Sexy or not, effective dashboards help project leaders quickly impart information to a range of audiences, from team members to executives to stakeholders — it’s the 30-second elevator speech on a screen, customized for detail. And it’s getting more advanced as dashboard developers consider user appeal as well as utility.
If People magazine decided to do a list of Sexiest Technologies Alive, project management dashboards most likely wouldn’t make the cut. Since their beginnings, dashboards typically have been somewhat rudimentary tools that presented data in a relatively dry environment. They were, like their vehicular namesake, largely unnoticed and rarely compelling.
Sexy or not, effective dashboards help project managers impart — in a matter of minutes — critical project details and updates to team members and stakeholders. But now dashboards are adding user appeal to utility, thanks to advancements in technology.
“The biggest enemy for project managers is time,” says Jason Westland, CEO and founder of Method123, which introduced ProjectManager.com, featuring a “dashboard on steroids,” in July. “They don’t have the time to look at all the details all the time. Therefore, they need a summarized analysis that will quickly tell them if the project is on track or not.”