While defining KPIs, have both – Leading and lagging indicators.

Often I’ve seen people not making that distinction which creates misconceptions about what the KPIs are saying

Leading indicators:

Predictive measurements used to influence change. For example – how good are we at creating & working with user stories.

These are not the actual change we want to see, rather the change which will ‘lead’ to the outcomes we are hoping for

The problem I see – folks take these as the ‘ultimate’ outcome to measure, which is the problem

Same goes for automation – an common one is ‘% tests automated’. This ‘might’ be a leading indicator in some situations – but is definitely not the ultimate goal.

Lagging indicators:

Measuring the outcome we are actually looking for. For transformation projects could be e.g. 50% reduction in bugs from the field, 40% reduction in lead time

So next time defining KPIs – do classify them as leading and lagging indicators.

Both are helpful – but be careful not to measure a leading indicator assuming these are the ultimate objective.