When managing a lean portfolio, what KPIs do you use to prioritize initiatives across your organization?

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Chief Information Officer in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
It depends, we don't stick to one. We pick KPIs by determining what we are helping to solve over the next six months and it changes. For example, we wanted to reduce our sales cycle. It's already very aggressive and I come from a large company. So one is, how do we reduce that? On the IT side, because I have different verticals, when it comes to IT operations it’s more around day one productivity of employees, etc. When that's resolved we move on to the next one, like onboarding and offboarding. And then on the app side, it's more about post deployment—how many P1's, P2's and things like that.

So I always do a split between business metrics and operational metrics. Operational metrics would be bugs and post deployment things; business metrics would be, what value did we add? Were we able to reduce our sales cycle? Customer case deflection could be another one to service cloud implementation.
CIO / Managing Partner in Manufacturing, 2 - 10 employees
Strategic value generated is a good metric to use: Are you directly supporting some of the business strategies? Because sometimes it's difficult to quantify that in terms of dollars. You can put an ROI on something but it may be more strategically important if it's taking the company to the next level or targeting one of the company's key goals. So you have to have that in your metrics somewhere.

We sometimes used a net promoter score on different aspects such as internally on the help desk and service desk side of things. We did surveys after doing net promoter scores or—depending on the type of business you are—it could be a net promoter score more externally.
Senior Executive Advisor in Software, 10,001+ employees
Your KPIs shouldn't be just cost or just ROI because then we'd be sales organizations. Our measures include customer delight—how much satisfaction or happiness they get out of it—and employee happiness. The employee happiness index is especially important during remote working when there are longer hours. Then there’s the additional metric around whether this reduces or increases technical debt within the organization. That's another one that we use to rank the value of a particular initiative within the organization.
3 Replies
Chief Information Officer in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees

The importance of evaluating employee happiness during remote work is a good point. We do customer satisfaction scores (C-SATS) and then Employee SATS as well. But that's more internal; I do C-SATS for each vertical like the sales team, marketing team and others. Although our company does measure eNPS, employee net promoter score. That's a good one.

CIO / Managing Partner in Manufacturing, 2 - 10 employees

Determining whether an initiative is actually removing some of your technical debt is difficult. But then again, you could argue that almost anything new you're doing is creating new technical debt. It's a bit of a philosophical argument.

Senior Executive Advisor in Software, 10,001+ employees

It is. When I'm introducing a new technology or moving it to the cloud, the way I pitch it is, "I will get rid of 14 different technologies that are strewn all over my organization and instead, I will bring in the technical debt of one single fast product." We will never get rid of technical debt; it's like a credit card, you’ll never be free of it. But how much you manage it is within your control.

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Without a doubt - Technical Debt! It's a ball and chain that creates an ever increasing drag on any organization, stifles innovation, and prevents transformation.
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