NCT vs OKR: Which Is Better?

While OKRs offer flexibility, NCTs provide a structured, narrative-driven framework.

NCT vs OKR: Which Is Better?

Setting and achieving strategic goals is fundamental to the success of any organization but comes with its set of challenges.

These challenges necessitate a robust framework that not only encompasses a clear understanding of a company's strategy but also ensures effective communication and precise alignment of tasks.

Traditionally, OKRs have been the go-to methodology for many firms. However, with increasing complexities and the need for more integrated approaches in dynamic environments, alternatives like NCTs are becoming more popular, especially among product-led companies.

Understanding OKRs and NCTs: Foundations of Strategic Planning

OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), first introduced by Andy Grove and popularized by John Doerr, are designed to set ambitious goals with actionable outcomes that align and motivate teams. The structure of OKRs helps in setting clear, measurable indicators of success but often misses deeper strategic connectivity.

  • Objective: Define a significant and inspirational goal.
  • Key Results: Set 3-5 measurable steps that indicate achievement of the objective.

NCTs (Narrative, Commitments, Tasks), on the other hand, offer a narrative-driven framework that ties daily tasks directly to strategic goals. This approach is beneficial for teams needing a clear storyline that connects their everyday work to broader business objectives.

  • Narrative: Describes what the team aims to achieve and why it's essential now.
  • Commitments: Specifies measurable outcomes that demonstrate progress towards the narrative.
  • Tasks: Details the actions required to fulfill commitments, adaptable as priorities evolve.

Comparative Analysis: NCTs vs OKRs in Product-Led Environments

The core of the debate between OKRs and NCTs lies in their application to real-world business scenarios, particularly in product-led companies.

Advantages of NCTs:

  • Strategic Alignment: NCTs provide a clear linkage between day-to-day operations and long-term strategic goals.
  • Flexibility and Clarity: By defining narratives, NCTs allow teams to understand the purpose behind their tasks, fostering a deeper commitment to the organizational vision.

Challenges with OKRs:

  • Vagueness and Complexity: OKRs can sometimes be too broad or complex, leaving teams without a clear direction.
  • Lack of Depth: Failing to convey the "why" behind goals, OKRs might not fully engage teams or clarify how their tasks affect broader business outcomes.

Illustrative Examples:

  1. Tech Startup Aiming to Innovate: An NCT approach could involve a narrative focused on dominating the smart home market by integrating deeper AI, with commitments linked to specific technological enhancements and product launches.
  2. Software Company Scaling Up: Using OKRs, a company may aim to increase market share through defined key results like customer acquisition targets and product development milestones.

What Exactly are NCTs Examples?

Similar to OKRs, NCTs help companies set and execute goals within typical business quarters. As explained above, the approach uses narratives, commitments, and tasks to seamlessly connect strategy to execution, aiming to bring clarity to both the process and the goals themselves.

Narratives tell the story of what the team aims to achieve and why it’s crucial now, thus linking the goal to broader business strategies. This narrative-driven approach is particularly beneficial in product-led environments where aligning product development with business outcomes is key.

Example Narrative:"Our traditional approach is not enough in today’s fast-evolving market. To lead, we must innovate our product lines to meet emerging needs, utilizing cross-platform strategies to engage new demographics effectively."

Commitments are measurable, specific outcomes that demonstrate progress towards the narrative, demanding 100% completion to ensure focused execution.

Example Commitments:

  • Increase user engagement by 30% through innovative features by Q2.
  • Launch two major updates that align with new market demands.

Tasks outline the specific actions required to fulfill commitments, allowing flexibility as priorities evolve throughout the quarter.

Example Tasks:

  • Partner with sustainable suppliers.
  • Revamp the production process to incorporate recycled materials.

Why NCTs May Outshine OKRs for Product-Led Companies

NCTs foster a deeper connection between daily tasks and overarching business goals through compelling narratives. This connection is crucial in product-driven companies where teams are often buried in complex, fast-paced projects. By providing a clear, story-driven pathway, teams can see exactly how their efforts contribute to the company’s success, enhancing engagement and effectiveness.

The Pitfalls of OKRs

OKRs often fall short due to their inherent complexity and the common vagueness of objectives, which can leave teams directionless or misaligned:

  • Vagueness: Objectives can be too broad or abstract, leaving teams uncertain about how their efforts contribute to larger goals.
  • Complexity: Overly ambitious Key Results can demotivate teams, leading to frustration and burnout.
  • Lack of Depth: OKRs often fail to convey the deeper "why" behind goals, making them feel more like checkboxes than parts of a coherent strategy.
  • Execution Challenges: Without clear narratives and committed outcomes, OKRs can become just another set of metrics to track rather than a guide to meaningful action.

These issues can make OKRs seem more like a chore than a tool for success, especially in fast-paced, product-centric environments where adaptability and clarity are key. The disconnect between strategic objectives and actual execution can hinder not just performance but also morale.

NCT Examples That Shine

Let’s look at more examples where NCTs have successfully guided teams:

Narrative: "To dominate the smart home market, we must integrate AI more deeply into our home devices, making them truly intelligent, not just automated."


  • Increase AI capabilities in existing devices by 40% by year-end.
  • Develop two new AI-driven home devices in the next 12 months.


  • Collaborate with AI technology providers for advanced algorithms.
  • Conduct market research to identify most desired AI home features.

Conclusion: Choosing Between NCTs and OKRs

Whether a company chooses OKRs or NCTs, the key to successful strategic execution lies in how well these frameworks are understood, implemented, and embraced across all levels of the organization.

Ritmoo’s platform leverages the strengths of the NCT framework, ensuring that teams not only set meaningful goals but are also well-equipped to achieve them, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and strategic success.

Showcasing NCTs with Ritmoo

Ritmoo utilizes the NCT framework to transform how companies set and achieve goals.
By integrating NCTs, Ritmoo ensures that every team not only understands their objectives but is also equipped to execute them effectively.

Detailed Example Using NCTs:

  • Narrative: "To become leaders in sustainable technology, we must overhaul our product lines to offer eco-friendly options that do not compromise on quality."
  • Commitment 1: Increase the range of eco-friendly products by 50% by the end of the year.
  • Commitment 2: Reduce overall production carbon footprint by 20% in the same period.
  • Tasks:
    • Develop partnerships with sustainable material suppliers.
    • Innovate in recycling technologies within production processes.

Ritmoo not only provides the software to manage these goals but also the strategic guidance to ensure that every level of the organization is aligned and moving forward together.