2. Designing Your Dashboard

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The hardest part of building the dashboard is the initial design. At this stage, you need to decide information to include and where it will sit on the dashboard.

Lesson Notes

Picking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

- KPIs are specific metrics that help evaluate the performance of a business
- Revenue is an obvious KPI but KPIs that drive revenue should also be tracked
- For subscription-based businesses, these KPIs are growth rate and lapsed rate

Designing the dashboard

1 Wireframe the dashboard with pen/paper or in PowerPoint
2 Include a title and some headline numbers at the top of the dashboard
3 Divide the remainder of the dashboard into 5-6 segments
4 Assign a particular chart to each segment and adjust the segment size accordingly


Perhaps the hardest part of building a data dashboard is deciding on what data should be included and also how it should be laid out within the dashboard. In our first meeting of Bloom Acres CEO, he gives us some insight into the details he'd like to focus on in the dashboard. His first comment is with regard to revenue and growth. Although Bloom Acre�s a startup and growth is certainly a concern, the CEO is very focused on maintaining a high standard of service to existing customers and this should be represented through some KPI on the dashboard. Next, the CEO would like to learn more about the size of his customers. Are they large, medium or small? Large customers tend to offer more profitability, but smaller customers are quicker and easier to acquire. The CEO would also like to track revenue by month to identify seasonality trends amongst his customers and lastly, he'd like to evaluate the performance of his 15 sales managers. Both in their ability to capture new customers, and to keep existing customers happy. With this information, we can now begin to design our dashboard. I normally do this on a blank sheet of paper or a simple PowerPoint slide where I can quickly create shapes and play with different design options. At the very top, I'm going to have some headline matrix such as Total Revenue, Total Growth and also the Target Revenue for the year. On the left-hand side of the page, I am going to show Total Revenue by month as the CEO requested and I'm also going to show Customer Growth and Retention to make sure that the company as a whole is serving its existing customers well and also attracting new customers. Lastly, in this row, I'll include some information about the customer size. Probably dividing revenue into large, medium and small customers. This row of data will concern the company as a whole. The next row of data will concern the performance of the sales managers. Here I'll include a chart which will compare the revenue generated by each sales manager and in the right-hand corner, I'll allow the CEO to analyze each sales manager, along the key metrics that he desires. Note at this stage I don�t know exactly what charts will best capture this information. And the grid may change over time. However, as long as I know roughly the five or six critical parts of the dashboard I can begin building. We'll start this process in the next lesson by calculating our headline metrics.