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7 Common Project Portfolio Dashboard Mistakes


A project portfolio dashboard is one of the most effective ways to gain insights into how a project and the project team functions, but it can quickly become a nightmare.

As a project or program manager, you need to know how to avoid these seven common project portfolio dashboard mistakes.

Mistake 1: Dashboard Is Static

The project portfolio dashboard needs to change often and accurately. Do not fall into the trap of leaving metrics unattended, which will lead to outdated data quality and affect all future processes.

Mistake 2: Detail Is Missing

The dashboard needs to provide details about specific metrics. This may include definitions of metrics, identification of correlations between different metrics and the ability to drill down into the data within each metric.

Mistake 3: Too Many Details in the Dashboard

Having too many details can be just as ineffective as not having any details. Avoid ambiguity when creating a project portfolio dashboard. Include relevant information, but do not make the dashboard difficult to scan. In other words, you should be able to review the status of your dashboard in less than one minute to be successful.

Mistake 4: Creating All Dashboards Manually

Today’s business intelligence (BI) tools are built to give you more time to actually work on your project. However, you can spend weeks creating dashboards manually for your project team, skilled workers and upper-level management.

Your project portfolio dashboard should have the ability to be created automatically and copied as a template for future dashboard creation.

Mistake 5: Metrics Do Not Reflect Actual Needs

It is easy to add metrics to modern project dashboards, but having access to a metric does not necessarily make it useful. Your metrics should reflect your actual needs, and individual dashboards in your office and throughout your project should only contain data relevant to the specific user. This will prevent confusion and foster a productive work environment.

Mistake 6: Access to Dashboards Is Only Limited to PMO

Dashboards are only as effective as the users who access them. All members of the project management office, your skilled workers and upper-level management should have access to dashboards.

However, the key to avoiding complications lies in preventing unauthorized users from changing information within the dashboard.

Mistake 7: Using Raw, Un-analyzed Data

Raw data make your project difficult to manage, and depending on the size of your project, the amount of data can easily become impossible to analyze manually. Your dashboard should cleanse data for quality and produce easy-to-understand results.

Creating and using a project portfolio dashboard is essential to the success of large, complex projects, but making mistakes can make your investment falter. Learn to avoid these seven mistakes, and see how a project portfolio dashboard can make your responsibilities easier to fulfill.

Key Things to Remember

  • A project portfolio dashboard should be updated regularly.
  • The portfolio dashboard needs to have just the right amount of detail.
  • A project manager needs to be able to create dashboards manually and automatically.
  • Metrics should be assigned to project portfolio dashboards that reflect the needs and pain points of each user.
  • All personnel in a project should have access to project dashboards, but access to change information should be limited.
  • Data in dashboards needs to be cleansed to create quality data.

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