Too many measures, not enough space?

A really common problem I see is that at some point, no matter how small you make the graphs and tables, you run out of space to show everything you want to show in a report or dashboard.

What do you do? You can leave stuff out, but that can often unbalance the view you get of your business (imagine measuring “average transaction time” but not “errors”, for example). You can put in more pages, but that can confuse and deter the report users.

A great way round this is use “composite” or “synthetic” KPIs. These are numbers that aren’t physical quantities themselves – like number of calls or number of complaints – but are the relationship between two or more numbers. Sounds a bit strange – not really – you will have definitely seen a few already:

  • Body Mass Index (BMI) shows the relationship between height and weight – giving an indication of obesity (albeit not perfectly)
  • Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE – the most common efficiency measure) – a mashup of quality rate, availability  and speed)
  • A level and Degree results – these are simple expression of some fairly complex measures.

There are lots more out there. The beauty is that you can make up your own, although for some reason people seem very shy about doing this. They aren’t complex but can have a few pitfalls for the unwary. I’m writing some training material on this – so let me know if you’d like an early copy to try out.



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