KPI Problems

Did an Excel mistake cripple the world economy?

By Bernie | September 6, 2018

On 4 January 2010, in the Marriott hotel in Atlanta, two giants in the world of economics, Prof Carmen Reinhart and former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, Ken Rogoff, were presenting their research paper, ‘Growth in a Time of Debt’. The headline message was clear and head-turning… When the size of the country’s…

30 Second Tip: Do you spend too much time looking backwards?

By Bernie | July 29, 2012

Look at your main KPIs, do they look forwards or backwards? Do you spend most of your time looking at financial measures that tell you how things were a few weeks or months ago? It’s good to include a number forward-looking measures, that indicate how you will do, as there’s still time to change the…

sulky businessman

Do not shoot the messenger

By Bernie | June 12, 2012

I have witnessed more debates about KPIs and measures than any human really should. They normally settle into a few clear families. We shouldn’t measure -insert controversial topic- because: It’s too hard/expensive to measure We tried that before and it didn’t work It doesn’t have a causal link with the thing that we are interested…

banana skin

When little report-production problems become a disaster

By Bernie | June 6, 2012

I’ve sat in a lot of MI (management information) departments over the years and have noticed a common theme. You can tell when there’s going to be highly visible (and embarrassing) failure in KPI and measure production well before the event. There’s a well established concept called Heinrich’s Accident Pyramid that asserts that a number near-miss events increase the probability of more…

Six KPI selection traps to avoid

By Bernie | September 6, 2011

Here are some really bad ways to choose the measures you use and report on: Interesting measures – People are driven by curiosity and that’s great, but don’t overdo it. I once worked with a call centre that had 128 KPIs, they just couldn’t bring themselves to leave any out. This is a symptom of…

When bad is good

By Bernie | September 5, 2011

I’ve just seen a great example of conflicting measures. It’s from the NHS. Today’s Telegraph explains how NHS managers are deliberately making patients wait, as treating patients quickly “raises expectations”. What this actually means is that if you make people wait long enough (taking care to stay inside the current 18 week limit) they will…

rubber stamp saying approved

How to get a perfect quality score in 24 hours…

By Bernie | March 7, 2011

Many KPIs and targets can be an invitation for creative dishonesty. How do you make sure you don’t accidentally drive self defeating behaviours?