The big picture
Sure, the project is being managed. Schedules, planning, collaboration, data. It is all there, but how do we keep track of that information without being overwhelmed, and more importantly, how do we use this information to our advantage?
Make sense of huge amounts of data, make decisions based on this data in real-time. Smartsheet will help you gain real-time visibility into critical data to help you drive alignment through easy to configure dashboards. These dashboards are graphical interfaces using real-time data where, for example, status and KPI’s are consolidated.
Benefits of dashboarding with Smartsheet
Why would we make use of the dashboards in Smartsheet? Well, there are a couple of benefits and features that are quite useful. To highlight a few:
By identifying trends, you will be able to correct your course before problems arise. Assessing performance against plans becomes much easier.
Dashboards enrich communication significantly. Your company story comes to life through data visualization, a huge enhancement to any presentation with data that is always up to date.
Customize dashboards to meet your information needs and share them with your team, executives, or customers, being able to show real-time accurate data keeping them informed, and allowing quick response to dynamic situations.
Respond quickly to any change. Dashboards provide all necessary information in one overview, right where you need it. The information is always real-time. For example, reports are automatically displayed on your dashboard. And (duplicate) data entry is minimized.
Types of dashboards
There are three overall types of dashboarding: strategic, analytic, and operational. However, this can be combined to fit your need. For example, high-level overview combined with drill-down elements.
A high-level view of the visualizations based on certain KPIs and statuses.
A more complex dashboard than the strategic dashboard, where the focus is on gaining insights from data collected over time. This is achieved through drilling down more detailed data. This business intelligence can be used to determine why and what exactly has happened to support decision making.
Real-time data to help manage daily business processes. For example, tasks completed or at risk.
How to use dashboards in Smartsheet
In Smartsheet the dashboards are built upon widgets. These can be chart, metric, or report widgets, rich text widgets to allow for any text, image widgets, and even web content widgets. Out of the box, there are several free templates you can choose from to start with, or you can build your own dashboard from scratch.
Project Management Dashboard
The Project Management Dashboard is a good example of an out of the box dashboard that provides you visibility into all projects, see key-milestones immediately, have easy access to related documents and links.
As said, there is also the option to create your own dashboard from scratch or modify and existing one based upon what is relevant to you. Which is much easier than it sounds.
Simply create the dashboard, drag, and drop the widgets you’re interested in and link them to the data.
Conveying your message
Setting up a dashboard is quite easy as you can see. However, there are some important factors to keep in mind. First, you will need to take your intended audience into consideration. Different stakeholders will be interested in different elements of your work. Finances could be interested in planned vs actuals, while team members might be interested in upcoming activities.
Secondly, what are the actions you would like to drive and how to emphasize this with your chosen widgets? Do they convey or reinforce your message?
Visualize, summarize, and share important elements of your work, either by KPIs or status, or if you’re on target.
Stay organized by consolidating reports and communicate effectively by always having up to date, real-time information on your work.
Choose with whom to share your dashboard, you are in control.