An important element of any mobile product is being able to track, measure, and report on its progress, and a product management dashboard is a great way to do so.
Product dashboards exist to help you make sense of all of your data, but some mobile PMs are still averse to using them. At Apptentive, we’re huge fans of dashboards to help give us a high-level view of our products’ progress, and want to help break down the barrier or stigma around dashboards for mobile products.
We recommend creating a dashboard for your mobile product for four main reasons:
- Dashboards are an easy-to-understand snapshot to help you manage almost any mobile product.
- They make it easier to communicate product status and issues with management. Plus, most executives seem to like dashboards :)
- Dashboards improve your own team’s understanding of your product by having one streamlined place to check in.
- Last but not least, they help you prove your product’s worth through assisting with ROI calculation and modeling.
Now that we’ve covered the importance of mobile product dashboards, let’s move on to some tips to help you set up the most effective dashboard possible.
1. Use the “traffic light model” to indicate the state of your metrics.
The traffic light model is one of the easiest indicators of product progress as most people understand its universal color assignment. In the traffic light model:
- Green is on target
- Yellow is at risk (being monitored)
- Red is behind schedule, needs immediate attention
No matter how you lay out your product/feature progress, green, yellow, and red are strong indicators of how each piece is going at a glance. For example, you could choose to show your dashboard metrics in the following way:
2. Update at a consistent frequency.
The frequency in which you update your dashboard depends on your development schedule. We recommend updating your dashboard in alignment with how your engineering team structures its sprints. If they’re weekly, update weekly; if bi-weekly, update bi-weekly; etc.
Whatever frequency you decide, make sure you update your dashboard on a consistent basis that is communicated to all stakeholders. Better yet, you can go one step further and timestamp your updates so anyone can peek in at the dashboard and see the last time the data was updated.
3. Explain the metrics behind your data.
Every metric included in your dashboard should be based on additional data or information that is easy to understand. Make sure there are short descriptions around the data being pulled right on the dashboard itself, especially if multiple people will be accessing the dashboard at all times. That way, you save your colleagues time in deciphering the data you pulled together to get each metric, and save yourself time in not having to answer one-off questions about the same metric time after time. The more self-explanatory you can make your dashboard, the better off you’ll be!
4. Make your dashboard data readily-available.
The biggest point to remember about your dashboard is as follows: You should be able to pull the metrics from your dashboard at any time based on your management team’s needs.
At the end of the day, your dashboard serves as a quick snapshot for how your product is doing, which is your management team’s primary interest. The easier and quicker you can make pulling metrics to help them answer questions, the more impactful your dashboard will be.
5. Break dashboard metrics into categories.
Too much data shown in a running list can be overwhelming. Be sure to categorize your metrics in your dashboard to make it easy to read. For example, here’s a snapshot of what your categorized dashboard could look like:
Your dashboard should be set up in a way that presents your metrics best, but whatever layout you decide, it’s likely that your data will benefit from some type of categorization.
Dashboards are a great way to track the progress of your mobile product, no matter your industry. However, setting them up effectively can be a challenge, especially considering goals look different for all teams.
We hope you leverage the five tips above to help set up a dashboard for your mobile product that is efficient, impactful, and easy to understand. The more time you can save yourself by looking at a dashboard to understand how your product is performing, the better off you’ll be!
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