Want to fail your dashboard? Ask everyone

design process stakeholders management

"If you want to make the wrong decision, ask everyone." Naval Ravikant

Who should I talk to?

When a dashboard or a report is being developed, there are always a lot of people directly or indirectly affected by the project.

It's difficult to know who to talk to, who to include, what requirements to consider...

The different populations of a project could include:

  • Business leaders
  • Stakeholders
  • Requesters
  • Customers
  • Managers
  • End-users...🤯

If you try to include everyone's ideas in your dashboard, it's natural why it takes 80 days to develop. You have to identify them early in the process in order to talk to the right people for the right reasons.

How can you reach the top of the stairs if you fall at the first step?


 Identifying stakeholders is essential to building a strong team.

 You will need these people to:

  • interview them
  • observe them
  • receive feedback
  • test your prototypes
  • brainstorm with them
  • validate design decisions

If you haven't got the right people around the table, most of what follows will be a guessing game.

You need a majority of the people around this compass. But not for the same reasons. And not at the same moment.


End users: The users who will use your data visualization product. Keep them close to developments and well-informed.

Top management: They can be present at the start of the project and when it is necessary to validate certain expenses or choices.

Requesters: These are the people who request the new dashboard. They can be Top Management, end users or even a leader. Note that if the requester is an end user, you will need to interview the same person twice for 2 different roles.

Dashboard Designer: This is the person who will take and qualify the requirement. Propose ideas, sketches and carry out development.

Data Enginners: These are the people with the ability to find, clean and consolidate data to create a clean and solid data flow.

Business Leaders: These are often the people who stand between you and the end users. Leaders should bear in mind that the creation of a dashboard is not intended to replace their entire purpose. On the contrary, if they play the game, they will learn a great deal and will be able to guide the designers.

Customers: The end customers who will benefit indirectly from this data management, through data visualization.

Sponsors: This is the person who has the budget and the ability to validate the start and the result. Sometimes this is a Top Manager or Requester.

One person may have 3, 4 or more profiles.

The Power Interest Grid

One template I like to use is the Power Interest Grid. This template reminds me to accommodate varying needs for information and detail as the project evolves. Some may require more specifics, while others prefer observation.

As a result, I adjust my communication style and message frequency based on this.

Or you can even choose the most complete one that regroup Power, Interest and the level of implication in the project: 

These foundations will enable you to get off to a good start, with the right people in the right roles.

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