Does Project Management Have a New Dashboarding Tool?

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 Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

There is little doubt that a project status report or dashboard is one of the cornerstones of project management. Along with the project schedule, it is one of the documents that every stakeholder wants to see and it is the source of significant discussion and debate. Never mind the considerable limitations of the information contained in most reports. Never mind the fact that most PMs hate producing them and do them at the last minute—with little consideration of ensuring accuracy and completeness. Most organizations feel as though they can’t live without them.

It makes you wonder (or at least it makes me wonder) how many hours are wasted every year producing dashboards and reports that are ignored, misunderstood or focused on the wrong things. I wonder how much energy is spent debating issues and risks that are (at best) out of date and often plain wrong simply because they are on the status report and must therefore be the biggest items needing to be addressed.

And of course in recent years I have wondered how much unnecessary tension and debate has occurred as organizations seek to adapt the much-loved project dashboard for agile projects: “I know agile is different, but I still need you to fill out this traffic light dashboard template every week.”

The problem is that status reports or dashboards are frequently misleading and out of date. …

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