Saturday, July 6, 2013

How to Build Effective Dashboards

My next speaking session is at BSPIN Annual Conference 2013, Bangalore on 26th July - I am going to conduct a half day tutorial titled 'How to Build an Effective Dashboard for CXOs, Senior Management and Business Leaders’.   The preparation is on.  I am writing this post to collect your inputs, understand your questions, and collaborate with you.   Your inputs are going to enrich this tutorial.

What does a dashboard mean to you? The dashboard of your project, program or organization - Is it a sleeping pill or a nightmare? Or is it an effective dashboard? What is your role? - do you create or consume dashboards? This tutorial is going to start with these questions and explore several interesting aspects.

Let me stop questioning and provide a brief on this tutorial.  Dashboards, when built right, can become powerful decision making tools for stakeholders at different levels such as CXOs, senior management and business leaders.   Creating an effective dashboard starts with collection, consolidation and presentation of meaningful metrics to consumers.  This has to be carried out by considering the organizational strategic objectives and vision.  This is where the fundamental concepts of ‘Business Score Card’ add value to dashboards.  A scorecard based approach provides for a balanced or holistic treatment to the process of dashboard design.  In addition to this it is imperative to consider the business needs of various groups of stakeholders and deliver them the right set of parameters or metrics because a single dashboard cannot serve the needs of all stakeholders.  Dashboard is what stakeholders will depend on as their starting point to understanding business from a point of view which is appropriate to them.  An effective dashboard is something what provides them relevant information and saves their time from seeking more data points from additional sources of information.

This tutorial is to systematically analyze and learn the process of building effective dashboards.  Organizations in IT industry are people-intensive with multiple service lines and project types.  The role of ‘Quality Head’ or ‘Process Head’ and her/his team in designing and providing dashboards to business leaders involves continuous collaboration and deep thinking with several internal groups such as project teams, CIO organization, as well as senior leaders.  This is because dashboards are one of the primary sources of information that influence decision making in senior leaders.

Is this a topic of interest to you? If yes, what questions do you have? In your current role, what do you expect to see in an effective dashboard? Do you have any interesting experience or thoughts about the utility of dashboards? Please share.

Note: Early bird registration for this conference is on.  Visit for more details.

How do you represent project status in your status reports or dashboards?  Do you use traffic lights ('Red', 'Amber', 'Green') to represent project status?   Learn why that is not a good idea and the two reasons.  There is a better ways of representing project status!  I have explained it in the next post!

Takeaways and References: Do you want to download white papers and presentations (PDF files) to learn more about how to build effective dashboards?  Read 'Tutorial on Effective Dashboards: Takeaways and References'.   Happy Reading!

Photo courtesy: The picture included in this post is an edited version of a photo shot at an ethnic jewelry shop by my colleague Rama during our team outing in Goa this year.

No comments: