How to Structure Your KPI Project

February 27, 2012 by  Filed under: Management 

Week 1: Get prepared

The theme of Week 1 is to plan your Performance Measure Blueprint project by choosing just a few goals or objectives to start with, forming your Measures Team and laying out the logistics for the next 7 weeks. The PuMP Mind Map activity is a great way to help your Measures Team to feel more confident that measurement can really work this time!

Week 2: Make your strategy measurable

The theme of Week 2 is to decide which specific results are worth measuring. The way we typically write goals or objectives is a huge hindrance in measuring them meaningfully. So we need a fundamental change in the language we use in writing strategy. We use the PuMP Results Mapping technique to make the goals or objectives easier to measure, communicate and cascade throughout the organisation.

Week 3: Design your measures, don’t brainstorm them

The theme of Week 3 is to design measures that give the best evidence of those results you decided were most worth measuring in Week 2. Avoid brainstorming, avoid limiting measures to the data you already have, avoid measuring what you’ve always measured, avoid hiring consultants to tell you what to measure. These approaches don’t produce good measures or good buy-in. We use the practical five-step PuMP Measure Design template instead.

Week 4: Engage stakeholders and build the buy-in

The theme of Week 4 is to hold the space for the broader circle of stakeholders to engage with the measures. Not everyone gets to be actively involved in the selection and development of KPIs, but they need to feel ownership of the KPIs that will impact them, or which they will have an impact on. We use a great method called a PuMP Measure Gallery, which makes it easy and fun for lots of people to contribute to the development of the measures that truly matter.

Week 5: Define the bring-to-life details of your measures

The theme of Week 5 is to define the operational details of your KPIs to make it clear how to implement them (or bring them to life, as I like to say). For each measure, you need to formulate how it is calculated, identify the data you need, and define several other important aspects that will essentially constitute the action plan to make sure the right thing is measured in the right way. We use the PuMP Measure Definition technique to gradually build a Corporate Measure Dictionary.

Week 6: Design useful and usable reports and dashboards

The theme of Week 6 is to design graphs and reports or dashboards that facilitate valid interpretation of the measures and their use in decision making. For example, use line charts for trend information, use bar charts for comparisons between segments or categories, use Pareto charts to focus on the biggest reasons or causes. Reports need to contain all the information that the audience needs to understand the context of the measures, how to interpret what the measures are saying, and how to respond to what the measures are saying. We follow the PuMP Reporting Measures technique, which provides guidelines for the structure, content, formatting, and graph design for useful and usable performance reports.

Week 7: Respond to what your measures are really telling you

The theme of Week 7 is to start looking at your data in a new way, a way that ensures you get the most insight from your KPIs and don’t waste time chasing problems that aren’t there, or missing problems that are there. No more this-month-to-last-month and this-month-to-target comparisons! Fix the root causes of performance results (getting deeper than the symptoms), set targets that encourage continual improvement, and link the improvement cycle back to the planning cycle. We use the PuMP Using Measures technique to respond to the true signals in KPIs.

Week 8: Make performance measurement business-as-usual

Lots of people don’t realise that performance measurement is as disciplined as this, or that each of the PuMP Blueprint steps directly improve the impact that KPIs can have on your organisation’s performance. measurement needs to be a natural part of doing business, but it won’t be natural until the steps are embedded into other management processes like planning, reporting, decision-making and process improvement. This means embedding the PuMP techniques into the appropriate processes so better measurement is automatic.

TAKE ACTION: Take a closer look at your performance measurement process. Can you flowchart it, or is it too adhoc? If you can flowchart it, where does it work well and where should it be improved? Rehearse a new approach using these 8 steps.

Stacey Barr is a specialist in organisational performance measurement, helping corporate planners, business analysts and performance measurement officers confidently facilitate their organisation to create and use meaningful performance measures with lots of buy-in. Sign up for Stacey’s free email tips at and receive a complimentary copy of her renowned e-book “202 Tips for Performance Measurement”.

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