Managing teams in project and other contexts requires setting and supervising key performance indicators (KPIs). Aligned to overall organisational goals and targets, individual and team KPIs require an equitable dialogue, but a serious expectation of measurable effort.
To strike that balance, I have come to prefer two simple models: SMART KPIs and the DWMQ review model.
Goal-setting at all levels is best done using a consistent, transparent method like SMART. See Figure 1 below.
The diagram shows some of the issues that may be considered in setting individual and team KPIs, while maintaining the SMART discipline –
Specific goals clearly defined in writing, and agreed to by supervisor and employee or team members.
Measurable targets, meaning the metric is agreed on and documented.
Achievable tasks given each employee’s skills, the time-frames assigned, and the resources available.
Relevant goals and targets, meaning they directly advance the organisation’s or team’s overall goal and targets.
Time-bound, meaning there is always a timeline attached for completion. The timeline might be flexible, but must never be infinite.
Goals and targets should also be prioritised so that the most important ones are given the most attention.
This model of supervising KPI targets and performance suits operational activities as much as project-based work. See Figure 2 below.
This model relies on meetings at which agreed tasks, timelines, and other issues are recorded so they may be reviewed and resolved–
- A brief morning team-meeting recaps on the previous afternoon’s recap team members share what they will be doing that day. The morning meeting allows team members to make suggestions, offer to help each other, and for the team leader to reset priorities.
- A brief afternoon team meeting before everyone goes home focuses on problems encountered that day, and anticipated tasks for the next day. Problems might not be resolved at this point, but at least a record is made of what loose ends need to be tied up.
- A weekly team meeting of longer duration recaps on the elapsed week’s achievements, lists tasks not yet completed, plans tasks for the week ahead, and resolves outstanding problems.
- At least once a month the direct supervisor has a private meeting with each member of the team to set and discuss individual performance targets (often referred to as key performance indicators or KPIs). This ought to be by mutual agreement, but targets need not be easy. These meetings also allow the supervisor to raise advice or cautions about personal performance issues that ought to remain confidential.
- A quarterly planning day should be scheduled for any high performance team, particularly when targets shift rapidly. A planning day might not last an entire day, but should be conducted where external interruptions can be kept to a minimum. The agenda should include reviews of targets or milestones reached or not yet reached, a session on lessons learnt from mistakes, a session to map out the main goas and targets of the next quarter, and, wherever possible, some team building activities followed by a celebration to mark and reward achievements.
This model may not suit smaller organisations or teams in its entirety, but contains elements that are readily scalable.
Contact me if I can help you with your own employee goal-setting.