Mistakes to avoid when creating performance dashboard #1 — Failing to apply the “Three Threes”

A performance dashboard is a multilayered application built on business intelligence and data integration infrastructure that enables organizations to measure, monitor, and manage business performance more effectively.

Your performance dashboard is much more than just a screen populated with fancy performance graphics and tables of figures. It must be a full-fledged business information system designed to help organizations optimize performance and achieve strategic objectives.

Despite the wide variation among performance dashboards, each shares three basic characteristics: 3 Applications, 3 Layers, and 3 Types.

Three Applications

To build your state-of-the-art performance dashboard, a robust tool is required. Whatever your choice, it must contain three applications woven together seamlessly:

  1. A monitoring application   to follow what happens in real-time or near real-time. The monitoring application aims to (re-)acts as fast as possible when something happens to your operations.
  2. An analysis application   to review the past. And make corrective decisions. Analysis should lead to lessons learned to formalize market practices and share the knowledge across the organization and over time.
  3. A management application  to discuss the information, make sure the company is aligned with strategic concerns, and set new objectives.

Each application provides a specific set of functionalities delivered through a variety of means.

Technically speaking, the applications are not necessarily distinct programs but sets of related functionalities built on an information infrastructure designed to fulfill user requirements to monitor, analyze, and manage performance.

Three layers

The most distinctive feature of a performance dashboard is that it consists of three views of layers of information :

  1. monitoring layer,
  2. analysis layer,
  3. detailed information layer.

The performance dashboard lets users peel back layers of information to get the root cause of a problem. Each successive layer provides additional details, views, and perspectives that enable users to understand a problem better and identify the steps they need to address.

Three types

There are three major types of performance dashboard :

  1. operational  -  for your daily operational metrics;
  2. tactical  -  for your leverages to reach year-end or long-term concerns;
  3. and strategic  - for your year-end (or long-term) concerns

Each applies three applications and layers described above in slightly different ways.


Our experience as consultants demonstrated that companies -and business leaders- that are willing to mix, or avoid, some of the above mentioned principles are driving to a disaster. There are some choices to be made. Implementing a dashboard on its own is a journey. And the pace deserve respect.

In a coming article, we'll cover the next common mistake: "Overrating the importance of Dashboard and Scorecards."

Thank you for reading!


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It requires no setup, nor installation fees. It is all-inclusive, and for the price of two hours a month struggling with Excel spreadsheets.


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