What Are The Differences Between OKRs, KPIs, and BSC?

What Are The Differences Between OKRs, KPIs, and BSC?

What are OKRs, KPIs, and BSCs?

Objectives and Key Results (OKR) is a goal-setting framework that aligns a team to achieve positive outcomes with clear objectives and leading metrics (KRs).

A key performance indicator (KPI) is a measurable metric that assesses performance over a period leading to a benchmark.

Balanced Scorecard (BSC) involves a structured process to align an organization’s strategic objectives with performance indicators across four perspectives.

Differences between OKRs, KPIs, and BSCs

What Are The Differences Between OKRs, KPIs, and BSC?

OKR, KPI, and BSC are three distinct frameworks in goal-setting, performance management, and strategic planning. Each has its unique attributes and objectives. 

Here’s a summary of the differences between OKR and KPI compared to BSC.





OKRs set ambitious and inspiring goals with measurable outcomes that show progress.


It measures organizational effectiveness and identify areas for improvement.


It is a strategic planning framework with four perspectives: financial, customer, internal processes, and learning and growth.


OKRs are especially effective in dynamic and rapidly changing environments as they prioritize ambitious and future-oriented goals. 


KPIs primarily focus on monitoring and evaluating specific performance indicators for attaining organizational objectives.


BSC aims to ensure holistic organizational performance without sacrificing other important factors.


OKRs are typically set at various levels within an organization, starting from the top-level company objectives down to individual or team objectives.


KPIs are typically based on historical data and industry benchmarks.


BSCs align efforts with strategy by setting goals and metrics for each perspective, ensuring holistic performance management.


OKRs focus on setting specific, measurable, and ambitious objectives.


KPIs highlight the importance of identifying key metrics that measure the effectiveness of vital business operations.


BSCs take a holistic approach, encompassing financial and non-financial aspects.


OKRs are known for their flexibility and adaptability as they are often adjusted and updated per changing organizational priorities.


KPIs can stay stable and reliable over time but may need adjustments based on performance evaluations or changes in business strategy.


BSCs provide a well-rounded approach and can be customized as needed, but they are generally seen as a more organized and reliable framework.


OKRs align individual and team objectives with company goals.


Their goal is to align performance metrics with strategic objectives, but they may not directly link specific targets to broader goals.


BSCs aim for alignment by ensuring all goals and metrics in each perspective support the overall strategy.

Time horizon

OKRs are usually established for a shorter duration, like every three months or once a year.

Time horizon

KPIs can vary in duration, either short-term or long-term, depending on the specific metric being evaluated.

Time horizon

BSCs are frequently employed for long-term strategic planning, incorporating current and future objectives.

Use cases

Any organization, team, or individual can leverage OKRs to achieve meaningful goals.

Use cases

KPIs are commonly used in different industries and types of businesses to evaluate performance in specific areas.

Use cases

BSCs are used primarily by bigger companies as a comprehensive system to manage and monitor their performance.

Pros of OKRs, KPIs, and BSCs

Each of the frameworks, namely OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), and BSC (Balanced Scorecard) present unique benefits. 

Let’s explore the advantages of each framework.


Focus on ambitious goals

OKRs motivate teams to set ambitious goals and strive for exceptional accomplishments.

Measurable performance

KPIs offer tangible and measurable performance indicators, enabling organizations to monitor real-time progress.

Comprehensive view

The BSC assesses organizational effectiveness by considering financial and non-financial factors across four dimensions: financial, customer, internal processes, and learning and growth.

Alignment across teams

OKRs emphasize alignment of personal and team goals with strategic objectives, ensuring organizational unity.

Pinpoint focus 

KPIs are crucial for organizations to identify and prioritize performance areas that impact strategic objectives.

Strategy alignment

BSCs align goals, metrics, and strategy for comprehensive performance management.


OKRs offer flexibility and can be easily adapted, enabling organizations to respond to shifts in priorities or market conditions swiftly.


KPIs offer valuable information for decision-making, empowering leaders to make well-informed decisions using real-time performance metrics.

Communication and collaboration

BSC promotes communication and teamwork across functions and departments by highlighting interconnections within the business.


Sharing OKRs with the entire organization is a common practice that fosters transparency and helps everyone understand the strategic direction.


Organizations can tailor KPIs to suit their business goals and objectives, making them applicable across various industries.

Long-term perspective

BSC is often used for long-term strategy planning, helping organizations maintain a focus on their broader mission and vision.

Continuous improvement

The OKR process promotes frequent self-reflection and learning, cultivating an environment of constant growth.

Performance monitoring

KPIs allow organizations to track performance at both the individual and organizational levels, promoting accountability.


The BSC provides a structured framework that can be easily adapted to accommodate changing circumstances and evolving strategic priorities.

Cons of OKRs, KPIs, and BSCs

OKRs, KPIs, and BSCs are widely used and effective frameworks for performance management and strategic planning, but they have limitations. 

Here are some drawbacks for each framework:




Potential for short-term focus

  • The short timeframe of OKRs, usually a quarter, may make teams prioritize immediate objectives and overlook long-term strategic goals.

Risk of tunnel vision

  • Relying only on KPIs can limit perspective, as organizations focus solely on quantifiable metrics and overlook other important aspects of performance.

Complexity and implementation challenges

  • Implementing a Balanced Scorecard can be complex, especially for large organizations. It requires a significant commitment of time and resources.


  • The implementation of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) requires a significant cultural shift and can be complex, especially in large organizations. 


  • Over time, KPIs can become outdated or irrelevant, and there’s a danger of clinging to established metrics even when the business environment or strategy shifts.

Overemphasis on metrics

  • Focusing solely on metrics, like KPIs, can overlook important intangible factors crucial to a company’s success.

Lack of context

  • Simply relying on KPIs is insufficient as they do not provide necessary context and comprehension. 

Possible misalignment

  • If the Balanced Scorecard doesn’t align with the organization’s strategy, it won’t provide the desired benefits.

Examples of OKRs, KPIs, and BSCs

Let’s look at examples of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and Balanced Scorecard (BSC) measures across different business areas.

Objective and Key Result (OKR)

Human resources team

Objective: Enhance employee engagement and development.

Key Results:

  • Conduct training sessions for 100% of employees on new skills relevant to their roles.
  • Achieve an 80% or higher employee satisfaction score in the annual employee engagement survey.
  • Implement a mentorship program with a participation rate of at least 70%.

Key performance indicator (KPI)

Customer Service:

  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): A measure of customers’ satisfaction with the products or services.
  • First Response Time: The average time it takes for customer service to respond to a customer inquiry.
  • Resolution Time: The average time it takes to resolve a customer issue or inquiry.

Balanced scorecards (BSC)

Learning and Growth Perspective:

Example Metric: Employee Training Hours

Rationale: Tracks the number of hours employees spend on training, reflecting the organization’s commitment to continuous learning and development.


The blog compares OKR, KPI, and BSC in organizational management. 

It highlights that OKR focuses on motivating objectives and measurable results, KPI on specific performance metrics, and BSC on a well-rounded performance evaluation. 

Organizations choose frameworks based on their needs, sometimes combining elements for a comprehensive approach.

author img

Gaurav Sabharwal


Gaurav is the CEO of JOP (Joy of Performing), an OKR and high-performance enabling platform. With almost two decades of experience in building businesses, he knows what it takes to enable high performance within a team and engage them in the business. He supports organizations globally by becoming their growth partner and helping them build high-performing teams by tackling issues like lack of focus, unclear goals, unaligned teams, lack of funding, no continuous improvement framework, etc. He is a Certified OKR Coach and loves to share helpful resources and address common organizational challenges to help drive team performance. Read More

Author Bio

You may also like