This article is about scorecards, specifically performance scorecards. You cannot discuss scorecards without addressing the companion question: what is the difference between a scorecard and a dashboard? In general, I think of dashboards providing insight into current conditions, not unlike the dashboard of your car. A scorecard goes beyond a dashboard to relate the various measures displayed regarding strategy and goals. A car's dashboard does not really provide a goal - although that large number at the end of the speedometer does frequently tempt me. Well-constructed scorecards make strategy and goals apparent and relate current performance to expected results. A common element of scorecards is the key performance indicator (KPI).

A KPI typically has four elements: 1) a measurement, 2) a goal, 3) a trend and 4) a visual indicator. Let's say your company implements a quarterly customer satisfaction (CustSat)  survey. Your CustSat KPI may measure the percentage of customers who are satisfied or very satisfied. The goal for your part of the business may be 80 percent. Typically, KPI goals are multipart; 82 percent and above is considered good, 60 to 79 percent is bad and below 60 percent is ugly. This good, bad, ugly theme is common in KPIs indicated by up, down or level trending symbols. The indicator may be a traffic light. Your scorecard will have all of this information usually using the actual numbers for the current result and goal and glyphs or icons for the trend (often arrows) and indicator (traffic light in this case).

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