Align an objective with a parent objective

If the 'Enable aligned objectives' option is turned on in your company settings, you can choose to align an objective with a parent objective— indicating that the objective is a crucial part of the parent objective's progress. If you are creating an objective and don't see this option enabled, reach out to one of your account administrators.  

What is the point of aligning objectives? It can take It can take 4–5 years to set up goals that cascade from the top down, which is way too slow for the normal pace of business. Instead, 15Five's Objectives feature enables company-wide and department objectives to be set at the top quarterly or semi-annually, followed by individuals creating and aligning their own objectives— saving time and increasing efficiency.

In this article, you will learn...

Access and availability

⛔️ Required access to Objectives.
👥 This article is relevant to all roles.
📦 This feature is available in the Perform, Legacy Focus, and Total Platform pricing packages.



If you want to align an objective you already created with a parent objective, open the objective for editing and align it by following the steps in this article.

Create an aligned objective



A child objective's start and end dates must be the same as or fall within the parent objective's dates.

  1. Click on Objectives in 15Five's main, left-hand navigation.
  2. You will land on the Objectives Dashboard. From here, click the Create a new objective button.
  3. Fill out the details of your objective. When you reach the "Align with a parent objective" option, click into the 'Select an objective' field.Screen_Shot_2021-04-19_at_11.59.22_AM.png
  4. Your manager's objective(s) will appear at the top of the list, as this is the logical structure of the OKR methodology. Following your manager's objectives, all other objectives will be listed in alphabetical order by the title of the objective. You can also use the Filter by button to filter objective options by objective type and/or owner.
  5. Once aligned, decide whether you want the objective to impact the progress of the parent objective or not. If you select the "This objective impacts the parent objective's progress" option, that means that any updates made to the objective will automatically update the progress of the parent objective.
  6. Finish filling out all other fields. If editing an existing objective, make sure all fields are correct before saving the updates.
  7. Publish your objective by clicking the Create objective button. 

Blog post 🕺: Advice On How To Rollout OKR Software To Your Entire Company

Impact of child objectives on parent objective progress

An objective can have 1) key results and 2) child objectives. All key results and child objectives that are set to impact the progress of the parent objective will equally impact the progress of the parent objective. There is no way to create key results and child objectives with different weights.

Let's say you have one company-wide objective with one key result and four child objectives owned by various team members, all set to impact the parent objective's progress. Each child objective/team member would contribute to 20% of the completion of the company-wide objective, and the key result itself would also contribute 20% to the total completion.

If you like numbers, like the nitty-gritty, like taking it a step further, keep reading. What if you have three key results and two child objectives whose progress impacts the parent?

  • We have 5 items that are contributing to the progress of the parent objective- each contributes 20% to the total progress.
  • One key result is measured by complete/not complete. That key result is complete. This key result contributes 100% of 20% to the parent objective OR 20%.
  • The second key result is measured by %, starting value= 0% target value= 100%. That key result is 35% complete. This key result contributes 35% of 20% to the parent objective OR 7%.
  • The third key result is measured by #, starting value 15 target value 50. That key result is currently at 42. Progress is 42-15=27. Total progress needed is 50-15=35. This key result is 77% complete (27/35=77%). Ultimately, this key result contributes 77% of 20% to the parent objective OR 15%.
  • One child objective is 75% complete. This objective contributes 75% of 20% to the parent objective OR 15%.
  • The other child objective is 10% complete. This objective contributes 10% of 20% to the parent objective OR 2%.
  • 20%+7%+15%+15%+2%= 59% total progress for the parent objective

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