I know that KPI is a metric and metric is not necessarily a KPI, but I still don't understand the difference between these two. Let's take Periscope application as an example. What are possible KPI and metrics for this app, from a PM perspective?

5 Answers 5


A metric would be a standard of measurement in the context of PM. A performance indicator on the other hand is also just a type of performance measurement. Both terms could be and are used synonymously, e.g. here.

The K in KPI would be the difference if any. One would consider the Key performance indicators the most important metrics that provide the best oversight of the project.

A key performance indicator:

  1. Has a very high predictive validity.
  2. Is an indicator that aligns with the objectives of that particular project.
  • 3
    I would enhance @Ghanima's definition of the "K" with this: Key is a performance indicator that has 1) a very high predictive validity AND 2) is an indicator that aligns with the objectives of that particular project. Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 13:36
  • @DavidEspina, thanks, good advise, I'll steal that.
    – Ghanima
    Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 14:28
  • @Ghanima: I think it would be nice if you would edit your answer (additionally to making a comment) for crediting David Espina with that info.
    – virolino
    Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 6:27

I once read a case about a development organization - they were trying to improve the administration of justice in an underdeveloped country. They had a way to measure the administration of justice (IIRC, the % of decisions that were overturned on appeal or review). But they had no way to influence the actual decision.

Root cause analysis indicated that part of the cause for the corruption was that there were only a few lawyers and they were all "alike". Follow the root cause back and they decided to intervene by increasing reading education. (If you can't read, you can't go to law school, if you can't go to law school, you can't be a judge.)

The metric was "% of children who graduated with enough reading skills to enter law school"

The KPI was "% of decisions overturned on appeal"


In simple term, Metric is how you measure something and KPI can be outcome of the measurements. For example, In a production support every month you present no. of tickets(Metric) as a trend. KPI is the trend should show reducing tickets month on month.


This sounds like a homework question.

A metric is a quantitative or qualitative measure of some sort that can be measured repeatedly.

A KPI is a metric that is considered very important in predicting some kind of outcome or making a decision. Its also just a fancy term that MBA's and business people sometimes use for the word 'metric.

When you're talking about KPI's you want to understand WHY that metric is important and how it will be used to make a decision. If you don't understand that, then its just another metric.

  • +1 for highlighting the decision making context of a KPI.
    – Tiago Cardoso
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 8:23

As far as I know, KPIs handle Strategic while metrics handle Tactical.

KPIs are for quantifiable or measurable value that how reflects a business goal or objective (strategic) & growth of the business in the goal or objective.

Metrics are also for quantifiable or measurable value but they how reflect success in the activities taking place (tactical) to support the accomplishment of KPIs.

If you still are confused about what Metrics are, I would like to say that they're nothing more than measurement you record to track some activity and measure success or failure.

Same for KPI (Key Performance Indicator); they are also measurements. Like metrics. KPIs are easily defined and also quantifiable.

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