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Designing Dashboards: Important questions everyone should be asking

I was talking to a client the other day about the particular dashboard we were putting together for them. We had a few different people in the room and we were discussing:

  • What should go on it
  • What should be left off
  • What sort of decisions it will help support
  • How often would different people will be looking at it

Those are just a few of the things that were taken into consideration when we were putting together the executive dashboard. About halfway through the session one of the folks said, “I’m really glad I came to this; I never really thought about our business this way.” I think that’s one of the unintended benefits of developing these types of analytics and working on things like dashboards and reports. It makes you think about the types of decisions that you’re supporting in organizations. I think that’s one of the really important side benefits that you get from broad stakeholder engagement.

These reporting efforts oftentimes spawn a conversation about what types of information you need to support the business and it can be an incredibly valuable conversation. It really makes you examine how you run and operate your business. Too often you’ll have people take reports and the information that they have on hand as a given and they don’t question why they don’t have this other piece of information. Or maybe they think, “Wouldn’t it be great if I did have this other piece of information and look how much better I’d be able to do my job.” So I think there’s a really powerful side benefit to having a conversation about how do we make decisions and what information do we need to make it happen.

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