PMO project dashboard

At times it can be very confusing about the definition and purpose of the many tools and templates used in project management.  Therefore, building on the last post that covered PMO Reporting Framework, this post will cover the PMO Project Dashboard.

What is a PMO Project Dashboard?

This is typically a summary of all of the projects, programmes or work streams that the PMO has oversight for.  So if the PMO had oversight for 10 projects, the dashboard will contain a summary and status based on the 10 projects.

What is the benefit?

The main benefit is for senior management as the use of a dashboard allows project data to be summarized using defined and understood standards.  This means that senior management can review the dashboard and very quickly understand where there are problems so as to focus their valuable time on the right items.

Without the data being summarized, senior management would then need to go through individual reports to understand status and areas of concern.

How is the dashboard produced?

The dashboard is typically produced by the PMO collecting and reviewing each of the individual project reports.  Key elements are then taken from each of the reports to be used on the dashboard.

An important aspect to this is the definition and criteria for different report attributes.  For example, clear guidance on the RAG status so all projects can be compared on the same basis.

How often is the dashboard produced?

This is really down to each organization as they will each have different needs.  The typical reporting cycle for most organizations is monthly.  However, in some industries, projects are under a year, therefore, there is a requirement to monitor progress more closely.  In these situations you could see weekly or fortnightly reporting.

When setting reporting cycles it is important that the PMO sets a timetable that is appropriate and provides value.  Don’t report weekly if fortnightly will provide the required transparency and controls.

If you decide for a weekly or fortnightly cycle, you should review the project report and dashboards and endeavor to make them simpler to complete.  This will ensure that the project teams do not spend a disproportionate amount of time producing reports.

What project data should be captured on dashboard?

A good dashboard at a minimum will normally contain the following elements:

  • Project name
  • Project manager
  • Overall RAG status
  • Previous reporting period RAG status
  • Costs
  • Benefits
  • Brief status summary

Summary

A PMO Project Dashboard is a dashboard used to provide a summary report of all the projects for which a PMO has oversight for.  It is a powerful tool for senior managers to quickly understand the status and areas of concern, especially when time is limited.