We scored ourselves 85% on the Q4 OKR. We did not complete the key results, but the team worked very hard, and it would be unfair to them to set it to zero.
Successful companies and product teams know: the “a for effort” doesn’t move the needle. Effort without results doesn’t create more customer value, doesn’t bring more cash in the bank. And having a culture where effort and not outcome are valued doesn’t set up a team for success.
This doesn’t mean that if the result is not there, it’s a failure. Mistakes will be made and learning from mistakes is necessary for improvement. But you will only learn from mistakes if you recognize them, celebrate them and improve. Not if you give mistakes a pumped-up score, and commemorate the a for effort.