Sunday, November 25, 2007

KPI's and the Importance of Measurements (part 2)

Continuing from my previous post here, we're going to get more in depth into KPI's and their measurement now.

How do I measure KPI’s?
Get the data (whatever is important to you ... if you use the examples previously mentioned, then track service outages by minutes for example vs. a specified date) into your spreadsheet or other tracking tool, then keep on adding more and more information every time you have another service interruption or outage.  

The key here is consistency and ensuring that you reflect as realistic a picture as possible so the more information you can capture the better.  If you are measuring outages, then make sure you reflect the customers impacted, total amount of time, volume of calls or interactions it created and reason for outage (even a simple 3rd party vs. internal tag is important as it tells you where you need to focus your attention).

Once the data has been captured - make sure you have and are using the right tool for this ... (a spreadsheet as mentioned is great in the early stages but if you can tie this back into a good Incident & Problem Management system and/or a database (I'll get into ITIL and Six Sigma in later posts) you're going to do really well!) - then you need to come up with an appropriate means of analysis.

We are all familiar with the disparaging quotes about statistics (including "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics", attributed to either Mark Twain or Disraeli, depending on whom you ask), and it's no secret that many people harbor a vague distrust of statistics as commonly used.

Averages don’t tell you very much. One data point that is extremely far outside the curve will skew everything towards it so care must be taken to ensure that you are measuring information correctly.

Good analysis is an ongoing process, so set targets and assess whether any changes you make are improving your KPI’s or not.

Friday, November 23, 2007

KPI's and the Importance of Measurements

There is a great quote somewhere that goes something like - "If you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it!" ... this is so true and especially so in the Technical Support, Customer Service and Operations areas. There are great KPI's (Key Performance Indicators) and not so great ones.  The key is choosing the right one for your business and you need to choose it from a CUSTOMER point of view.  There is no use choosing your KPI from any other area as if you lose your customers, you lose your revenue and obviously you lose your business!!

When defining a set of KPIs to control and measure performance, the most likely debate is probably around measuring KPIs.  Another way to think about KPIs is that they are measurements designed to assess performance.

The Traditional Mantra is -
“Measure. Analyse. Act” 

KPI’s are the middle stage, but they’re defined by the first and they should drive the third.

What KPI’s should I use?
Your choice of KPI’s depends on your intention and target audience.  Which problem or issue are you trying to solve, whom is it impacting, what is the impact and what outcome would you like to see afterwards are all good questions to ask when building a KPI plan.

Two common KPIs are 1st Call Resolution and Downtime (please note I have not said these are good ones - that is something you will need to determine for yourself depending on your interpretation of whats important to your customer ... this is something I shall discuss in greater detail in later posts). Similarly, KPI’s should be measured over time and you should not expect your initial snapshot to give you the full picture as you will frequently have to 'massage' and/or revise your measurement criteria and focus until you are measuring the correct information.

1st Call Resolution - 
Measurement of the %'age of customer issues resolved at the first call.

% Uptime/Downtime -
Measurement of the %'age of time the service is available (or not).

These are just 2 of the hundreds of different KPIs out there ... a great place to find more is here and it is well worth your time to visit!

Another problem you might have though is that you don't have any way to measure this ... that is something I will discuss further in later posts.

Setting up and Launching a Remote Office

In the early days of my career I was responsible for setting up an operation in a different city. It was a great opportunity for me and some...