How to Use Project Dashboards

The dashboard is the steering wheel of your project management software, and Jennifer Bridges, PMP, shows you how to use it to drive a project to successful completion.

Here’s a shot of the whiteboard for your reference!


In Review: How to Use Dashboards

Project dashboards are a collection of data points about your project’s progress. They are a visual tool to see if your work is on or off track and are essential reporting tools for managing projects. Jennifer notes that with Dashboards, you either have one as part of your online project management tool or you manually create a compilation of reports to show your project’s data as a snapshot in-time. She recommends an online tool that auto-generates your Dashboard so your data is always up-to-date and in real-time. The last thing you need is stale data.

Another benefit of dashboards is you see your resource workload and can note if they’re overloaded or blocking deliverables and need reassigning. Task dates are also at your fingertips to determine whether they’re being met or not.

Once you’re using a dashboard, Jennifer continued, you have the ability to reassign resources, collaborate more freely with other team members, share information, better determine risk and how to reallocate budget if necessary.

Jennifer spoke to additional features and benefits, including how to customize your dashboard data for different stakeholders.

Pro-Tip: Your dashboard is only as good as the data you feed it. Since your team is on the front lines of project work, make sure they have access to your online pm tool and are updating their timesheets and tasks regularly.

Take it further: Read contributor Elizabeth Harrin’s article What the Heck Is a Dashboard and Why Do I Need One?

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Video Transcription

Well, today, we’re talking about how to use dashboards. The first thing you want to make sure you have when you’re creating your dashboards is an online tool that will provide instant and quick dashboards.

Nowadays, you don’t have to worry about spending hours creating worksheets and dashboards, because now there are tools that automatically and instantly do that for you.The whole point of a dashboard is to be able to see your project status in real-time. Once you have your dashboard then we want to know how to use it to get the most out of its features. By having a dashboard you get to look at things like your project status. You get to see where you are in the project. Are you on track? Are you off track?

You also get to see your resource assignments. Are there people who are overloaded? Are there some people who maybe are waiting on their deliverables or tasks to be done that you could reassign?It also lets you look at your task due dates to see are there any tasks that are overdue. It also lets you look at your deliverables in scope to see have they been completed yet. It also lets you take a look at your budgets to see if there are anything that needs to be reallocated.

Once you have your dashboard then it allows you these project capabilities. It allows you to determine variances between, say, your scope, your time line, and your budget. It also allows you to reassign resources by seeing who is assigned to what. It also allows you to collaborate among different team members and share information that may be helpful for making decisions, determining risks, and it also, again, allows you to reallocate your budget.

Some of the other tips we wanted to share is that it’s important for you to set up a process for your data entry in real-time. It’s important to specify who’s going to be entering the data, when are they going to be entering it, and how. You also want to ensure that your data is valid, it’s accurate, and it’s relevant. Because it’s true, garbage in is garbage out. If the data’s not correct then it’s not going to help you as a project manager or the team members.

You also want to customize the dashboards at a detail level appropriate for people looking at it. For instance, your stakeholders and executives are going to want different insights and different views on their dashboards than the project team members. The project team members are going to want more details, and your project team members are only going to be interested in the tasks that they have due.

Also, I think a big tip is the exception reporting. When you look at your dashboards, look at things that are not being completed. That way you can focus on getting those back on track.

If you need a tool that can help you with your dashboards then sign up for our software now at

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