God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference. (Serenity Prayer, Reinhold Niebuhr)

Key Success Factors

A key success factor (KSF) is a management term for an element that is necessary for an organization or project to achieve its mission. The term critical success factor is a synonym (Wikipedia).

The answers to three questions help identify key success factors:

Critical success factor vs. key performance indicator:

KPIs, on the other hand, are measures which quantify management objectives, along with a target or threshold, and enable the measurement of strategic performance.

An example:

Industry Matrix

You can use key success factors (KSFs) to create an industry matrix, which is an analysis of firms in an industry according to their performance on the KSFs.

Key Success Factors Weight Company A Rating Company A Weighted Score Company B Rating Company B Weighted Score
KSF 1          
KSF 2          


Common Types of KSFs

Technology Related KSFs
Distribution Related KSFs
Marketing Related KSFs
Skills Related KSFs
Organizational Capability
Other Types of KSFs