3 steps to building your PMO Dashboard

Blog 07-04-2021
The majority of PMOs that are, what we call ‘value-adding’ PMOs, will need to produce dashboards that inform senior management on the health of various portfolios or programmes. This blog looks at how to develop a value-adding dashboard using best practice.

David Walton

PM3 dashboard

Before we address the various components of a best-practice dashboard, we need to define the purpose of the PMO dashboard and who the audience of the dashboard is.

Typically, the audience of a dashboard is senior stakeholders who want to see the status of their projects.

You can, of course, have dashboards at project, programme, and portfolio levels.

The PMO will typically produce dashboards at the portfolio and programme level. Project dashboards are produced by the project manager.

For the rest of this blog let’s assume that we are talking about a portfolio dashboard.

Step 1. Define your dashboard Audience

This is a step that is often overlooked resulting in a dashboard being produced that is too generic. It is likely that your portfolio dashboard may have more than one user or viewer.

Different stakeholders may want to see key information about different or even multiple portfolios. So, the first step is to make your dashboard configurable so that it can show different portfolios for different users or sponsors.

Step 2. Define your dashboard components

Keeping with the audience theme, different users may want to see different information from the same portfolio dashboard. It is ideal, therefore, to have a superset of dashboard components that a user can pick and choose for their particular purpose.

For example, a corporate risk auditor may want to focus on portfolio risks and may not be that interested in progress against schedule. The portfolio owner may be less concerned with risks and more concerned at how well the portfolio is meeting the organisational strategic objectives.

To address these multiple requirements, you need a set of dashboard components that can be configured for different users. So, the portfolio needs to be configurable and the components need to be configurable.

Step 3. Ensure your dashboard can drill-down

A dashboard, by definition, is a high-level summary of information in a portfolio, programme, or project.

If we stick with the portfolio dashboard theme, it is important that the dashboard user can click on a component and then drill down to view more information.

For example, a dashboard may contain a matrix of risks, like the one below from PM3, our PPM tool. If there are a number of risks in the red zone you would want to understand more information on these risks.

For example, you may want to see which project the red risk comes from and then drill down further to see the actual risk description, mitigation, etc. of the actual project risk.

A dashboard screenshot of the Risk Matrix feature in our PPM/PMO tool PM3
PM3, Risk Dashlet

Summary

These three simple but important steps will help you design good quality and informative PMO dashboards. In our next blog on dashboards, we look at the components of a good portfolio dashboard.

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