Qualitative vs. quantitative KR
2 min read

Qualitative vs. quantitative KR

To better determine the progress of your KR, you must first understand whether your KR is qualitative or quantitative.
Qualitative vs. quantitative KR

(Note: this article would be easier to understand if you already read this one)

There are 2 types of Key Result:

  1. Quantitative – the KR contains specific numbers that you want to achieve. For example: 10% increase in job offer acceptance rate, 2% monthly churn rate, 50 new merchants by the end of Q1.
  2. Qualitative – the KR doesn’t contain any specific number to be achieved. For example: the integration timeline from Merchant X is received, the presentation for annual Marketing Conference is approved by the CEO, the root cause and possible solutions to solve refund issues are finalized with the Engineering Team.

Knowing which KR that you’re working on will affect how you’d determine the progress for it during OKR Review.

Quantitative KR

Qualitative KR


5 first-level interviews with the candidates for Sales Manager.

The root cause and possible solutions to solve refund issues are finalized with the Engineering Team.

Judgment toward progress

Purely objective 

Half objective, half subjective 

Because quantitative KR contains specific numbers, it’d be easier to determine the progress. You just need to compare the actual number that you managed to achieve with the ones that had been set at the beginning.

The same cannot be said for qualitative KR. If it’s not achieved 100% (in other words: the actual outcome is not the same as the expected outcome), then determining the progress will be based on the individual’s own judgment. It’s almost guaranteed that the subjectivity will be there.

Thus, when the qualitative KR is not completely achieved, there are 2 recommendations:

  1. A constructive conversation needs to happen within the team. Using the example above, let’s say only the root cause that has been finalized. Thus, she gave 50% for progress. The team is encouraged to give feedback: whether 50% is the right amount for progress, too high, or too low.
  2. The individual is also advisable to write down the self-assessment to give a better context for the rest of her team members.

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