Project Status Dashboards in PowerPoint

Dashboard Spy readers never believe me when I tell them how many PowerPoint dashboards I see out in the field. Yes, that’s right – it’s not a mis-statement. I said Microsoft PowerPoint for enterprise dashboarding! Don’t believe me? Look within your own organization and I’m sure you’ll find project tracking, status reporting and other related task being done with Powerpoint. Believe it or not, I’ve even seen pharmaceutical marketing departments exchange data feeds with partner companies through powerpoints that contained embedded data tables!

Just because a dashboard is implemented in Powerpoint, however, don’t dismiss it as the output of someone who doesn’t know anything about executive dashboarding or enterprise reporting. It may be because of the installed user-base of powerpoint, the fact that you can distribute it as a powerpoint show (pps file) or simply the fact that most people are not intimidated by powerpoint, that it is being used.

For our dashboard example today, we take a look at this Powerpoint dashboard:

Powerpoint Dashboard

As you see, it is a Project Status and Milestone Reporting Dashboard. I think you’ll agree with me that, while the graphics are rudimentary and the choice of file format somewhat limiting, this is actually quite OK as a dashboard.

If you study the metrics on the dashboard, you’ll see that the project management understanding is there and the KPIs selected are quite solid.

There is a section for milestone activities (start, scheduled completion dates and percent complete), Project team status (risks, resources, scope and milestones – with red/green/yellow visual indicators of status), and Project Status Trend Reporting (Overall, Schedule, Budget, Resources and Scope).

A fine effort overall, especially surprising given the choice of Powerpoint as the file format. Just goes to show – use what you have and save your money for the user-facing phases of the project.

Speaking of the users, let’s take a look at the output for them. The areas tracked by the powerpoint dashboard are OAKS Human Capital Management (HCM), OAKS Reporting and OAKS Finanancials. OAKS stands for Ohio Administrative Knowledge System.

Yes – that right, the state of Ohio. Now the picture is starting to come together as to why powerpoint. This governmental project team was under budget constraints and did not want to spend hard to procure taxpayer dollars on an internal-facing dashboard system. They spent their money on the user-facing components. Take a look at the nice design of the oaks.ohio.gov site:

Ohio Administrative Knowledge System website

I don’t live in the state of Ohio, but if I did, I would applaud them on the restraint they showed in not spending big dollars on an enterprise dashboard. They did a fine job with what they had on hand. Now that they’ve done the hard work, maybe they can move up to a “real” dashboard if they can show the ROI.

Note: When you are ready to move beyond powerpoint dashboards, consider the next leve of using an OEM or Embedded Dashboard. By the phrase “embed a dashboard”, we mean using a third party dashboard software package to provide dashboard functionality in your corporate application. This is perfect for IT departments that want to dashboard but don’t have in-house dashboard development expertise.

Tags: Powerpoint dashboard, dashboard software selection, dashboard design, municipal dashboard, government dashboard, microsoft powerpoint dashboards

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