The KPI Fallacy

February 26, 2024

In the world of business and performance measurement, the term "KPI" is likely a familiar one. It stands for Key Performance Indicator, which is essentially a measurable way to gauge the success of your endeavors. However, a crucial question to ask is: How many KPIs do you really need to measure your operation effectively? I once heard a candidate in a hiring interview who confidently stated he would track 20 KPIs to ensure a positive outcome. This assertion might seem reasonable at first, but it raises an important issue.

💡 The KPI fallacy is the belief that more KPIs equate to more control over operations

This assumption can lead to the misconception that everything is equally important. But consider this: Can you truly focus on more than three things at once with 100% concentration?

Thus, it's wise to limit your KPIs to three core metrics at most. This approach enables quick assessment of your performance against goals and allows you to concentrate on the one KPI that deviates from the target. For additional insights, guardrail metrics can track standard processes. By adopting this approach, you'll find yourself less overwhelmed and better equipped to address core issues efficiently.

In conclusion, while your business may require specific KPIs, consider the Quality, Growth, and Cost methodology as a reference, aiming for one KPI per pillar. Some good examples can be found here.


So, the next time you're in a business review meeting, ask yourself: Do we truly need to track all these KPIs? Which ones are truly essential to our operation?

Javier Rivero

I specialize in helping fast-growing tech companies in optimizing their operational efficiency and achieving sustainable scalability. With a background in the services and manufacturing industries, I excel in optimizing operational processes and building high-performing teams. My focus is on driving cost-effective growth and enhancing customer experience through data-driven strategies.