The term dashboard is known to most of us from the automobile industry. In your car dashboard the goal is to see everything you need to see to drive safely at once. And all the not-so-important stuff goes into the background.
This idea has been adopted by the project management industry and many business guidelines. The same principles apply to a business than to driving a car:
- you want to get somewhere
- you need to know the most important things at a glance to stay in control
- everything that's not-so-important has to get out of the way, but must still be retrievable on demand
Unlike with a car where the most important things are speed and direction, with a business it's not so easily decided how to measure progress and what the most important things are. So you need to sit back and think yourself a moment about what your strategic projects are, what really matters if you don't get it done in the long term. These are the projects you need to put on your personal dashboard!
Like youre car has a speedometer to measure your speed (performance), most dashboard applications allow you to set up Key Performance Indicators (short: KPI's).
As the success of your business obviously can't be measured in mph (km/h), you have to come up with a different solution.
KPI: Activity (Number of Tasks completed per day/week/month)
A good Key Performance Indicator in project management in general is the Activity in your projects. Projects with no activity over a long period of time have a bad KPI. On the other hand projects with regular activity are more "healthy" and therefore have a good KPI.
KPI: Tasks out of time (Overdue)
Another good overall indicator is how many tasks are out of time. It's a real life fact that you can't plan everything - so some tasks are bound to run out of time. If there never is a task out of time someone might even suspect you planned too lazily and added some extra time to spare for each task. So the question here is not if there are tasks out of time, but how the development over time is. If every week 5 additional tasks run out of time, this is bad. Think about how many tasks would be out of time in a year. If the total number of tasks out of time stays the same this is good. Even better if it's reduced over time.