The Benefits of Combining OKRs & Scrum: Why & How To Combine Them?

Nov 29, 2022
The Benefits of Combining OKRs & Scrum: Why & How To Combine Them?


Many businesses have used OKRs and Scrum for growth and development. These are independent concepts with targeted goals that can sometimes overlap to solve many organizational problems. Independently, they work for small-, medium-, and large-sized businesses. However, combined, they become a strong management tool used to build a goal-defined corporate environment. But first, let’s review their differences, the need to combine them, and how to proceed successfully. 

What are OKRs?

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is a management concept that targets an organization’s inputs and determines whether it is still aligned with its visions or goals. It has been used in various businesses to drive growth, determine progress, and review performance. It allows teams to work among themselves and others in the organization to achieve clearly defined or measurable goals to satisfy customers’ needs. 

The four events here are:

  • OKR Planning – the point before starting a project where the company head discusses goals with team members. 
  • OKR Check-ins – at the project’s commencement, the company head schedules regular meetings with teams to discuss alignment and new strategies to meet goals. 
  • OKR Review – the company head analyzes or reviews results and confirms if it is any step closer to meeting its vision. 
  • OKR Retrospective – the final part where the company and its team focus on improving key results in the next phase. 

What is Scrum?

Scrum is an Agile project management tool that originally focused on software development. However, this tool has proven effective in various sectors and has helped businesses develop a sense of accountability, transparency, and reliability while meeting clients’ demands. It also develops solutions to complex issues using a straightforward approach. 

The four events here are:

  • Sprint Planning – the point where team members meet, decide, and agree on what needs to be done in the sprint stage.
  • Daily Scrum – a daily brief meeting to discuss input or work progress by every participant.
  • Sprint Review – a general meeting to discuss and review the output or result of the sprint. 
  • Sprint Retrospective – the final point where team members and the company’s head analyze the project and develop ideas for the next sprint using the current template. 

What is the Difference Between OKRs & Scrum?

There are two major differences between OKRs and Scrum/Agile. 

  1. OKR is a management framework used to improve communications among teams in a company and ensure that goals are met. It creates a form of structure in a business, ensuring that everyone, i.e., the team, is working collaboratively to improve the company’s reputation to the public by meeting demands. On the other hand, Scrum is a software development and project management tool that allows a company to focus on what is happening within itself. It reviews inputs and helps in developing strategies to increase productivity or sales. 
  2. OKR gives team members full control over what they can deliver to customers. Scrum, however, only offers limited control as it focuses on what customers want and leverages the team’s strength. 

Why Combine OKRs with Scrum?

OKR is a powerful framework that improves an organization’s Scrum practices. The combination of the duo will set a balance between strategy development for a project and the transparency of work outcomes. It will allow a company to prioritize what is important and focus on improving sectors or segments that will increase output. Ultimately, the organization will meet goals in key results by starting from what end users (or clients) want from the onset. 

How to Combine OKRs with Scrum Successfully? (steps)

Combining an OKR with a Scrum team is a smart idea, but there are steps to follow. 

Step 1 – Reorientate the Scrum team about the new development. The team isn’t focusing on how to solve problems alone (as discovered by customer reviews or feedback) but also integrating its own features to achieve its fundamental goals. 

Step 2 – Ensure that before Sprint planning, there are objectives set to meet the company’s defined goals. And at every stage of project development or execution, there is constant alignment between KRs and Sprint goals. 

Step 3 – During Sprint planning, ensure that the team reviews KRs and focuses on the project backlogs. The consideration of the duo will help a team determine what strategy to use to achieve OKRs. In the process, the development team may not have to use all KRs. 

Step 4 – Review and analyze how far or close the company is in achieving its key results. The Sprint Review stage is the part when to do this. It involves evaluating inputs and outcomes and discovering ways to be on track. 


Here is an example of a combined OKR and Scrum methodology. 

Goal – To become the best online store for fitness wear. 

Focus – Improving the online store’s checkout procedure.

Objective – To redesign the interface between adding products to the cart and checking out, so users will find it easier to use. “How do we find out if it is what they want?” “How do we find out if it solves the problem?” “Does it solve or create more problems?”

Key Result 1 – Measuring the bugs or technical issues during the first quarter and monitoring the number of people who decide to use the new checkout method. 

Backlog Items: Integrating more payment methods, One-click order option. 

Key Result 2 – Study the number of checkouts per day over the next two weeks.  

Backlog Items: Analyzing the acceptance of the new checkout process by returning customers. 


OKR strategy doesn’t make Scrum/Agile redundant; instead, it makes it even more active and effective in businesses. Both frameworks amplify the growth and development of a company, ensuring that it reaches its potential and providers customers or end users with defined features. Without a reasonable doubt, the powerful combo will improve a company’s performance, increase focus, drive sales and promote innovation. 

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