How to Give Your Performance Measures Meaningful Names

by Stacey Barr |

If you don’t take care in naming your performance measures, you end up with problems like different measures having the same name, the same measure having different names, and people getting confused about what the measure is about. That’s messy. So don’t take naming your measures too lightly.

https://www.staceybarr.com/images/blanknamebadge.jpg

The way you write your measure, or articulate it or describe it, is of paramount importance before you start down the path of getting data and computing the measure values.

But naming your measure is also very important. Don’t take for granted that the one-word nickname you’ve come up with is going to have any meaning at all for other users of the measure.

And that really suggests the first tip:

KPI Naming Tip #1: Use two to five words to name your measures.

A single word is rarely enough. Profit isn’t even a good name for a measure. Net Profit, Gross Profit, Profit Before Interest & Tax (or PBIT) are all better names because they don’t have you making any assumptions about the type of profit being measured.

KPI Naming Tip #2: Tightly match the name to exactly what you are measuring.

If you want to measure the average level of pride that your employees feel in working for your organisation, then don’t call the measure Employee Engagement. It’s not engagement, it’s pride. Better names would be Employee Pride Score or Employee Pride Rating.

KPI Naming Tip #3: Keep it unique.

You might feasibly have two measures called Customer Satisfaction Rating, where one of the measures tracks satisfaction with their most recent purchase, for customers who actively purchased during the current month, and the other measure tracks quarterly overall satisfaction of the entire customer base. A better naming strategy would be Customer Satisfaction With Latest Purchase for the first measure, and Overall Customer Satisfaction for the second.

KPI Naming Tip #4: Have some fun?

I’m not really in one camp or the other here, but certainly you can increase the engagement people have in the measures they use by making their names fun. A client of mine wanted to measure the number of complaints her team was handling each month, and they agreed to call the measure Not Happy Jan. It was named after a famous line in a TV commercial.

TAKE ACTION:

Do you have some funky or fun measure names that follow these tips? Share your measure names and inspire others!

Upcoming KPI Training


>> North America, Online Interactive, 3-7 June 2024

>> UK & Europe, Online Interactive, 10-14 June 2024

>> Australia/NZ/Asia Pacific, Online Interactive, 12-13 & 17-18 June 2024

>> USA, Washington DC, 25-27 June 2024

>> Africa, Dubai UAE, 13-15 August 2024

Register for the next PuMP Blueprint Workshop near you

Reprinting Articles


You are welcome to use articles from the Measure Up blog, with these requirements

Connect with Stacey


Haven’t found what you’re looking for? Want more information? Fill out the form below and I’ll get in touch with you as soon as possible.



    *We respect your email privacy.
    Suite 117 Level 14,
    167 Eagle Street,
    Brisbane Qld 4000,
    Australia
    Stacey Barr Pty Ltd
    ACN: 129953635
    Director: Stacey Barr