Creating a Dashboard
Situation/Task: A Client wanted to improve the execution performance across all of the projects in his office. Surprises often came late in the projects such that there was little time to react and correct the situations. This performance often had an impact to the company’s business results.
Action: We created a management dashboard of key indicators and an easy to read red, yellow, green report that would be scanned very quickly by senior management. The purpose was not to spent time reviewing every point on the report, but to quickly size up the overall picture and spend the management time on the points that were the biggest risks to the business. The preparation for the report was actually more challenging and rewarding than producing the actual dashboard report itself. In order to build a proper dashboard, the Client’s Management Team had to come together and agree on common definitions of success, key indicators, events that lead to the key indicators, and as each member of the Management Team was a Section Leader, how the results produced by his/her section played a role in the success or lack of success for the business as a whole.
Results: The Dashboard report, and the alignment process used to develop the Dashboard, brought the Client’s Management Team closer as a team, highlighted the big picture and their roles in it, and became a very useful communications tool for teaching the office as a whole how their personal performance contributed to the overall performance of the business. The management meetings became shorter, more effective, and more efficient allowing more management time to be spend on advancing the future of the business instead of correcting the present. After monitoring the progress for a while, I reported to the Client Managing Director that the performance of the project execution was getting better. This particular client was a Dutch company with a Dutch Managing Director. The Dutch mentality can be very direct and black or white with their thinking and his response was don’t tell me that it’s better; show me it’s better. He wanted us to measure betterment. We eres able to translate the Dashboard into a “Betterment Index” which provided another Early Warning Indicator as to the trend of the business. The index as an absolute value was meaningless, but as a trend…the index this month versus last month... did provide management with instant feedback for quick action.