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  • Daniel Sarfati

OK - Good - Excellent

What is the benchmark when there is no benchmark?


Once KPIs are set, measuring performance is a relatively simple process. Much more difficult is to set the standards, the benchmarks for those KPIs. What KPI value means excellent, good or just OK?


Every organization is fundamentally different as its processes have been designed by managers to suit the needs of that specific organization. Even within the same organization different groups will perform tasks in a different way. An objective method is to analyze performance among peers: people in the same group, location, with the same experience level and performing very similar tasks. At this level of detail every micro-group performs each activity in a unique way, dictated by customs, needs, objectives and external factors. Only within a micro-group can one compare apples to apples.


But exactly because each micro-group is different it is not possible, nor fair, to establish a performance benchmark valid throughout the organization and certainly not among different organizations.

  • Example: what is the standard number of first call resolution calls in a support/service call center?

The result will be different if the reason for calling is related to billing or if it is technical. And among technical issues it will be different if a resolution can be produced on the spot or if it requires an on-site visit by a technician.

  • Example (2): what is the acceptable number of software bugs in the code written by a developer? How long should it take to write code for a specific task?

It obviously depends on what the task is, the experience of the developer, how clearly the task has been explained and a lot of other aspects.


The surprising truth is that the benchmark is what it is. No manager can ever hope to produce a set of KPI standards not only for the reality of each micro-group but also for each micro-activity each group has to perform. The moving parts are just too many.

Standards are what people working the process produce. For each micro-group Applango automatically measures multiple KPIs for each activity and produces the de-facto standard, or benchmark for that micro-group and micro-activity.


Among people in that micro-group there will be people performing above the standard - the stars - and the ones below the standard. Improving performance means moving as many people as possible closer to the performance of the “stars”. A good way to do so is by entrusting the “stars” to teach the others how to perform their task better.


Once the standard is set managers can also compare among micro-groups performing the same or similar tasks. This way they can look for the root causes of why a group performs on average better than another, or at least learn from the better performing group and teach the others how to improve.


Applango renders all this information in an intuitive dashboard that guides managers to find what is performing better and what needs their immediate attention.


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