Concept development for the implementation of the agile management system Objectives and Key Results (OKR) in small and medium sized companies

The aim of the OKReady research project is to develop a concept for introducing the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) agile management system in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). OKR provide an effective way to improve prioritization capability as well as communication and transparency in the company to strengthen employee engagement. OKR enables SMEs to align the activities of their employees with a common vision and to transparently map corporate goals across all hierarchical levels.

Initial situation

In German SMEs, four out of five digitization projects fail. Although small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are keen to initiate a large number of pilot digitization projects, these are often carried out in isolation from one another. This is often because agreed goals are not communicated transparently enough and resources are not pooled effectively enough. Faced with these problems, more and more SMEs are seeking business transformation that will drive digitization, make the company more attractive to digital-savvy professionals, and improve management responsiveness.

Solution approach

The management systems used play a key role here, with conventional management systems quickly reaching their limits in this context because they are too rigid and inert to ensure the necessary responsiveness. The increased choice of an agile management system such as Objectives and Key Results represents a trend. In the meantime, a large number of well-known companies in Germany are also working with OKR. In addition to young companies such as Mymuesli, traditional companies such as RWE also use the management method.

Expected results and benefits for the target group

OKR is an agile management system that improves prioritization capabilities as well as communication and transparency within the company, measures performance more clearly, and strengthens employee engagement to support the achievement of corporate goals. It is striking that, after extensive research, SMEs from the manufacturing industry have so far only sporadically worked with OKR. The project develops a concept for the introduction of OKR in SMEs to provide an effective way to improve prioritization capability as well as communication and transparency in the company, to measure performance more clearly and to strengthen employee engagement.

Topic Area

  • Business Transformation

Research Focus

  • Business Transformation Management

FIR Navigator

  • Modern Leadership Systems
  • JRF Guiding Topic

    • Society & Digitization


    Funding no.
    21740 N
    Project homepage
    Funding information

    The IGF project 21740 N of the Research Association FIR e. V. at RWTH Aachen University, Campus-Boulevard 55, 52074 Aachen, is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) via the AiF within the framework of the program for the promotion of joint industrial research (IGF) on the basis of a resolution of the German Bundestag.