PhD in computer science, Lisitsyna O. S. TEAM KPIS AT IT COMPANY

Категорія: Сучасний соціокультурний простір 2015 (16-18.09.15, Економіка

УДК 005.95:658.8=111



PhD in computer science, Lisitsyna O. S.

Cherkasy state technological university, Ukraine, Cherkasy


This article will talk about the main principles used in defining team KPIs. Throughout the body of this article, there is a review of a few examples of team KPIs for none production departments in IT. This paper also investigates the key rules and risks involved in the development and use of KPIs. It aims to highlight a good approach for teams to define, track, and measure KPIs on their own. The article gives a low down on how to develop KPIs for development teams in Pivotal Tracker.

Key words: team KPIs, product mindset, Pivotal Tracker, IT, project management.


Кандидат технічних наук, Лісіцина О. С. Командні KPIs в IT компанії. Черкаський державний технологічний університет, Україна, Черкаси

Ця стаття розказує про основні принципи визначення командних KPI. У головних розділах статті описано декілька прикладів KPI для невиробничих відділів в IT компанії. У цій статті також досліджуються ключові правила та існуючі ризики при розробці та використанні KPI. Ціль статті – це розглянути кращі підходи для того, щоб команді самій визначати, відслідковувати та виміряти свої KPI. Також стаття дає уявлення, як розробити KPIs для розробницької команди у Pivotal Tracker.

Ключові слова: командні KPI, продуктовий підхід, Pivotal Tracker, інформаційні технології, проектний менеджмент.


Кандидат технических наук, Лисицына Е. С. Командные KPIs в IT компании. Черкасский государственный технологический университет, Украина, Черкассы

Эта статья рассказывает об основных принципах определения KPI. В главных разделах статьи описаны несколько примеров командных KPI для непроизводственных отделов IT компании. В этой статье также исследуются ключевые правила и существующие риски при разработке и использовании KPI. Цель статьи – это рассмотреть лучшие подходы для того, чтобы команда сама определяла, отслеживала и измеряла свои KPI. Также статья дает представление, как разработать KPI для команды разработчиков в Pivotal Tracker.

Key words: командные KPIs, продуктовый подход, Pivotal Tracker, информационные технологии, проектный менеджмент.


Introduction. KPI (key performance indicator) is a term that is becoming increasingly popular day by day. [1]

Almost all management conferences ring about this topic and discuss it at length. While all that is true, do you know why KPIs are important? The answer is that KPIs help a team set its goals and then measure performance and results against those set goals. A goal and a measurement of performance is needed to bring a strong feeling of responsibility within the team. This feeling will stretch to each and every task they do. Once your team knows that their performance is being monitored, they will start thinking about how each step they take brings them closer to their goal.

Simply put, this is what takes a normal routine team away from their arduous work and makes them think differently, out of the box. In any outsource IT company, when the product for sale are lateral services that includes development, design, management efforts, etc. The need to have team KPIs becomes even more important since it helps when the people working have a product mindset and are able to see the business value of the products they are developing.

KPIs for Different Departments

An average IT company has two kinds of departments, a production department and a non production department. Generally both of these departments will develop their own KPIs. When we take a look at marketing, HR, sales, or any other production departments, the need for each of them to have measurable indicators of their work is emphasized.

Recruitment department for instance have very clear goals: To hire people for hot open positions and to fire people in case they lack the skills needed. So KPIs for them could contain the following parameters (per defined period of time, i.e. one month) as:

• Number of open vacancies

• Number of found/contacted candidates that are good fit for a certain position

• Number of interviews conducted

• Number of test task given

• Number of closed positions

• Number of people fired because of not being able to pass trial period etc.

Then they will look to wrap all of these figures into a pre set formula to give us measurable KPIs that would be able to gauge and reflect the department’s productivity.

Another good example can be the marketing department and its work on leads. In this case, the main parameters would be the following:

• Number of people contacted for the 1st time (per channel of lead generation)

• Number of cold leads received

• Number of leads converted to hot leads

• Number of closed leads etc.

Having said that, it must be mentioned that there are some important rules on how to properly build team KPIs, which are outlined in multiple writings. There are a considerable number of articles and blog posts that cover this topic. A few of these are outlined in [2; 3]

To summarize the points from these references, here is a list of the important rules discussed in the above mentioned articles and blog posts.

• Choosing

• Tracking

• Measuring

• Revisiting

Practice is an important part of developing team KPIs by the team on its own. A good concept in KPI development is when the team itself decides exactly what KPIs to use and why. The team is responsible for the impact of its results on the whole company, the product that they build, and the business that they do. It’s a good approach to adopt since nobody from other departments/teams in the business or the top management will be aware of the specialization of the work and the results that can be achieved.

In such a case, autonomous independent teams are created that are focused on a KPI designing for products that attract customers and derive growth. These teams are accountable – to each other – for moving their KPIs and making a difference to the customers. Individuals in each team are accountable to one another and their team. Since there is no point in doing something unless it changes the metrics, the team is working on what KPIs to build, how to measure them, what results will it bring, etc.

One cycle of build-measure-learn can typically look like this:

• Team agrees area they want to focus on

• Team captures data / and analyses data around the KPI they want to impact

• Team identifies significant work for the customers/company wish to impact

• Team uses data and metrics to evaluate developed KPIs and gotten results.

Risks in Building KPIs

Despite the apparent benefits KPIs have to offer to businesses, there is also heavy criticism to this technique, and using KPIs is considered risky, especially if they are used as criteria to give rewards. In this case, a team member gets his/her reward/salary/bonuses/etc. based on their KPIs. For a software developer, it can be number of features implemented, bugs fixed, etc.

Unfortunately though as Dan Pink mentioned [4] this is not something that is effective and known to produce good results. It’s also proved by other organizations, research institutes and companies. [5]

Nevertheless a large number of IT companies continue using KPIs for rewarding.

KPIs for Development Teams Using Pivotal Tracker

There are plenty of tools for counting and showing measurable KPIs for development teams. One of the most popular tools among them is Pivotal Tracker. Below are a few examples of the services that this system can provide.


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