How To Build A Project Management Dashboard (2021 Guide)

How To Build A Project Management Dashboard (2021 Guide)


Want to build a project management dashboard for your team?

A project dashboard is a one-stop-shop for all your project-related updates. 

It’s sort of like the Bat Cave, without the bats or the secret access. 

However, it can have lots of cool dials and buttons!

But what is a project management dashboard exactly? 

And more importantly, what does it contain?

Well, unlike the Joker, we do have a plan. 

In this article, we’ll answer all your questions about a project dashboard and highlight an all-in-one project management software to build the perfect dashboard for your projects! 

 

This Article Contains:

(Use the links below and jump to a specific section)

Ready to become the hero your project deserves?

Let’s get started.

 

What Is A Project Dashboard?

A project dashboard highlights important project information that describes the overall progress of a specific project. It can also display the project’s Key Performance Indicator (KPI) or the project performance in measurable values. 

A dashboard can also give you a high-level overview of each project status or deep dive into specific business functions like marketing, production, or sales.

If you’re a secret millionaire vigilante, you can also add ‘the number of crime rings busted’ to the list. 

You can even have multiple project dashboards for every new project

But at the end of the day, your KPI dashboard should perform one thing:

A quick temperature check on your project to help you decide where to focus.  

And you can create a dashboard using a…

Notebook? Pinup board?

Or maybe a Bat-signal?

bat signal

Unless you have hundreds of empty notepads lying around (or have access to really big lights), these aren’t viable options. 

And if your idea of a KPI dashboard is a PowerPoint or Excel template, think again.  

Instead, why not use a dedicated dashboard software?

What is project dashboard software?

A project management dashboard software can help you build a custom dashboard to track all your active projects

You can also opt for a more comprehensive project management software with customized dashboards built into it. Most of these tools give you a project dashboard template to get started instantly, so you won’t have to make one from scratch!

Speaking of templates, check out this article for handy project management templates. 

Using a task management dashboard tool gives you the advantage of in-depth insights without spending hours on data collection and analysis. It’s also your best bet to keep your remote team tuned into every movement on your project. 

But a tool must meet some criteria to qualify as a dashboard tool, right? 

 

What To Put On A Project Management Dashboard?

Project management dashboards should be able to report on:

Typically, a good project management dashboard template should show such metrics with a ‘widget’ that updates in real-time. This helps a dashboard display updated data accurately.

Here’s a quick look at the types of widgets that can go on project dashboards:   

A. Project activity and task widgets

Want some help with task management

One way is to have a really detailed walkthrough with your colleagues. (Or English butlers.)

alfred batman

Don’t want to have this conversation? Then use project activity and task widgets

These handy tools offer information on your project’s progress, like:

  • Which projects are active and which are paused or completed
  • Completed, active, and pending tasks in each project
  • Completion percentage
  • Upcoming deadlines or events 

Ultimately, these widgets are a platter of all-you-want-to-know information, served at first glance. 

B. Time usage widgets

Don’t wait for your team to turn in their timesheets at the end of the month. 

Get this information (and more) through time usage widgets on your dashboard. 

Track time usage of:

  • Tasks within projects
  • Entire projects
  • Teams and individual team members

Put those pocket watches right back into your pockets!

C. Milestone widgets

Whether it’s sprint completion or hitting the monthly sales target, every project counts the milestones in its journey. 

And the best way to achieve them is to track your progress towards them every day.

That’s why your dashboard needs milestone widgets that self-update with real-time project data.   

D. Resource allocation widgets

People are surely the most important components of any business. 

So why hide them behind targets and deadlines?

Resource allocation widgets bring your team members to the forefront with data on their:

  • Assigned tasks
  • Workload status
  • Work completion or pending status

This should help you decide where you need to deploy your resources for maximum impact and give your best performers a place to shine!

Of course, this is far from a complete list of widgets to add on a dashboard. 

But it shows how your dashboard can inform you of project health

But what makes these widgets accessible?

That depends on the dashboard’s features. 

 

What Features Should You Look For In A Dashboard?

Ever wondered why Batman’s team of crime fighters is so small?

(Robin, Catwoman, Gordon… and?)

It’s because he’s super picky about who gets the job. 

And why not, when the stakes are so high!

Now, you may not be fighting crime. 

But you’re up against impossible deadlines and ambitious targets. Every. Single. Day. 

So if your dashboard has to help you deal with such pressure, it must have a few things built in. 

Here’s what we think makes for perfect project dashboards

1. Intuitive visuals

Batman may not be great at verbal communication, which is probably because of that mask of his. 

But there’s one thing he responds to at lightspeed: the Bat-Signal!

In other words: he responds to strong, visual feedback that’s simply impossible to ignore. 

A dashboard must have several visual features like:

  • Graphs and charts
  • Text-based values or list
  • Timeline functionality (such as a Gantt chart)

If you want your project team to notice key project metrics, get a dashboard that pops with colorful visuals like these. 

2. Customizability

Your inventory team may want to track the actual cost of raw materials while the product team wants to see their bug fixing rate. 

The only way out?

Maximum customizability. 

Your KPI dashboard must cope with each different project plan and its growing needs. 

After all, even Batman changed his suit with each franchise reboot, right?

bat suits

3. Precise and updated data

Nothing spells bad decisions faster than inaccurate data about key metrics.

That’s why your dashboard must be 100% accurate at all times. 

A dashboard can do this is by:

  • Having transparent and easy-to-use settings
  • Allowing users to customize the data displayed
  • Updating the widgets in real-time

Precise and accurate data on the dashboard will help you make better project estimates and decisions confidently, helping you avoid any trouble later on. 

4. User-friendliness

Want to share your portfolio dashboard with the stakeholders?

Then your dashboard design better pass some basic user-friendliness tests first. 

A dashboard must have:

  • Easy shareability: Does it have a complicated signup process that involves multiple logins and requires way too much personal information? Use something simple to ease the process for your client or customer.
  • Smooth scannability: Once in, a stakeholder must be able to access the information easily. This includes easy to navigate graphs, scrollable lists, links to additional reading, etc.

And that’s just about how a user can manage a dashboard. 

In practice, project dashboards should be equally easy to use for the person building it as well.  

Wait… are all of these requirements making your head spin?

Don’t worry. You can easily create and customize every widget you want on your project management dashboard. 

You just need the right tool for the job.

 

How To Set Up A Project Management Dashboard? 

Remember how Batman made most of his gadgets and weapons all by himself?

The suit. The shiny Batmobile. Even the pointy little batarangs to throw at villains.

Well, you’re about to build your own cool dashboard too! 

And just like how Bruce Wayne had the brilliant scientist, Lucius Fox, to help him out, you’ll have a guide along the way. 

Meet your sidekick: ClickUp

What’s ClickUp?

ClickUp devices on Alexa, laptop, and iPad

ClickUp is the highest-rated project management tool in the world. 

Used by 200,000+ super productive teams from startups to giants like Google, Airbnb, and Uber, it’s the only tool you’ll need to manage projects and track your team’s productivity. 

Move past the traditional Microsoft Excel dashboard; ClickUp is the blazing fast Batmobile your project needs! 

How to use ClickUp Dashboards?

Just like the Batmobile, the ClickUp project status Dashboard is full of exciting sci-fi features that look complex but are super simple to use. 

But before you fire it up, you need to learn how to set it up. 

First, turn on the Dashboards feature in your ClickApps settings. 

Then, follow these instructions to set up your Dashboard:

  • Click on the Dashboards icon in your sidebar
  • Select the  + icon to add a new Dashboard
  • Click + Add Widget to bring in your data

dashboard widget in clickup

ClickUp’s default Dashboard settings keep your project data private. 

But if you want to share key project metrics with other team members or stakeholders:

  • Select the Private tab in the relevant Dashboard
  • Invite members whom you want to share it with
  • Choose between ‘Full Edit,’ ‘Can Edit,’ and ‘Can View’ permissions for each member

sprint test

Now, feel free to add any of the following widgets from the Add Widget option in the sidebar: 

embed widgets

Are these all of ClickUp’s ace project management features?

It’s not even half the list!

If you want a trailer of this blockbuster software, check out some of our personal favorites: 

  • Mind Maps: develop your project planning or any ideas further with aesthetic mind maps 
  • Multitask Toolbar: take bulk actions to clear your backlog at once 
  • Profiles: keep up with team members’ past, present, and future tasks
  • Workflow Automation: automate tasks in 50+ unique ways to save time
  • Pulse: visualize your team’s daily work activity
  • Gantt Chart: visualize project progress in a Gantt Chart format
  • Multiple Views: manage your project via multiple views like List, Kanban Board, and more
  • Native Time Tracking: track how long your tasks take right inside ClickUp 
  • Goals: set goals like project budget and track them in a dashboard widget
  • Integrations: integrate third-party apps, like Zoom and Google Drive, into your ClickUp workspace
  • Portfolios: track each project portfolio in a single view
  • Mobile Apps: stay productive with ClickUp’s awesome mobile app for Android and iOS devices

 

Conclusion

A dashboard may seem simple enough to ignore. But it’s one of the most essential tools in your project management box. 

So, it better be sharp and ready to deploy. What better way to ensure this than to use a powerful dashboard tool like ClickUp?

It’s easy to assemble, requires zero training to use, and measures every important project KPI there is. 

Get ClickUp for free and transform yourself into the super project manager you were destined to be!

batman

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