Extraordinary Team Blog

Chart Team’s Progress Visually

Posted by Kristin Arnold on June 12, 2009

Every team needs a visual scoreboard that tracks how well they are doing.  Using the team’s mission statement, the team should have a few metrics that indicate team success and progress.   Just like the gauges on your car tell you critical information, your team’s dashboard lets the team know how they are doing.

Trend Chart.  The most common gauge teams use is the trend chart where the horizontal axis is a unit of time (hour, day, week, month, quarter, or year).  The vertical axis is some unit of productivity or costs.  Make sure the team includes a vertical line indicating the team’s “goal.”  As the team tracks progress over time, connect the dots to see the trend going up or down.  See how far (or close) you are to the goal!

If you know the industry standard or “benchmark,” (usually obtained by your industry trade association), you can include a vertical line indicating how well you are doing with respect to your competitors.

Thermometer.  Another common gauge is the thermometer.  Popular with fundraising drives, the thermometer shows a quantity in comparison to the total goal.

Idiot Lights.  When displaying a category of information (i.e., good, average, bad) a simple status light might be helpful.  (In my family, we call this “idiot lights” because you should check the engine when the “check engine light” comes on!).  Green, yellow and red are universal colors that symbolize go, proceed with caution, and stop!

Digital or Analog?  The key to updating the dashboard is to make the process easy so it gets updated regularly.  Some organizations have system applications that compile and post the data to an intranet site.  More often then not, someone has to physically collect the data and post it for all to see.  Make sure there is clear accountability for who will post the numbers and how often.  Keep in mind, people do take vacations, so have a trustworthy backup to post the numbers for all to see the progress the team has made.

Question:  Do you have a clear measurement of your team’s progress vs goals?

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