Project Management

Project Reporting in the PMO: Time to Kill the Dashboard?

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-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 [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Where would we be without the project dashboard? It’s become the unit of measure for project managers in recent years, starting off as a synonym for a status report--but over time distilling that information down into a short (generally one page) overview of where the project stands. We include a few traffic light indicators, maybe a trend arrow or two and some brief sections for bullets on issues, achievements and maybe next steps. Then we circulate the report to stakeholders and forget about it for another week. I’m as guilty as everyone else--I have my own one-page summary template.

Then the PMO gets hold of those reports and distills them down even more, trying to consolidate 25 or 30 projects into its own one-page summary for the executives so that they don’t have to read each of the individual summaries. This will have little more than a project name, overall status traffic light and a few key dates, probably supplemented by some summary charts. I’m guilty of having one of those, too.

But let’s step back a minute. What value are we actually delivering to the organization with these highly condensed summaries? It makes us feel better to produce them, and executives can look at progress over time and get some kind of indication of what they are getting for their investment…but are dashboards actually driving any value? I think…


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"I am not young enough to know everything."

- Oscar Wilde