Graphs and charts can display large amounts of data in a concise and clear way and should be a project manager’s best friend. Project tracking software that aggregates data and generates graphs on a dashboard can be the fastest way to view and share project health.
A project management dashboard is a data-driven, typically graphical representation, of a project’s key performance metrics. The dashboard provides stakeholders with a quick overview of a project’s progress: capturing data about team performance and milestone achievements, then collating that information in an easy-to-scan display.
Luckily for buyers, many prominent project management (PM) systems include project management dashboards. However, the functionality and pricing of these systems varies greatly.
To help you better understand the similarities and differences between dashboards, we’ll take a closer look at the top five vendors that offer dashboards for project tracking, as identified in our FrontRunners for Project Management, powered by Gartner Methodology:
We’ll explore the dashboard highlights, pricing, deployment model and pros and cons for the following products, listed in order of their FrontRunners score, starting with the highest:
Price: $20 per user, per month for the Team edition-the base edition doesn’t offer dashboards
Reviews: Read user reviews of WorkOtter here
Project dashboard overview: Customize project overviews and aggregate multiple projects in a program dashboard with this fully loaded PM tool.
Highlights of WorkOtter’s dashboard capabilities:
- Customize the layout of each dashboard—place the most important data points at the top of the page and the more detailed info at the bottom (because executive stakeholders probably won’t scroll down, but your team members likely will).
- Set up recurring dashboard reports to be emailed automatically to stakeholders. This can reduce or eliminate the need for time-consuming, weekly meetings with high-level stakeholders, which is especially appreciated when running multiple projects.
- Personalize dashboards per user role. While being consistent is important, different stakeholders prioritize different information. WorkOtter can send everyone the same, real-time data, but via custom dashboards, so you can improve engagement without risking integrity.
- WorkOtter has straightforward pricing that’s on the lower end of the range, which is a huge pro for businesses of all sizes.
- WorkOtter offers a full suite of advanced project and program planning tools, such as running what-if scenarios, in addition to the comprehensive dashboards.
- Because WorkOtter is loaded with features, the learning curve for new employees can be significant.
Price: $7 per user, per month
Reviews: Read user reviews of BRIC here
Project dashboard overview: BRIC is, at its core, a time and productivity tracking tool and this strength is reflected in their dashboards. From the Bench, BRIC’s user dashboard, you can quickly see where resources are using their time and see project timelines.
Highlights of BRIC’s dashboard capabilities:
- Resource availability and time committed to tasks/projects is clearly displayed week by week so you can make adjustments before the team feels a time crunch.
- When used as your time-tracking system, it’s easy to manage resource allocation in relation to work schedules, billable/non-billable hours and vacation time to make project planning as accurate as possible.
- Your Bench shows who on your team is overloaded and who can take on more work. You can also see the financial impact the hours worked versus planned on a project.
- The ability to score projects based on hours planned and actual hours worked sets this tool apart for businesses struggling with productivity.
- BRIC’s greatest strength is as a time and productivity tracking tool.
- The user interface isn’t quite as modern as some of the other solutions covered here. We suggest recording a demo with the vendor and doing a gut check if the look is right for you and your team.
Price: $5 per user, per month
Reviews: Read user reviews of ClickUp here
Project dashboard overview: ClickUp offers two dashboards: one that shows your team and one that shows just your tasks. You can switch between the two as needed to view up-to-date task info.
Highlights of ClickUp’s dashboard capabilities:
- ClickUp provides templates for Agile projects, marketing campaigns, personal tasks, etc., making it easy to start tracking tasks and time. The dashboards are automatically updated once you’ve launched a project or added tasks.
- Statuses can be customized, so while customization options for the dashboard are limited, you’re seeing the data just as you have prioritized it.
- In complement to the dashboard, the Agile Kanban board is an excellent feature for tracking and updating tasks across the team.
- The amount of customization options available for individual tasks and items allows you to build the product around your needs and leave out fluff you don’t need.
- In the PM software market, ClickUP is an affordable tool that’s robust enough to track tasks for all team members, no matter what role they’re in.
- If your senior leadership requires custom dashboards, this solution might not work as there are only two dashboard options.
Price: The basic edition is free and includes customizable dashboards. You’ll need the Pro version, priced at $8.25 per user, per month, for multiple checklists and multiple team members and more.
Reviews: Read user reviews of MeisterTask here
Project dashboard overview: The MeisterTask dashboard gives you an overview of your projects, notifications, time tracking, and your personal checklist.
Highlights of MeisterTask’s dashboard capabilities:
- The far left column gives you an overview of all projects that you’ve either created or are a member of. These can be divided into sections to group projects by department as in the screenshot above or by different companies for freelancers or consultants who work with more than one company.
- There are an additional three columns for notifications, my tasks, and time tracking, which can either be displayed or minimized depending on your personal preferences.
- There is also a search function for easy reference and navigation within MeisterTask.
- Collaboration is a major strength as projects and tasks created can be shared among all project members.
- All to dos are in one place so any team has a bird’s-eye-view of all tasks, each project member’s progress, and all files and attachments related to those tasks.
- MeisterTask integrates with online mind mapping tool, MindMeister, so businesses that use MindMeister for brainstorming and visualization can turn action points into tasks.
- Currently, MeisterTask doesn’t offer a Gantt chart view.
Price: $10 per user, per month
Reviews: Read user reviews of PM3 here
Project dashboard overview: PM3 is an outcome-driven project and program management tool for running projects top down. Dashboards are available for a single project, a program of projects or a full portfolio.
Highlights of PM3’s dashboard capabilities:
- Users are able to fully configure individual dashboards. This means project managers can view the information pertinent for their own projects and executives can have a separate view of higher-level data.
- With PM3’s outcome-driven approach, the dashboards give a quick view of how much value a project is delivering by keeping the financial data as a main focus.
- From the dashboard, you can make quick updates, such as changing milestone deadlines, without clicking in to the project details.
- PM3 is a robust, yet affordable, project management tool with strengths in program and portfolio management.
- A business running multiple projects would benefit from having not only a single project but also dashboards showing a grouping of projects into a program or portfolio.
- With the outcome-driven approach to project management, the value and return on investment for projects is easily calculated and shared with stakeholders.
- If your business is running smaller projects and also looking to track miscellaneous tasks, one of the other tools covered in this article that focus on task management, as opposed to program and portfolio management, could be a better fit.
As we’ve shown, not all dashboards are the same. If you’d like more information about these and other PM platforms, here are some next steps:
- Read reviews: To see how real users have rated each of these product’s quality and ease of use, as well as other PM products not featured in this article, visit our project management market page.
- Call our PM experts at (855) 998-8505: Our experienced PM Software Advisors can provide additional information about the platforms listed above. If these five vendors don’t fit your needs, they can provide you with a short list of products that do.
- Demo products: Researching a platform’s functionality is just the first step. Next, you’ll need to vet products to ensure they support your needs and drive your business goals. Contact vendors to schedule demos of their products—our advisors can help you with this!
1 The Software Advice FrontRunners quadrant, powered by Gartner Methodology, calculates a score based on published user reviews for products on two primary dimensions: usability on the x-axis and user recommended on the y-axis.
The usability score is a weighted average of two user ratings:
- End-user ratings of one to five stars on the product’s functionality.
- End-user ratings of one to five stars on the product’s ease of use.
The user recommended score is a weighted average of two user ratings:
- End-user ratings of one to five stars on how valuable users consider the product to be relative to its price.
- End-user ratings of one to five stars on how likely they are to recommend the product to others.
The user ratings used to score the products pull from reviews posted on each of Gartner’s Digital Market properties: SoftwareAdvice.com, Capterra.com and GetApp.com. For more information on FrontRunner methodology, please visit our FrontRunners page.
Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.