About 8 years ago, I managed over 180 people across 9 teams. We created a dashboard with 3 metrics per team: Quality, Cost (value), and Timeliness (speed) on a corkboard outside my office, and the teams were responsible for updating their metrics each month. It was simple & clear.
Below are 3 key points any leader should consider when creating a metric dashboard or KPI dashboard.
One of our corporate VPs visited our office and pulled me aside after my CI manager presented it to him. The VP told me “Ryan, that is obsolete… We have paid $X million to a tech firm to build a data cube that will be rolled out with every metric you can imagine.”
The reality is that the “data cube” ended up being too complex for the teams to focus on. There were so many metrics that could be sliced in so many ways that it could have been a full-time job to analyze, prioritize, and act for any one of the managers.
The simple corkboard outside my office was actionable and compelled people to run monthly experiments as teams focused on the three most important areas that they knew were problematic.
To be fair, they didn’t always pick the most important metric, but the ownership the teams took over their metrics was incredible.
1. Engage the people closest to the process in selecting their metrics.
2. Resist the temptation to overload your team with data and assume that they will seek to understand and act effectively.
3. Encourage creative experimentation by teams to address the identified gaps with proposed solutions.
When people get overwhelmed with data, they freeze with indecision.
Keep moving forward!