How Often Should KPIs Be Reviewed? 3 Essential Questions for Reviewing KPIs

Lego characters performing surgery in AI-generated artwork, symbolizing the precision and regular assessment needed in answering 'how often should KPIs be reviewed'

When it comes to managing and reviewing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), figuring out how often to check them is just as crucial as the measures themselves. Not all KPIs are created equal, and effectively answering the question of how often should KPIs be reviewed can make a big difference to your decision-making and overall business health. To explain this, let's look at a scenario that might seem a bit out of the ordinary for business talk, but it makes the point very well: a surgical operation.

How Often Should KPIs Be Reviewed? Finding the Right Rhythm

Imagine you're a surgeon. In front of you is a patient needing a complex procedure. For the surgery to go well, you'll monitor several vital signs, but let's zero in on two: the patient's weight and heart rate. Both are crucial but need different levels of attention.

First up is the patient's weight. It's only measured once before the surgery because it isn't likely to change much during the procedure. But that one measurement is vital for calculating the anesthesia dosage. Get it wrong, and it could be disastrous. This KPI is like the stable, foundational metrics in business that don't need frequent updates but are still critical.

Then there's the patient's heart rate. Unlike weight, this needs continuous monitoring because it can cause death within minutes. In the business world, it's like tracking sales during a busy holiday season or watching web traffic during a big marketing campaign. These KPIs need real-time data so you can make swift decisions.

Here's the key takeaway: the frequency of reviewing KPIs should match the potential rate of change in the process being measured. With unstable, highly variable, processes you need to ensure the frequency of measurement allows rapid detection of changes. For dynamic and critical operations, you need to check KPIs more often than the stable ones.


3 Essential Questions for Reviewing KPIs

At Made to Measure KPIs, we've seen businesses fall into the trap of reviewing KPIs just because the meeting schedule says it's time. That approach might mean you're either not watching closely enough or wasting resources on over-monitoring. Instead, for each KPI, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. How important is the underlying element you're measuring? If it's vital to your operations, it will likely need closer monitoring.
  2. How quickly can things go wrong with this element? If rapid changes could cause big problems, more frequent scrutiny is crucial.
  3. How fast can you fix the issue once it's spotted? If you can address it quickly and effectively, you might be able to monitor less frequently, but quick detection is still essential.

Let's bring this back to business:

  • Financial KPIs like annual revenue or quarterly profit margins can be checked quarterly or annually since they change gradually.
  • Operational KPIs such as call wait time, process downtime, customer satisfaction, or customer service response times might need daily reviews (or even minute-by-minute in the case of queues) depending on how fast they can change and their immediate impact on operations.

By aligning KPI review frequency with how quickly things can shift and how it affects your operations, you'll get timely and relevant data. This way, you avoid outdated info or over-monitoring stable metrics.

A board displaying real-time wait times for security check points at San Francisco Airport
Example of a continuously monitored KPI: A board displaying real-time wait times at security check points at San Francisco Airport.

How to Get the Most Out of a KPI Review

When it’s time to review the right KPIs, the way you run your meeting can make all the difference. Here’s the deal: you’ve got to come prepared and keep everyone on track. Start with a clear agenda that spells out which KPIs you'll discuss, what data sources you’ll use, and what you hope to achieve with each KPI. Make sure everyone knows what they're responsible for—whether that’s bringing the data, interpreting results, or proposing action steps.

Meeting Terms of Reference

Our Meeting Terms of Reference can be a big help here. It’s a practical guide that helps make every minute count by setting up the purpose, scope, and structure of your KPI evaluation meetings so everyone’s on the same page. You want to make sure every stakeholder is aligned on the same strategic goals and objectives. Be sure to document the key takeaways and assign action items to the right people.

Dashboards & Reporting

Just as important is the dashboard or report you're using in the meeting. A clear, well-designed dashboard can make all the difference in how easily your team interprets data and identifies trends. Our dashboard Excel templates are a great resource to help you present the information in a visually impactful way. They ensure that critical data stands out, whether its qualitative or quantitative, and that the overall layout simplifies rather than complicates the decision-making process.

With these tools in hand, your KPI review meetings will become more strategic and actionable, empowering your team to make smarter, more informed business decisions towards achieving your organisational goals.

Weight control concept. Bathroom scale isolated cutout against white tiled floor background, top view. 3d illustration

Final Thoughts: Tracking KPIs to Achieve Measurable Success

Think of your KPIs like a surgeon monitoring vital signs. Some need continuous real-time monitoring, while others just need occasional checks. Finding this balance is crucial to your business health. So, next time you plan your KPI evaluations, ask yourself: Is this a weight or a heart rate? The answer will guide you to optimal review frequencies that match the needs of your business processes.

Just like a surgeon needs the right tools for a successful operation, KPI Checklists gives you the essential resources for accurate KPI measurement. It's got handy checklists and a step-by-step system for crafting meaningful KPIs from ideation to implementation. Want the complete toolkit? Join Bernie’s on-demand online course, where you'll find everything from the book and more. Equip yourself with the right tools to measure success and keep your business in top shape.

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