Team Coaching

Unlocking Your Big Dashboard Energy

April 17, 2024
Amanda Babb

Data-driven decisions should be at the heart of every team. While we have incredible instincts as humans when it comes to pattern recognition, these same instincts keep us skeptical of making risky decisions. It may even prevent us from trusting one another when it comes to business decisions and organizational change. After all, how many times do we say to one another, “In God we trust; all others must bring data?” 

This W. Edwards Demming-attributed quote has permeated our business lives and demands we pay attention to metrics, KPIs, financial markers, milestones, and even project status to pick our next move. While Forbes and Harvard Business Review argue over whether it’s ⅔ or 3/4 of businesses failing to execute on their objectives, the fact that we’re studying this failure and the reasons behind it itself is data we can use to turn inward. Let’s reflect on how to unlock your Big Dashboard Energy. 

Big “D”ata starts with Little “d”ata

That’s right. You can’t have a big dashboard without big data. The problem is we focus so much on the business intelligence and artificial intelligence side of things we forget the foundations. Even something as simple as speaking of a development story can bear multiple definitions within the same program, let alone across programs or portfolios. 

In places where you can normalize your definitions and the language and taxonomy that supports them, do so. Get your teams to speak the same language with the same definitions. Once you have a more normal taxonomy, match your technology to support it. For example, In Progress means work being worked regardless if a team member sits in Marketing, Development, or Operations. You may not need all the other workflow statuses to differentiate between business areas. Why? Because there are other objects in your data that define that for you such as Issue Type, Project, or Project Category.

What Are You Trying to Say? 

A client of ours once said, “Data without a purpose is just reporting.” Dashboards should not be Yet Another Reporting Mechanism (YARM™). Know your audience and pick meaningful data for them. A Fortune 100 CEO is likely not concerned with individual Team-level velocity for the hundreds or thousands of teams that fall underneath them.* Conversely, an individual contributor likely doesn’t care if another team is burning down their Stories faster.** 

What are your overall contributions to the outcomes of the business? And if we’re looking at a Dashboard, what can it tell me about our execution against those outcomes? And if we’re not executing against the outcomes, what can we do about it? This is what Big Dashboard Energy can provide you: a data-driven approach to fully understanding your business and its outcomes so you can make better decisions faster. 

*Terms and conditions apply. We all know “those people.”
**It’s me. I’m those people. 

What Do You Care About?

We’ve enabled hundreds of clients to manage their lifecycles and gather the data to have the right conversations. What is it you care about that you need to measure and understand through the lens of data? Here are some popular ones we’ve implemented with clients like you: 

  • Execution and budget progress against contracts with third-party vendors
  • Demand capacity management based on planned Initiatives (+3 Quarters)
  • Execution against a planned Initiative and its impacts on the Objective and Key Results
  • Same as the above, but add planned and actual budget versus spend

At the end of the day, we’re all humans trying to make the best decision possible with the information presented. Let’s make that information more meaningful and powerful based on what it is you care about. Let’s help you unleash your Big Dashboard Energy.


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