Project sharing dashboard
A tool used to identify learning and sharing opportunities across a range of comparable projects
An inter-project knowledge sharing dashboard (project sharing dashboard) periodically plots expected values for project performance indicators against actual values for these indicators and does so for a portfolio of projects. Those projects that exceed expected values may have access to good practice from which projects that under-perform against expectation (on the same indicator) can learn.
Using a project knowledge sharing dashboard, learning between projects can be targeted and projects that perform above expectation can be paired to those projects that under-perform and knowledge transfer between the two sets can be facilitated. It should be noted that a difference between expected and actual values may not always be due to a knowledge advantage. Other factors could play a role, including external factors that cannot be influenced by the project.
Setting up a project sharing dashboard
- Agree a set of project performance indicators and agree the frequency of reporting values (baseline values, period expected values and period actual values). In longer-term projects, a frequency of once or twice a year is often sufficient;
- Set up a reporting infrastructure, with which projects can report their data to the dashboard. Make sure that differences between expected and actual values are highlighted (e.g. use a red/amber/green scheme). In some cases a positive difference (i.e. actual value is higher than expected value) can be interpreted to be a good achievement, whereas in other cases, this may be an underachievement (e.g. in the case of cost-related indicators);
- Agree which data are accessible to which stakeholders. In some cases, it may be necessary that only aggregated data (e.g. ranges or averages) for certain indicators can be shared across projects. Make provisions for ensuring that no data is disseminated to stakeholders that are not entitled to them;
- Develop standard reports for various stakeholder groups. Project-only reports that position an individual project within their peer group (anonymously, if required), project portfolio reports that provide the full detail and external reports that are aligned with the knowledge sharing terms agreed;
- Periodically analyse the dashboard to identify who can learn from whom (and conversely, who should be invited to share with whom).
An example of a knowledge sharing dashboard is shown in Fig. 1. In this particular case, a series of Carbon Capture and Storage projects are compared, against a multitude of indicators. The entire set of indicators counted to over one hundred and reporting frequency was set to twice per year.
Hints and tips
- A project knowledge sharing dashboard can be simply set up as an Excel spreadsheet that is published on a Sharepoint site. Alternatively, the dashboard can be set up as a website to which the data are submitted;
- A project knowledge sharing dashboard can be created on the basis of datasets that are already build up by project/programme management offices. In this way, no duplication of effort is done and value is added to data already being gathered;
- Project knowledge sharing dashboards can be used as a preparation tool for knowledge markets.