The history of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is incomplete without John Doerr, the author of “Measure What Matters.” He was a salesman at Intel in 1975. He then attended a course at Intel taught by Andy Grove, the OKR inventor. There began the introduction to the theory of OKRs, then called “iMBOs” for “Intel Management by Objectives.” It was Peter Drucker who first popularized management by objectives (MBO), also called management by planning (MBP), in his book, “The Practice of Management.”
Management by objectives refers to defining specific objectives within an organization that management can communicate to the members, post which it determines how to accomplish each objective in sequence. A crucial part of MBO is measuring and comparing an employee’s actual performance with the standards set.
MBO, however, had a few weaknesses that could be discovered later. Andy Grove took the idea of MBO from Peter Drucker and upgraded it with the fresh concept of Key Results (KRs). OKRs thus took birth, with Andy Grove becoming the father of the OKR framework. In 1999, when Kleiner Perkins invested in Google and John Doerr became an advisor to the search engine giant, he introduced OKRs. The idea became popular and was adopted across the then team at Google. Since then, OKRs have been an integral part of Google’s culture and DNA.