Developing Great Key Performance Questions

By Bernard Marr

Part of Key Performance Indicators For Dummies Cheat Sheet

The nature of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) is to provide answers. But answers to what? You don’t want to waste time and energy sourcing answers to questions you didn’t ask or couldn’t care less about. To ensure that you don’t , check out a concept called Key Performance Questions (KPQs).

There is a right and wrong way to go about creating your KPQs. For a start you need to get comfortable with asking questions! Children ask questions constantly, irritating parents with endless curiosity and ‘But why’s’. Then children grow up and stop because people don’t want to look like they don’t know the answer. After a few years in business professionals can almost be afraid of questions because the pressure to have all the answers is so acute. And yet businesses that facilitate a very open, questioning culture always out-perform those that don’t.

Follow these ten steps to ensure that you create good KPQs:

  • Identify one to three high-level KPQs for each strategic objective on your strategy map.

  • Make sure that your KPQs are performance related.

  • Engage your colleagues in the creation of the KPQs.

  • Make your KPQs clear, short and punchy.

  • Phrase your KPQs as open questions.

  • Make sure your KPQs focus on the present and future.

  • Seek to refine and improve your KPQs over time.

  • Use your KPQs to guide your KPIs so they deliver relevant and meaningful information that answers your KPQs.

  • Use your KPQs to challenge and where necessary refine your existing performance indicators.

  • Include your KPQs in the reports you communicate within the business to review performance.