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Author's profile photo Anita Gibbings

The Key Second Step to Successful BI Dashboards

by Mico Yuk and Anita Gibbings

In our July post, we covered the first – but most overlooked step – in the dashboard development process: planning your BI Dashboard. In step two, we’ll address scoping a.k.a. the ”art of gathering requirements”, according to the BI Dashboard Formula.

Let’s face it, most dashboard projects start the same way. Business users are in a rush; developers want to deliver on time and under budget; and everyone dives headfirst into scoping.

Slow down!!

Failure to adequately scope a dashboard project is responsible for the majority of missed deadlines, cost overruns,  and project failures as a whole.

We’ve all heard these lines:

  • “Our management has set a new strategic direction that we want to now incorporate.”
  • “This is an interesting KPI; now I’d like to also see….”

But here’s the problem: too many projects focus on what’s ‘urgent’ (daily crisis) instead of what’s important, losing sight of the big picture.Capturing Requirements Using a Scoping TemplateThe BI Dashboard Formula by Mico Yuk, recommends three different requirements to gather when scoping:

  1. Data requirements: Capturing all the KPI/metric details, such as the definition, how to calculate, the data source, etc.
  2. Design requirements: Defining the look and feel of the dashboard
  3. Functional requirements: Defining how business users expects to use the dashboard

Using a scoping template, like the BI Dashboard Formula Blueprint (shown below), will enable you to document all of the requirements in a single Excel sheet and use the three-step pruning process to distill KPIs and define the final scope. This template also allows you to create a system flexible enough to recognize valuable changes and cope with them, in conjunction with your key stakeholders.

BI Dashboard Formula Blueprint Template – Easy Guide to Document all KPIs/Metrics

Important Tips for Gathering Requirements

Yuk’s formula includes several tips:

Tip #1:    Gather the requirements in the order specified above: data, functional, and design

Tip #2:    Avoid jumping into design discussions too early – especially before gathering all of your data requirements

Tip #3:    Don’t gather your data requirements based on existing or old reports –  focus on the business problem that needs solving and work with the business users to determine what needs to be previewed to resolve these problems

Tip #4:    Bring all stakeholders into the same room during each scoping session to avoid drawn out delays in defining the KPIs

Tip #5:    Use a template like the BI Dashboard Formula Blueprint to gather all requirements in a single place and gain signoff from the business users before moving forward to the dashboard mock-up phase

Your overall goal of scoping the dashboard is to set expectations with the business users and increase ownership and user adoption in the short and long run. This is a period of socialization that, if done incorrectly, could mean the difference between a failed or a highly successful project.

BI Dashboard Training Series

This blog post addressed part two of the very popular BI Dashboard Formula training series, a simple and proven seven-step process taught by Mico Yuk. The training series, which begins September 6, 2012, is still open for registration until August 31, 2012. The BIDF Blueprint (shown above), along with nine other step-by-step templates to assist in your dashboard development process, will be made available to all registered attendees. Be sure to check it out today!

Mico Yuk is co-founder of Benchmarkers Business Intelligence and (the « Xcelsius Gurus” network), SAP mentor, top analytics blogger, and BI influencer.

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