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Approval workflow

Learn how to activate a workflow, send OKRs through it, and view reports

Neli Ivanova avatar
Written by Neli Ivanova
Updated over a week ago


The Approval workflow feature helps you to improve the OKR process. The approval workflow has three stages - Draft, In review, and Approved.

You can enable an approval workflow per session and it applies to all of its objectives. The workflow is enabled once, when you create the session.

IMPORTANT: If you enable the approval workflow for a certain session, you cannot disable it.

Sending for approval is performed on OKR level - although the approval workflow is enabled for all OKRs in a session, each OKR is sent for approval individually.

When you enable the approval workflow of a session, a new Status column appears in the list of objectives, In this status column you can view whether the Approval status is in Draft, in review or Approved.

When an administrator creates a session, the option for Approval workflow is available. If Approval Workflow is not selected at the time of creation an administrator may edit the session to add Approval workflow. Note once added the Approval workflow may not be disabled.

The checkbox ‘Allow anyone to approve OKRs is checked by default, allowing to all users and team members to be approvers. If unchecked, only the shortlist of preselected users in the Reviewers selector will be eligible for approvers.

The checkbox ‘Prevent owners from approving their OKRs.’ is unchecked by default, ensuring that owners have the authority to approve their own OKRs unless explicitly enabled.

When the checkbox ‘Prevent owners from approving their own OKRs’ is enabled, individuals and team members cannot approve their own OKRs. To allow the team manager to approve team OKRs, include them in the list of reviewers.

If both checkboxes, ‘Prevent owners from approving their OKRs’ and ‘Allow anyone to approve OKRs’, are checked, all users except the owners will be eligible to approve individual OKRs. Only team managers and individuals not belonging to the team will be eligible to approve teams’ OKRs.


  • To be able to send an OKR for approval, the session must have active approval workflow.

  • To turn on approval workflow for a session, you must be administrator or have custom related permissions.

  • To be able to send an OKR for review, you must be an objective or KR owner.

  • To be able to approve an OKR, you must be set as reviewer by the OKR owner.

Workflow statuses

During the approval workflow, each OKR has three statuses:

  • Draft
    The OKR is in draft, until you think it is ready. After that, send it for approval.
    The owner of the objective is responsible for sending it for approval. Once a new OKR is created It will display as follows.

    Once the user clicks on send for approval, the follow window will populate. Depending on the setup it will require the user to select one or two reviewers. The following is an example for one reviewer.

  • Select a reviewer and then Send for approval.

  • In review
    The OKR is pending for review and approval. At this stage, the OKR is locked and the owner cannot make any changes. The reviewers are responsible for approving or declining it. When the user submits the okr for approval the following will display.

    While in review the submitter has the option to Withdraw the OKR.

The reviewer will see the following screen.

  • Approved
    The OKR is ready to start the tracking progress and to be updated regularly. If the you wants to make changes to the OKR, you must withdraw it and go through the approval workflow again.

NOTE: Administrators are allowed to skip the workflow.

Customize approval workflow

After you turn on the approval workflow, you can choose to customize it. This option allows you to select if certain OKR fields should be excluded from the workflow, i.e they can be edited even after the OKR has been sent for approval.

Use case: You have created a custom field "Blockers" and would like users to update it as the session progresses.

The workflow can be customized either when the session is created or at a later stage by clicking on "Edit session".

Perform the following to customize the workflow:

  1. When creating/editing the session, after you've turned on Approval workflow, notice two options appear underneath it - Apply to "All field" or "Selected fields"

  2. Click on "Selected fields", followed by a click on "Edit selection"

  3. A pop-up window will open. Fields can be excluded from the workflow both on Objective or Key Result level

    a. To exclude fields on Objective level - unselect the ones you like from the list

    b. To exclude fields on Key Result level - expand the "Key Result" section and unselect the ones you like from the list

  4. Once done, click "Apply"

  5. You'll be taken back to the Session's form, click on "Create/Edit session" and the changes will be saved

Draft OKRs

Once you create and save a new objective, together with its key results and alignment to other objectives, it is automatically saved in status Draft.

The next step is to send the OKR for review, get it approved or declined, and get feedback.

NOTE: When you open a draft OKR for editing, in the toolbar it is marked with the DRAFT tag and the Send for approval button appears.

Send OKRs for approval

Only the objective owner can send an OKR for approval and choose reviewers.

NOTE: If the objective is owned by a team, any team member, including the manager, can send the OKR for approval.

To send a draft OKR for approval, perform the following:

  1. In the navigation pane, under OKRs, click All sessions.

  2. Click the session where the OKR is

  3. Click the OKR that is in status Draft and you want to send it for approval.

  4. Select reviewers for this objective.
    To do this, in the toolbar, next to the DRAFT tag, click the avatar.
    If the minimum required reviewers for the workflow is two, there are two avatars.

  5. Click Required, select one or more reviewers, and click Select user.

  6. When finished selecting reviewers, click Send for approval.

    The status tag in the toolbar changes to IN REVIEW.

  7. Navigate back to the list of OKRs.

Approve OKRs

If you have been selected as reviewer of an OKR, you will receive notification via email and in notifications in the Quantive Results account.

To approve an objective, perform the following:

  1. In the bottom of the navigation pane, click Notifications.

    Alternatively, open the email that you have registered in Quantive Results.

  2. Click the notification requesting the approval.

  3. Click View objective.

  4. In the toolbar, click Approve or Decline.

  5. Enter your comments.
    The comment that you enter appears in the OKRs Comments section.

  6. Click Approve or Decline, respectively.
    In the toolbar, the status of the OKR changes to APPROVED, if you have approved it or to DRAFT, if you have declined it.

Withdraw OKRs

When your OKR is sent for review, but you need to edit it or its key results, you must withdraw your OKR, before being able to modify it. Afterwards, you must send it for approval again.

To do this, perform the following:

  1. In the navigation pane, under OKRs, click All sessions.

  2. Click the session where the OKR is.

  3. Click the OKR that is in status In review that you want to modify.

  4. In the toolbar, click Withdraw.

  5. Confirm the withdrawal.

  6. The status of the OKR becomes DRAFT.

  7. When finished with your changes, send the OKR for approval again, using the procedure above.

NOTE: The difference between declining and withdrawing an OKR is that declining an OKR is done by the reviewer with a comment, while withdrawing is an action performed by the owner of the objective and it does not include a comment option. When either one of the actions is performed, the OKR status changes to Draft.

Approval progress

Quantive Results is a sophisticated data-driven tool. As such, you can always keep track of data and rely on important information when it comes to the OKRs process in your company.

You can find statistics for your company's OKRs approval process in the following way:

  1. In the navigation pane, under OKRs, click All sessions.

  2. In the list of sessions, click the session whose statistics you want to check.

  3. Click the Approval progress tab.

The approval progress statistics list the following:

  • OKRs Approval Process

    • Number of approved OKRs

    • Number of OKRs pending approval

    • Number of OKRs in draft

  • Reviewers with Pending OKRs

  • Owners with OKRs in Draft

  • Average speed

  • Alignment

    • Percentage of top level OKRs

    • Number of top-level OKRs

    • Number of OKRs aligned to a different session

  • View our related article on how to track Approval progress statistics

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