TO LEARN HOW TO CREATE, CUSTOMIZE, AND SHARE DASHBOARDS, PLEASE SEE THE DASHBOARDS HELP ARTICLE.
A good dashboard keeps you informed by grouping relevant information together. A great dashboard lets you and your project stakeholders see real-time status, updates, risks, and instantly provides the critical details without causing information overload.
Dashboards can look different depending on your team, the type of work that you do, and the metrics that are important to you. Here are a couple of things to think about before you start building a dashboard:
1. Keep your audience in mind
Always start by thinking about the audience. They might be stakeholders, clients, internal team members, your manager, or even yourself. You need to understand their goals and requirements in order to populate the dashboard with data that will provide value to that audience.
2. Decide on data
Make sure you choose metrics that will help the audience understand the story you’re trying to tell. The information should be timely and relevant so that the viewer is empowered to take action, if necessary. Date ranges and filters let you get down to the right data.
Anatomy of a Dashboard
Below is an example of a dashboard built from scratch using the Blank/Custom dashboard option. This dashboard might be used to share project status and help communicate the health of your project to your team and your stakeholders. Let’s take a look at how each of the numbered widgets in the dashboard below are configured to display meaningful metrics.
1. Projects View Widget
This widget displays the project plan and schedule bars found on the Projects tab. In the configuration window below, notice that the widget is filtered to display metrics from Active Items in the Data Center Upgrade project.
- The Plan Depth determines the level of detail displayed and in this example, it is set to show only Containers and Milestones within the filter parameters. For a more detailed view of all items within the project, choose Full Plan or, to display only one level expanded beyond the filter results, choose Top Level.
- Use the Timescale picker to choose the schedule bar anchor date and set the timeline scale to days, weeks, months, or quarters.
2. Analytics Table Widget
In this example, you can see the current and expected billable amounts for the project and how that compares to the negotiated contract amount. The same Data Center Upgrade project filter is set but the Task Status filter is set to All Items since this widget is reporting on financial information for all items within the project, which includes completed tasks. The data displayed in an analytics table widget is based on hours. This means that the table will include metrics from items with hours logged or hours remaining in the selected date range and filter parameters. To include items that do not yet have any hours associated, check the box at the very bottom of the window to “Include items with hourly values of 0 or undefined.”
3. Trend Chart Widget
In a trend chart widget, use the Location picker to choose a specific container or plan item. Then use the Chart Type to select from Total Trend, Remaining Work or Date Drift trend charts. This widget helps to visualize the trend in hours logged and hours remaining over the lifetime of the Data Center Upgrade project. Hover over any of the trend lines in the widget to see a pop up displaying the hourly metrics of the project on that specific date.
4. Donut Widget
The Donut Widget allows you to easily visualize hourly metrics as well as task and project counts. In the widget below, the Ring Emphasis is set to person and the Metric chosen is Hours Total [E] (Hours Logged + Hours Remaining [E]). The widget is also filtered to a specific project and has a Task Status filter set to All Items, which means we’re looking at the total work allocation of each person for the Data Center Upgrade project.
5. Analytics Table Widgets
This widget called “Risks” below is filtered to the same project, but in this analytics table widget, the Row Type is set to task and the Task Status filter is set to Flagged. You’ll also notice that ‘Flag’ is displayed as a column in the table for a quick visualization of the flag type (red flame or yellow alert). The tasks are sorted by priority as determined by the priority placement of these items on the Projects tab but you may also consider sorting the table by deadline date or delta deadline if that order is most important to you.
The widget called “Milestones” below uses the same project filter and the same task row type as above. The Task Status filter in the example below, however, is using a custom status filter, which was built to display only milestones. Note that the column for deadline is exposed in this table because in reporting, milestone dates are populated in the deadline column.
The Dashboards Gallery
Browse the gallery below to view more examples of dashboards created from the Blank/Custom dashboard option and use them as inspiration for building your own. Click on an image to see a full-sized view of the dashboard. Our guide to analyzing project data in LiquidPlanner also walks through using dashboards to view team capacity and identify project risks.
Status | Intake | Launch | Personal | Client | Comparison | Requirements | Educational | Design
You’ll want overall completion, remaining work, key milestones and deadlines, and flagged risks right up front. Start planning meetings by displaying this dashboard on your conference room projector.
Create a streamlined intake process for members of your workspace and external guests. By adding an Intake Form widget, viewers can fill out a form and submit a new project or task directly from your dashboard. These intake items could be technical issues, bug reports, client feedback, or project requests.
Keep the rest of the organization informed with high-level progress and key messaging for your upcoming product launch. Include graphics, related links, and the launch date, of course! Once you’ve got it configured, you won’t need to keep sending updates – team members can simply visit your dashboard.
Build a personal dashboard to help you stay on top of conversations and to monitor your accomplishments. Track the hours you’ve logged to specific projects, get a list of your recently completed tasks, or keep your goals in sight. Your dashboard can be completely private or you may wish to share it with your manager to keep them in the loop.
Provide your clients with an accurate picture of progress and delivery dates. Set the common filter for the dashboard to a specific client or set of projects. You can decide to expose the 50% likely Finish[E] date or, if you’d like to communicate the best case or worst case scenario, you can show the Finish[10%] or Finish[90%] dates instead. Clients are typically not members of the workspace, so you can invite them to view the real-time dashboard as guests.
Project Comparison Dashboard
Show a side-by-side view of specific projects, initiatives, or even resources. Use the duplicate function to add the same widgets quickly and then just change the title and filter settings.
Project Requirements Dashboard
Build a dashboard to get all of the key players on the same page about a new product. Provide just enough information to help people understand the project’s requirements. This might include high level status, objectives, background, user stories, or assumptions. Add a document widget and provide links to specs and designs as they become available.
Dashboards are great for sharing project-specific information, but you can also use them as an educational resource. Compile a reading list with external links, communicate company goals, or post an infographic.
Use a dashboard as your virtual drawing board. Group related brainstorms, sketches, and ideas together. Add a comment and/or documents widget and filter to tasks that contain product specs or designs to consolidate feedback from those items.