Building and maintaining dashboards is quickly becoming a large part of today’s business analyst work. Since this field is quickly evolving, there are no tried and true “best practices” or established guidelines. I am giving you what I use as my own guidelines for creating dashboards. I learned to conform to these best practices through trial and error over my 25 year career in corporate analytics. I hope this list give you a jumping off point for your dashboards.

Executive Dashboards “Best Practices”

  1. The layout of the dashboard should be optimized for left to right reading and viewing. People are use to reading and viewing items starting on the left side and moving right,  your dashboard should conform to this. 
  2. A dashboard should be primarily visual. If you are providing drill downs, detailed data should be provided at a deeper level.
  3. Final key performance indicators should be approved by the client/user of the dashboard. What is important to them may not be as important to you. It is a good idea to get copys of current reports that receive wide circulation and incorporate the same metrics.
  4. Four to eight KPIs per tab seems to be most effective. Less than 25 on the whole dashboard is also preferred.
  5. Ideally, KPIs should be “drillable” to access additional detail.
  6. Dashboards should be somewhat independent and accessible outside of the dashboarding software used to create them. The dashboard will not be used to its fullest potential if the end user must first log into another piece of software before they can view it.
  7. Validate final dashboard design with a usability expert


Joseph Harris
Excel Help
Analyst help

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