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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 the KPIs tab. Click on +ADD KPI and you first KPI row will be set up, ready for you to complete.

Add KPI 1.gif


2. Indicated in red, certain fields must be completed in order to enter your KPI; these will vary based on your configuration. In the following example, the initiative owner must select the Type of KPI, Universal KPI, Measure and unit, and Aggregation mode for the KPI by using the dropdown menus that appear in each column. In the example below, the KPI will be measured by reduction in the number of contracts. You can easily search for a measure and unit by typing key words in the Measure and unit dropdown field.

Once all of the fields are complete, click the orange CREATE button.

Updated KPIs 2.gif

Custom KPI Measure and Unit

Depending on your company's Wave configuration, you may be able to manually enter a Measure and unit if none of the options in the pre-populated drop down 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 and unite can always be assigned to your KPI if needed.


3. Once saved, your KPI line will receive its own ID number and you will see the following fields appear under Version: Baseline and Target. As you have those details, you may enter them as illustrated below. For this example our KPI is a reduction in the number of contracts, so our baseline is 5 current contracts and we are aiming to reduce that number to 2.

As your initiative progresses, you will be updating the KPIs further with Actual and Forecast values. 

Updated KPIs 3.gif


Navigating the KPIs tab

As your program progresses, you will updating your KPIs tab regularly. Save time and more easily navigate to the fields you need to update with the split panel and options to jump to the current time period.

The split panel on the KPIs tab allows users to easily navigate the monthly (or quarterly or annual) impacts columns by dragging a divider across the space. As illustrated below, the vertical blue bar separates out two sections that can individually be scrolled.

Updated KPIs 4.gif

To jump to the current time period - month, quarter, or year - indicate the time scale you wish to view and click on the text to the right as shown in the example below. An orange vertical line will always appear to the left of the current time period. 

Updated KPIs 5.gif

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