal setting. It expects you to monitor your progress.
  • An excessive amount of OKRs may be developed by organizations. When you have lofty ambitions, you are tempted to develop extra objectives. However, problems arise when OKRs are misaligned. It is unclear to employees which duties should be prioritized.

SMART Goals Vs OKR: Which One to Use?

Objective goal systems are not for everyone. Some companies may be satisfied with establishing clear expectations for employees without establishing objectives or key results. However, having a mission, vision, and precise goals can help generate a sense of direction.

It would be best to ensure that your goals are SMART and linked with your priorities to get started quickly. Try the OKRs framework if you wish to take things to another level with your team.

Featured Image



Fresco Logo

Fresco is focused on visual collaboration with a mission to expand the possibilities of teamwork online.


Recent Posts

Learn More

Scope creep is a term that refers to the expansion of scope throughout the course of a project. Learn how to avoid it by using Fresco.

A fishbone diagram is a template that breaks down problems in a way that helps teams identify and address the root cause of an issue.

The Agile methodology is a workflow that emphasizes cyclical improvements, collaboration, and frequent adaptation in order to solve problems.

Mind Maps present a unique solution to brainstorming and offer an intuitive structure to help you retain information. Learn more on Fresco.

Stakeholder mapping is the process of identifying, diagramming, and prioritizing stakeholders by analyzing their influence over and interest in a project

Online whiteboards do an incredible job connecting workspaces and engaging people in various collaboration activities. Learn more on Fresco.

Visual collaboration enables people to expand their connection globally, and unlock a world of new capabilities. Read to find out just what is possible.

With the workplace changing permanently, people must adapt to embrace virtual activities. Learn how to optimize your next virtual workshop at Fresco!

What is a Fishbone Diagram? Fishbone diagram (also known as the Ishikawa diagram) is defined as a ‘casual diagram’ methodology that aims to find root

What is Ansoff Matrix? Ansoff Matrix is defined as an enterprise growth planning method that aims to find new growth avenues. These growth avenues are

What is PESTEL Analysis? PESTEL analysis is defined as a business impact study that aims to understand the effects of 6 key external factors, which