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Wave Success Center by McKinsey

Using KPIs

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are metrics which measure the success of your initiatives. Generally determined in partnership with the finance department, KPIs serve as  leading indicators of progress. Is an impact delivering impact sustainably? Or is an impact creating negative, unintended consequences elsewhere in the business? KPIs can help answer those kinds of questions. 

Please note that the use of KPIs will vary by company; the following information is designed to provide basic guidelines to their use in Wave. 

What Makes a KPI

When choosing KPIs, keep in mind that KPIs:

  • Must measure the change which the initiative is expected to achieve 
  • Must measure resulting impacts 
  • Can measure potential negative impacts 
  • Can be a leading indicator for whether or not benefits will be achieved

Example KPIs include volume of sales, average price per product, or percent of proposal conversion.

KPI Tips

  • Each KPI should be SMART:
    • Specific and clear
    • Measurable
    • Attainable (achievable)
    • Relevant to the improvement aimed for
    • Time-bound 
  • Start measuring KPIs just before changes have been implemented in order to have a benchmark for before and after
  • Measure KPIs on a regular basis (e.g., monthly) until benefit is sustained
  • For each KPI, define a data source 
    The start date should be the last day of the period you are tracking
  • Include KPIs to ensure engagement metrics are sustained
  • If you do not see your KPI measure or unit in a dropdown, you can type in your own 

Step-by-step instructions

1. In the workspace, find and open your initiative and click on KPI tracking in the options list on the left hand side of the box. Click on +ADD KPI.

Add KPI 1.gif


2. When a new KPI has been opened, certain fields must be completed; these will vary based on your configuration. In the following example, the KPI is assigned a Measure name and a Unit of measure by using the dropdown menus that appear in each column. In the example below, the KPI will be measured by a change in the volume of water consumed in gallons/year.

Add KPI 2.gif

Custom KPI Measure or Unit

Depending on your company's Wave configuration, you may be able to manually enter a Measure or Unit if none of the options in the pre-populated drop downs apply. Simply type the word, phrase or symbol that you wish to use. Note that any custom fields added this way cannot be deleted, though a new Measure or Unit can always be assigned if needed.



3. Once all of the required fields are completed, click the orange Create button at the bottom of the card. The KPI line will receive its own ID number and you will see the following fields appear under Version: Baseline, Target, Actual, and Forecast

Add KPI 3.gif


4. When first entering a KPI, you will need to enter the Baseline and Target values, as shown in the example below. As your initiative progresses, you will be updating the KPIs further with Actual and Forecast values. 

Add Baseline Target KPI.gif

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