In this paper we are concerned with the performance of stock option contracts in the provision of managerial incentives. In our simple framework, we restrict the space of contracts available to the principal to those conformed by a fixed payment and a package of call options on the firm's stock. We then offer a characterization of optimal stock option compensation schemes. As compared to the fixed payment and the option grant, we find that the strike price plays an intermediate role in the provision of insurance and incentives. We also develop some efficient algorithms for the computation of optimal contracts in which the observable outcome is drawn from a continuous distribution. These algorithms are useful to address some important issues such as the calibration of a principal-agent model, the degree of risk aversion compatible with current compensation schemes, and the performance of stock option contracts.