Knowledge Base

Jama Connect Dashboards: Is the Whole Greater than the Sum of its Parts?

By Erin posted 06-16-2021 08:10


Jama Connect Dashboards: Is the Whole Greater than the Sum of its Parts?

Best Practices and Considerations for Building Powerful, Meaningful, and Living Digital Displays

In many workplace operational settings, large screens hold multiple digital displays simultaneously.  Think, for example, of a nurse’s station in an Intensive Care Unit. At any given time, staff can glance at a digital display that shows patient blood pressure, heart rate, O2 levels, and more.  When creating displays for operational settings, development teams
, and human factors specialists need to consider the amount and types of information to display – they should show enough information to communicate the global status of the system but take thoughtful care not to overwhelm users with information that may be used less often. 

We can equate this same thinking to the digital displays, or dashboard widgets, that customers use to build their Jama Connect project dashboards. Using dashboard widgets, Project Administrators can curate each project dashboard to display just the right amount of data to their teams. By clearly conveying the status of the system in its totality while also taking care to ensure the overall system view does not overshadow lower level-views where action is needed, we can achieve just the right balance of digitally displayed information.

How do we do this? And what about personalized dashboards?

Before joining Jama, I used other tools that allowed me to create my own personalized dashboard. That was great – for ME! Looking back, I realize that I was hyper-focused on just the information that was important to me and that I much less often consumed and considered information that illustrated the state of the entire system. Now, as a part of a larger, dynamic, and cross-functional team, being aware of the “big picture” is essential to my work, as it undoubtedly is to yours.  We are all building more and more complex projects and our work simply cannot be performed in silos – understanding what is going on in each of our different teams is critical for us to understand that bigger picture.

Creating a project dashboard that works for everyone clearly takes some thought and consideration for the key stakeholders and users because excessive display information can be distracting or disorienting. Project Administrators need to determine what information should be displayed, and how, so that digital clutter doesn’t overwhelm our users. Organizing the dashboard in such a way that follows functional, sequential, or categorical organization is the key to a great dashboard design.

Let’s use an example.

As the Project Manager of a cross-functional medical device team, Polly is hoping to create a dashboard that meets the needs of her marketing, system engineering, and testing teams. Thinking of ways to display critical project information to these users, Polly determines that a dashboard organized by the (mostly) sequential order of the design control process (User Needs (marketing team) > Design Inputs (system engineers) > Design Outputs + Verification and Validation (testing teams) is the way to go. Polly leverages dashboard widgets to display the results of filters that find the workflow status of each of the artifacts as well as any missing traceability between those items.