Patterns for a useful KPI

Patterns for a useful KPI

We, as Agile Coaches sometimes are asked for KPIs that can demonstrate our progress and the progress of the team we work with, basically we are driven by the power of proof and not by assumptions.


How can we find out KPIs that make sense?

For a long time, I have been trying to find the answer to this question, reading to different blogs and sites, but I was still not able to find an easy and straight forward pattern to define a good KPI, or at least, what I think is a good KPI.

I called an old colleague(Marius de Beer) I worked with time ago, he was my mentor and he gave me good advises about the topic that I’m going to show you in a bit.

I decided to publish it because I think knowledge must be shared and if I’m aware of a pattern that has helped me when defining KPIs, why should I keep it only for me?


Which factors contribute in having a KPI that makes sense? 

Raise Warnings: All KPIs should warn you when certain number is reached, in a good way or in a bad way but they should help you to see that something happened.

Drive Bbehavior: They should have an impact in the people behaviors, should make you feel willing for a change.

Teach You: All KPIs should in a way help you to understand what’s going on, they should help you to learn, find KPIs that can help you to understand how the system works, systems that you don’t understand.

Expire or Recycle: We have to replace KPIs when we think they are old, or at least we need to recycle them, we have to check them periodically to find out if they still make sense, could be a point that a KPI doesn’t make sense anymore.


So, what do you think? do you think that such a KPI as Cycle-Time will Raise Warnings, Driver Behaviour, Tech you about the system and expire or be updated at some point?

I think so!

Cycle-Time will:

  • Raise Warning when a certain number is reached.
  • Will Drive Behavioural changes in order to improve it.
  • Will Teach you about the System, about the Workflow you are using for instance.
  • Once you get better you will probably increase the level of exigency, which means you will expect a better cycle time after some time, so the warnings signals will get updated.


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Marcos Pacheco


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