The Wrong Way to Plan a KPI Project

The project team gets together and sets the scope of their KPI project. They outline the steps that need to be followed. They specify how much time to allow for each step. They define the report to be delivered at the end of the project. Then they call for quotes from KPI consultants. And even though this hasn’t worked in the past, they wonder why it doesn’t work again.

The typical KPI project plan that I see most often contains sections that scope the project like this:

Gather Data: about current industry reports and measures, current internal data collection and measures used, and user needs and preferences.
Create Framework: about what measures should be used, and how they should relate to goals or outcomes.
Provide Report: about recommended measures, the data dictionary, report designs, and future ideas.
Methodology: about the approach to take, generally to follow something trivial like the SMART framework.
Timing: about the number, length, and purpose of workshops to be conducted, who the people are to be involved, and deadlines.

This typical approach is riddled with assumptions, many of which are wrong. And it will only attract consultants who are merely facilitators, and only think they know about how to develop meaningful performance measures.

Assumption 1: The industry already has the answer.
This is the laziest way to decide what to measure: what is everyone else like us measuring? So few people take the harder but more successful way: what do we really need to measure, as evidence of our unique strategy? The industry doesn’t have the answer. Just because a measure is relevant to an industry, doesn’t mean it’s relevant to your organisation, right now. And just because the industry is measuring something, doesn’t automatically make it a good measure (or even a real measure).

At best, what the industry is measuring (and even what you’re already measuring) could build your list of potential measures. But to sort that list, you need to understand the results you want the measures for, in order to filter those measures to the few that are most relevant and feasible for you.

Assumption 2: KPI stakeholders know what they need.
If a consultant is needed to develop KPIs, it means the users of KPIs have no idea what they need. If they knew, they’d already have it. Or the project should be about data collection, not measure selection. People don’t know what to measure, because they don’t know how to design evidence of their most important – and usually intangible or complex – performance goals. Asking them won’t help.

Stakeholders – and not just users of the KPIs – need to be involved in two tasks specifically, and neither of these tasks is a consultation about their requirements.

Education about what good performance measurement is, and how to develop good measures. Most people don’t know how to design meaningful measures.
Implementing what they’ve learned to design the measures they need. This is the only way they will ‘own’ the chosen measures.

Assumption 3: A few half-day workshops is enough time.
Performance measure design is a very hard thing to think about, when you’re not good at it yet. In a culture where meetings are usually a waste of time and people are incredibly busy, workshops for KPIs are kept as short as possible. They allow for little more than brainstorming. And deadlines are usually way too tight, because the effort to get buy-in and to get data are underestimated.

But trying to save time in the measure design phase creates more time that is wasted, later. That’s because measures are chose that aren’t useful, people haven’t really bought into them, or they can’t be brought to life.

Assumption 4: Measurement is about measures.
Typical KPI projects put most of the effort into finding measures. Sure, they might start with a list of goals or a specific program or process that the measures are for. But the attention goes to answering the question “what could we measure?” And they seek to answer this question through industry research, internal stocktaking, and user consultation.

The problem with this is that a very important question is never asked. And whenever that important question isn’t asked and isn’t answered, the wrong measures are chosen for the results we want to measure. This very important question is “how would we recognise the results we want if they were happening now?” If we can’t answer this question, we don’t really understand why we need measures.

What does a KPI project scope need?
To avoid repeating the same mistakes and wasting even more time in finding the right measures, KPI projects need to include these:

A deliberate measure development methodology (no brainstorming). Ask consultants to explain theirs.
A step to make sure results are measurable before choosing measures.
Realistic timeframes for implementing the deliberate methodology.
The owners and users of the measures being trained in how to use the deliberate methodology.
The owners and users of the measures participating in the selection of measures, using the deliberate methodology.

Lean Management for Small Business

I’ve been spending more time thinking of quality. Quality as I define it is anything that impacts stakeholders. Misfiling a document so that a bill is paid late or customer order isn’t properly fulfilled are examples of quality issues as I define them.

The root cause of quality issues is the process. Business owners want predictable, high quality outcomes. The only way to achieve predictable outcomes is to have a repeatable process. Recently I worked with a company that had a “one-touch” customer policy. This policy was meant to ensure each customer received their product as they wanted it; color, size, correct price, etc. The problem with the one-touch policy is it had 27 steps that needed to be performed by an individual person, in a high-stress environment, as the product was being handed to the customer. The process was so complex that it was unrealistic to expect consistent outcomes. Modern quality standards are measured in parts per million or billion, the quality standards for this company was measured in parts per hundred.

Improving your business process will improve stakeholder satisfaction; business process improvements will benefit both the business and the customer. Often times it’s beneficial to work a problem backwards, starting with the desired outcome. I did this recently with my daughter, she knows the due date of a project so we worked her schedule backwards to set up milestones that ensured she will complete her project on time and to a standard she is accustom. The company with the 27 step on-touch process, it too was worked backwards starting with the desired outcome.

The next step is to identify the current process. The a-ha moments that result from this exercise are frequent. I did this when I owned a manufacturing company. I found that a document was being photocopied five times and put into five different files and then used by five different people. The problems with that scenario is that five people were working on the same project using five different files that invariably had differing information, status updates were not share equally, some team members had notes germane to the workload, etc. This was a quality roadblock.

Now is the time to identify the baseline performance of your company. Quantifying bottlenecks, resource allocation, etc. all impact outcomes. What impact do these issues have on the company in terms of time, costs, etc.? How much improvement do you need and how much improvement can you expect?

Creating an improved process must include identifying the metrics that will be monitored to ensure consistent, desired outcomes. Metrics also will help you identify bottlenecks, changing customer demands and other insights helpful to the efficient and profitable management of your company. Efficient business processes are the key to creating a company that is responsive to customer demands and business health.

Goals Are Dreams With Deadlines for the Project Managers

The project manager is one of the most creative and innovative people. They work in a systematic manner while carrying out the project work in terms of lead, and goal based who understand what is in common and gathers with manpower and work for the common goal of the organization whereas project management is a process, application, methods, and experience to achieve certain objectives of the organization.

Projects are separate to the business world, requiring the people to come together to focus on the objectives, in this way an effective teamwork is established. A good project manager is the one who work well under pressure and bring about the change in the whole management process by its behavior, work, and expertise in skills to bring about the dynamic change in the environment.

Responsibilities and skills of the project manager to be remembered –

• The vision of work-An effective project executive is the one who is having a vision of where to go and articulate the project undertook. They also offer opportunities to the stakeholder to have the same view as they are having for the success of the project.

• Good Communication- Communication lacking can take to the downfall of the organization. The project manager should possess the good communication skills to link with the organization. They must discuss on the different aspects of the project.

• Integrity- The project executive is the one from whom loyalty in their work is required most. They can set a great example to other and motivate others to follow it and work for the welfare of the organization.

• Team Building- The project executive needs a good team builder who work and guide the other for functioning of the project work in the right away and all the peoples according to their skills and motivates in a right direction to set an example to other companies and follow the steps of the project manager.

• Problem- solving – The project executive is the one who first looks at the weak points coming in the initial steps of implementing and planning of the projects. He should seat with his stakeholders and discuss on all the problems. Trust building is most required to solve the problems.

A Project Coordinator is the one who works for the departmental activities, arranged the meeting needed to bring the company upward and provide a right direction to the staff members.

The role of the project coordinator include-

• Accomplish the work requirement by orienting, training, assigning, scheduling and coaching the co- workers and coordinators.

• Meet the cost standards by monitoring the expenses, implementing budget problems.

Project managers are the one who are required to get used to the latest technological devices to give his/her work the width to expand in the larger area his/her ideas to develop them to give a direction to the employed managers and get their feedback and make them get used with the latest technologies in it accordingly. The ratings help the top-level managers to select the best manager based on his/her expertise and which is helpful to develop his/her skills to be selected in them top of the management process.

Lastly, we can conclude by saying that user interface devices in terms of advanced technological use all around are helping many project managers to build a great life ahead by use of latest technologies and avail different benefits from it in terms of project management.

Sahil Prajapati is a writer with keen interest in different areas and also is a good reader with varieties of subjects. He really likes to write off college and universities which benefit the young age group students.