A dashboard offers an elevated view of the implementation plan’s key metrics. These are elements that decision-makers can use to track performance and identify potential issues that may arise during implementation.
Although dashboards and reports complement each other and communicate important information to the audience, dashboards differ from reports in how the information is communicated. Effective dashboards give an indication on progress while flagging what is on track and what requires immediate attention. They allow users to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics so that data-driven decisions or adjustments can be made as part of the ESP monitoring and review process.
It is important that the monitoring dashboard includes KPIs that can help identify inefficiencies and alert decision-makers/programme managers to make changes to ensure the plan’s objectives and goals are being met. An effective dashboard should be able to identify areas that require immediate action or further attention.
A monitoring dashboard for the ECE subsector could contain the following elements:
- Monitoring of the results of the plan (output/results/impact)
- Process monitoring: monitoring the implementation of activities per the annual action plan and timeline of activities
- Monitoring of physical implementation
- Monitoring of financial implementation
- Monitoring of available resources
A monitoring dashboard shared with relevant stakeholders can help them make data-driven decisions. It can also help the government/implementation committee keep its stakeholders updated and connected.
An effective dashboard will eliminate or reduce manual reporting tasks.
Monitoring dashboards are effective because they ultimately save time and effort. While there is some initial work in setting up the dashboard, after this initial investment, it should be fairly easy to input new data to track results. However, metrics need to be correctly designed. To increase the dashboard’s impact, key stakeholders should be able to understand the dashboard report at a glance, even without technical skills
Note that creating a programme monitoring dashboard is an iterative process. In addition to periodically inputting data to refresh the dashboard, the graphic visualization of the KPIs may need to be tweaked to better represent the data or the KPIs you select may not be the best ones to track monitoring of results, in which cases changes to the dashboard will need to be made.
Process monitoring/activity monitoring
Process monitoring is implemented during the initial stages of a project, as its sole purpose is to track the use of inputs and resources and to examine how activities and outputs are delivered. The financial monitoring part helps to measure the financial effectiveness during the implementation and helps to track actual expenditure against the allocated budget. This helps programme managers develop strategies to maximize results with minimum resources.