A Dashboard is a visual tool that allows you to view data in real time. When coupled with your Key Performance Indicators, you can build a dashboard that enables you to gauge the health of your organization or business unit at a glance.
Best Practices for Developing a Dashboard
Dashboards normally have limited visual space, so choosing which metrics are displayed is a key decision. Remember that the goal of a Dashboard is to display only the most critical data and metrics to provide your staff with an “at a glance” view of how well they are meeting the business objectives.
“A picture is worth 1,000 words.” This is a great rule to use when trying to make your dashboards. Try to keep things as visual as possible with different chart types, colors, shapes, or interactivity and try to avoid turning your dashboard into a big spreadsheet.
When you start developing your dashboard, think about how you are going to keep it up-to-date. Your dashboard is only as accurate as the data it’s based off of, so determining the refresh rate of your dashboard should be taken into consideration.
The easier your dashboard is to access and use, the greater the chance that your staff will buy in to this new idea.
Avoid the following Pitfalls
Adding in too much complexity during your starting phase. Keep it simple at first, and build in complexity once you have buy-in from your staff and have communicated your metrics.
Ensure that your metrics have been defined and communicated to your staff so that everyone is on the same page. Displaying a metric that your staff does not understand, not only takes up precious space on your Dashboard, but it adds in a level of confusion that could affect your staff’s level of buy-in.
Avoid clutter and non-value-added visualizations. Keep it simple and only include your most important metrics.
When developing your dashboard, be sure to account for the additional time and resources it will take to maintain and modify them.
Make sure that your metrics are aligned with your organization’s goals. Revisit your set metrics periodically to ensure that you are charting the correct course to achieve success.
Displaying poorly designed charts or graphs may add more confusion than understanding to your dashboard. Avoid this pitfall by having some outside eyes review your dashboards.
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