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Andy Groove - Management by Objectives & OKR – 1983 

The book: High Output Management by Andy Grove has a whole section on “Management By Objectives” which, of course, links into project management.

It was Peter Drucker who fist coined the phrase “Management by Objectives” in 1954 and Andy Groove use this phrase to describe “Objectives and Key Results” (OKR).  Objectives and key results (OKR) are a goal-setting framework for defining and tracking objectives and their outcomes.

5 OKR Book 512wwO4mkOL. SX322 BO1204203200 Grove says: “A successful MBO system needs only to answer two questions:

  • Where do I want to go? (The answer provides the Objective)
  • How will I pace myself to see if I’m getting there? (this gives milestones / key results)

Instead of using MBO to control employees, Grove says that MBO is a tool that can be used by employees to help them focus, align their efforts toward a shared goal, and best of all: learn.

Here are some quotes from Andrew Grove’s book on MBO. 

“MBO is largely designed to provide feedback relevant to the specific task at hand; it should tell us how we are doing so we can make adjustments in whatever we are doing if need be.”

“We see a nesting hierarchy of Objectives: if the subordinate’s Objectives are met, the supervisor’s will be as well.”

“Key Results can come in like clockwork, but the Objectives can still be missed. So it is entirely possible for a subordinate to perform well and be rated well even though he missed his specified Objective.”


See the MBO system as an especially useful tool for any person to focus and to pace themselves and know the value they are brining to the organisation, what they have to report on and bring professionalism to relationships with the next management level.  Managers can focus on helping their people reach their objectives and removing obstacles,   

In conclusion, books from 1983 are still enjoyable to read. 

By Frank Turley

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