Monday, August 3, 2009

Source of the idea

Last Friday’s post about our dashboard performance indicators has a back story. The word dashboard was already front-of-mind. We have been working for the past couple weeks on implementing a product from the Omega Group called the Omega Dashboard: essentially a series of dynamic, interactive data views that will inform our personnel of what’s hot and what’s not (more on that later).

The word came up again last Tuesday morning, when I attended the Teammates Annual Partnership Meeting. Teammates is a great mentoring program that started here in Lincoln several years ago (more on that later), and I am newly-appointed to the board. There were about two hundred people in attendance.

The executive director of Teammates, Suzanne Hince, started the morning off with a short progress report. A laser focus on performance was immediately evident. She used a PowerPoint presentation consisting of just seven slides, six of which were titled “Dashboard Indicators.” I thought that these slides were very powerful. “Hmmm,” I said to myself, “that’s an idea worth borrowing.”

The Teammates Dashboard Indicator slides convey the important performance measures of the program quickly and simply. You don’t need a ten-minute description, you don’t have to engage intellectual afterburner to interpret a complex table or vexing chart. Here’s the progress report that impressed me:


Anonymous said...

Dashboards are great for exec level stuff and even at the manager level.

Our implementation of them has shortened meetings as each item has a specific measurement assigned to it. If the measurement is on target then it is green. These are not discussed during meetings unless there is something really impressive to talk about. The yellow's are when the measurement are are off target but within the variance. These are only brought up if the yellow tracks for 3 months continuously. And then there is red. This is where the meeting begins and focus is maintained.

The kicker with all of this is that more attention needs to be given to greens. I would think it is the same in law enforcement where it is a culture of fixers. Meaning, you show up to where dispatch sends you and you resolve the problem and leave. So, on dashboards, if you focus on the reds and reds only then you begin to lessen good efforts of what is going on in the greens.

Managers will lean towards the neagative approach because if all a senior manager looks at is a negative when they round then emphasis if put on what is going wrong with an area rather than what is going right.

I do offer you caution though if you are going to sell this to staff level employees.We enjoy being able to tie it into a pay for performance atmosphere. I would think is more difficult in the government areas.

Either way, good luck with a dashboard concept. It is possible so long as the initiative is meaningful to staff members. Anything less and you are spinning your own wheels with a slick gadget.

I want to know what pirates think about dashboards.

Steve said...

Those kinds of indicators are nice to give one an idea of how well they are doing, but only if the data going into them are accurate and meaningful. The company I work for has gone crazy over charts and graphs over the last few years. You can't do anything now if you don't have a chart or graph to back up your decision (they like to call them metrics). The trouble is that they tend to change the parameters as needed to make the picture look good rather than dealing with the problem causing a missed goal. Or, they focus on the bad areas, as 6:53 mentioned, and just shift the problem elsewhere. I don't think using these graphics as "pats on the back" or "motivators" works well if the components and calculations used in creating them aren't understood by all.

ARRRRG!!!! said...

I'm getting one of these for my dashboard.

Anonymous said...

You gotta find a position for Arrrrg somewhere in your department.

Gun Nut