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Tricks of the Trade Venture Partner Series: KPI Dashboards – If You Don’t Measure It, You Won’t Be Able to Change It

June 20, 2016

When someone asks, “what are your KPIs?” most founders have a fast response. Most board decks contain a number of slides that are basically graphs of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) over time. The question is, how do you make these useful other than to create board presentations?

My advice has been to have each team maintain and update a KPI dashboard. For example:

  • Marketing should be keeping track of items such as website traffic, inbound requests, followers, etc.

  • Product / engineering should be tracking performance, engagement and users.

  • Sales should know how many folks are in the various pipeline stages.

Each team needs to define and share these KPIs and they should be part of your weekly staff meeting. Bottom line: If you don’t measure it, you won’t be able to change it.

As an added benefit, since very few organizations boast expert communication and collaboration across functional units, this effort creates cross-departmental empathy and understanding. This is key to your teams working together towards the big picture goals of your organization.

By keeping track of these items and presenting them at staff meetings and / or sending them out weekly, you’re allowing people to get a glimpse at what everyone else is working on, feel like more of a team and actually analyze and iterate on what’s happening. You can find a few examples of KPI dashboards here.

These dashboards aren’t meant to track everything, they’re to showcase and track what’s really most important. At the end of the day, we all know someone will eventually ask for tracked metrics (usually your CEO) so if you’re doing it on an ongoing basis, which is leaps and bounds easier, you’ll always be ready.