Thursday, May 21, 2009

Selecting personal KPI's

How to select good KPI's is a very good question. People go to business schools to learn how to do this, but that does not automatically make them any good at the task. Truth is, selecting KPI's in business environments is pretty hard, and selecting good ones for personal goals may be even more difficult. As always, the solution to difficult problems is to be systematic. The following properties are typical for a good KPI:
  • The value of the variable must say something about your performance with regard to the relevant property/task
  • It must be easy to measure/record
  • You should be able of adjusting it by performing relevant actions
  • Is its ideal value sensitive to external happenings outside of your control?
My suggestion is to pick a set of candidates for KPI's and then analyze them for their potential as good indicators of performance. To each KPI we put up a set of relevant actions, such that we can push the KPI in either direction as needed. Then, for each KPI candidate evaluate whether it has potential to tell you the relevant things about your performance, also when unforeseen things happen. Select the one that has the most positive indicators and try to identify its best value. Then, for a while try to "control" this variable at its ideal value by using your designated actions. Hopefully, this has led you to focus on the right things. This was how I came up with counting co-workers coming in to discuss work, and those who were only in for a chat as a good KPI for seriousness. 


  1. well that is an excellent way of comming up with KPI's but still i need a list of them first do you know where i can finde some ?

  2. Thanks for the comment, Tareq. I think effective KPI's are closely tied to your personal goals - it is therefore hard to give you some generic ones. If you read this blog - meaning, the other posts, there are examples of personal KPI design. The trick is just to take the methodology of economics and control and apply it to personal goals. What KPI's would you select for monitoring your savings portfolio? What KPI's do you select to monitor progress in the guitar lessons you are taking? Give it some thought... and I am sure you'll be able of coming up with your own set. And remember, KPI selection is still more art than science - iterations may be needed! Good luck!