AoF 37: Secrets of Building Actionable KPIs w/ Mico Yuk

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What problems do you have with key performance indicators (KPIs)? Are they actionable or not? How do you measure them?

Today, I’m sharing a #1 rated session that I presented at the Real Business Intelligence conference at MIT back in 2017. It is called “Secrets to building actionable KPIs”. Specifically, I discuss three of the more well-known and commonly used methods: SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timebound) Goals, WIGs (Wildly Important Goals), and OKRs (Objectives and Key Results).

"(Eliminate) the need for people to interpret what a KPI was meant for.” [18:44]



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3 Knowledge Bombs

  • Mico on Number of KPIs: Track and focus on 3-5, but no more than 10.
  • Mico on Actionable vs. Non-Actionable KPIs: Changing KPI name fixes 95% of problems with a lack of action.
  • Mico on KPI Methods: Most commonly used are SMART, WIGs, and OKRs.

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • [02:19]  - Are KPIs and metrics the same? Do you track KPIs? Metrics? Core competencies?
  • [02:44]  - Key Quote: Living in KPI land, there’s a lot of measurements, but you discover that not all measurements are created equal. - Mico Yuk
  • [04:02]  - KPI Problem #1: Too many KPIs; focus on tracking 3-5, no more than 10.
  • [06:11]  - Key Quote: You can make things pretty...garbage in, garbage out. A lot of pretty garbage is what we were creating for these big companies. - Mico Yuk
  • [08:24]  - AHA Moment with Warren Buffett’s 5/25 Rule: Write 25 goals, select 5 most important, and avoid the rest until achieving them.
  • [15:21]  - KPI Problem #2: All KPIs are not created equal. Actionable ones create results, non-actionable ones create noise.
  • [16:35]  - 5 Traits of Non-actionable KPIs: Non-descriptive name, no clear action, lacks context, use is confusing to users, and visualization is difficult.
  • [17:49]  - Key Quote: Simply changing the name of your KPI will fix 95% of problems with the lack of action in KPI. - Mico Yuk
  • [18:44]  - Key Quote: (Eliminate) the need for people to interpret what a KPI was meant for. - Mico Yuk
  • [19:05]  - AHA Moment: People are struggling to make pretty visualization due to goals, KPIs and metrics with no action.
  • [22:32]  - WIGS: 4-step process involves scoreboard, act on actions, and accountability.
  • [26:15]  - OKRs: Where do you need to go? How will you get there? What to do then?
  • [27:34]  - SMART Goals: What, how much, when (WHW)?
  • [37:04]  - Key Take Home Points:
  • Choose one methodology; SMART is easiest to understand, but OKRs are most actionable.
  • Turn non-actionable into actionable KPIs.
  • Avoid KPI overload.
  • KPIs should be easy to visualize; don’t leave them open to interpretation and confusion.

“Living in KPI land, there’s a lot of measurements, but you discover that not all measurements are created equal.” [02:44]

Links and Resources mentioned in this episode:

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Mico Yuk

Mico Yuk

As the Co-founder and CEO of BI Brainz, I've been in the Business Intelligence/Analytics industry since 2009. Trained 10K+ using our methodologies and frameworks! I love our amazing team and community! I share my passion for data to 20,000+ followers via the Analytics on Fire Podcast, our BI Brainz academy, blog, social media, global keynotes, training, and workshops. Our model is simple. We take what is successful for our customers and teach it! I'm a bonafide beach bum on days off!
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