Two-dimensional performance indicators

Recently I posted about fitness for purpose in F1 with insights extracted from the Fit for Purpose book. In the pursue for fitness from customer point of view we need one clear and ultimate objective, a KPI, but one thing to augment the topic is that a KPI shouldn’t be one-dimensional. As well described and much more enriched by the authors’ experience in the book, an one-dimensional indicator is an extremely weak one as there is no measurement of its side effects.

A two-dimensional indicator is stronger and more feasible to evaluate the impact created by the first. It unveils a cause-effect relation between defined goals and their consequences.

I worked as a VTM – Venue Technology Manager during Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games. I could see it for myself how competitors deal with performance and injuries at the same time in order to survive to the calvary of the different phases to get to the finals.

An analogy for it is how runners and swimmers perform during the games time.

100 meters

These athletes usually go through eliminatories during the games and at the same time compete in different modalities like 100m, 400m, 4 x 100m, 50m freestyle, 50m butterfly etc.

If an athlete suffers an injury during the eliminatory phase or in between these different modalities he might put years of preparation in jeopardy, she would risk their country overall standings, the gold medal, the world record or their personal best at least.

A balance between peak performance and an injury avoidance strategy is mandatory to make history every 4 years.

Hence, an athlete must reach the greatest performance of their sportive life with mitigated risk of getting injured, pushing until the limit where injuries are not increasing as fast as your performance, where injuries are controlled and are not impacting the first.

In this scenario, great performance with minor injuries could indicate physical aptitude for that specific sport for example. We don’t see tennis players anymore at 1,96 meter tall as Mark Philippoussis who has the record of most aces in a match (44) or even 2,04 meters tall as Jerzy Janowicz capable to serve as fast as 250 km/h.

Serena Williams says Roger Federer's serve is 'super underestimated' -  Business Insider

I’m not saying that they weren’t great tennis players but looking to Roger Federer at his 1,85m, he has all imaginable records in tennis or even Novak Djokovic currently standing as #2 in the world and as the first tennis player to achieve $100 mi in prize money and of course Rafael Nadal at his 1,85m, he’s the ATP #1 currently and is the only player to date to win 8 ATP titles consecutively.

Looking to tennis players we see that the right physical aptitude counts and being the taller player doesn’t make you the fittest being able to deliver high performance and controlled number of injuries, winning titles over and over again. Players now have 10 centimeters less than what they had in early and late 2000.

It relates to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution where natural selection is the mechanism to select the fittest organism, in this case, a downsizing of 10 to 20 centimeters approximately producing faster players, able to serve and quickly jump to the net reducing opponent’s opportunities to adapt their response to the game speed imposed by them.

The same applies for the Time to Market in IT for example, improving the KPI could make sense to your business goals assuming that they are connected to your customer expectations but only if you’re not making quality suffers at the same level, otherwise they might look for some other service proving sometimes less features but more reliability, quality and more fit to their needs.


Fit for Purpose: How Modern Businesses Find, Satisfy and Keep Customers (David J. Anderson and Alexei Zheglov, 2017)

Mark Philippoussis (Wikipedia, 2019)

Roger Federer (Wikipedia, 2019)

Novak Djokovic (Wikipedia, 2019)

Rafael Nadal (Wikipedia, 2019)

Wimbledon 2018: who are the tallest tennis players still in action? (Tom Head, 2018)

Photo credit:

Encyclopedia Brtiannica

Wikipedia – 100 Meters

Financial Times – How veteran tennis stars continue to dominate Wimbledon (Charlie Bibby, 2019)

Author avatar
Diego Moraes