PMO Dashboards...Without the Pain

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Okay, I give up. I’ve opined at length on the problems that can be created by dashboards; in fact, as part of my research for this article I reread an article that I wrote for my own company a few years back called “Dashboards, dashboards everywhere, and no one wants to think”. That probably tells you that I haven’t always been the biggest fan of the dashboard. However, I am now prepared to grudgingly admit that they are probably here to stay--the world doesn’t seem particularly interested in rejecting the tool simply because I don’t like it.

I’ve therefore had a rare epiphany and decided that if I can’t beat dashboards, then I’ll join them (grudgingly for sure, and with a fair amount of muttering under my breath). However, if I’m going to do dashboards, then I’m going to try and do it right. In this article, I want to explore some of the things that I consider important in a dashboard, and perhaps more importantly the controls and processes that need to be in place to support the dashboard and ensure that the content is accurate and meaningful.

What is a dashboard?
There are some terms that seem to have meaning to everyone--in IT, “portal” is one; and in project management, “dashboard” is certainly one. However, no one seems to share the same understanding of what a dashboard…

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