Mark Flaherty (MF): Projects have to be created for them. But naturally you have to estimate the effort that is required to get that data and compare it to the value you will get by having it. Some won’t pass the test. Sometimes you can think of proxies or near-equivalents that you can measure.
Sometimes the answer is a customer survey done on a periodic basis. You won’t have 100% coverage or high frequency, but it’s a good estimate that is better than none at all.
These challenging ones just have to be worked on one at a time, and gradually you’ll get near the end goal. But don’t feel like you have to get to 100% completion, and realize other KPIs will come up over time as the business evolves.
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How do you cope with the evolving needs and desires of business KPI dashboard users?
It will always be the case that after you get the first dashboards out the door, end users will think of other KPIs that could be tracked. Or people will realize that some of the metrics first decided on are not actually the right ones, as it turns out. You have to accept at the project beginning that this is a process. You don’t just come up with the list of key measures in the beginning, and that’s the end of it.
Another point to keep in mind once you’ve delivered the first dashboards is to make their use part of the established corporate management processes. Unless you are using them in a formal repeatable process such as to do business reviews, weekly performance meetings, hold people accountable for results that are reported in them, and check on the action items people are doing to improve the actuals that they see in the KPI dashboard, you won’t benefit from the results of the performance management project.
Another part of the integrating the technology into the management methodology has to be periodically asking questions, are we still measuring the right things? Should we measure other things? Have our priorities changed? It’s not just implementing the technology but marrying that with your management processes.
Also, sometimes the metrics you chose relate to solving a certain problem, and once you have succeeded, you’ll move onto another problem and potentially identify new indicators to follow. In some cases this might mean changing your corporate culture to pay attention to the performance metrics, to be able to adapt, to be agile, to communicate strategies by using the KPIs, align what everyone is doing, and get accountability.