What would happen if I didn't achieve my Key Result?

OKR is all about planning and execution. Despite our best effort, in some cases, there were Key Results that we simply could not achieve (or we could only achieve partially) in a particular cadence. When that happened, there were 2 questions that people often asked: would it be okay if my individual KR was not achieved? And what would happen to the unachieved KR?

Let's answer the questions one by one.

Question 1: would it be okay if my individual KR was not achieved?

During OKR Review, everyone is expected to explain the score and the reasoning for each of their Key Results. While the score is important, what’s more important is the reasoning. Thus, the latter would play an important part in answering this question. In other words, it’d be better to examine this on a contextual basis.

Question 2: what would happen to that KR?

There are 3 possible alternatives for the unachieved KR:

A. Carrying it over to the next cadence

When you're creating individual OKR, be it weekly or bi-weekly, please note that the priorities for each cadence can be different, depending on the timeline and the overall goals that we're aiming for. Thus, you may choose this alternative only if the unachieved KR is still relevant to be worked on in the next cadence.

B. Carrying it over to another cadence

If the unachieved KR does not fit with the priorities on the next cadence, then perhaps it'd be better to park the KR for now and pick it up later on another cadence when it's relevant.

C. Recording it as a task for the next/another cadence

In some cases, some or the majority of work in regards to the unachieved KR has been done and you are only left with a little work. In that scenario, what's left for you to do should be recorded as a task, instead of a KR. Then you can use the guidelines from the first 2 alternatives above to determine when you should work on that task.

(Note: some teams choose not to write their task on the OKR Dashboard. In this case, the DRI must communicate these changes – i.e recording the unachieved KR as a task – to the team lead during OKR Setup)


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