Clear Eye for the KPI Guy

I’m attending a Microsoft Operations Framework class this week[1] and the instructor[2] had a great quote today:

If your KPIs are always green, or if your KPIs are always red, then you’re measuring the wrong thing.

Now he didn’t actually say KPI – we were talking about the metrics you might use when defining and auditing service level agreements, and not about BI, but the concepts are still the same. In order for a KPI to have the most value there needs to be circumstances when it is not green, and if a KPI is always red, then either you’ve set the goal unrealistically hard, or else you’re not willing or able to use the KPI the way it was intended.

[1] This is one way I’m trying to practice what I preach – MOF and ITIL are essentially the “business side” of the BI project I’m working on, so the more I understand its nuances, the better I’ll be able to help bring business value to my users.
[2] Monte Whitbeck from Microsoft – he’s doing a killer job. I wish I got to attend more training from people like Monte who really understand the material they present and have worked with it extensively in the real world.

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About ssimagine

My name is Matthew Roche, and I am a Senior Program Manager with the SQL Server product group at Microsoft. I work on Master Data Services and Data Quality Services, and have previously worked on SQL Server Integration Services. Although I work for Microsoft and will be posting on technical topics, I want to stress that this is a personal blog, and any opinions posted here are mine and mine alone. I built my career around SQL Server and Microsoft technologies for well over a decade before I joined Microsoft as an employee, and I plan on using this blog to share my personal experience and opinions. They may well be shaped by my experience on the SQL Server team, but they’re still mine, and not that of Microsoft, disclaimer, disclaimer, etc., etc..
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