Before I started at Dashboard Insight, I was the director of a professional services team. In this month’s featured dashboard, I wanted to share with you some of the performance measures that would help a consultant see how they’re doing and where to improve.
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The Performance Measures
Consultants are responsible for the delivery of projects. However, they are selling as well. In a typical sales engagement that involves some kind of service, the consultant is brought in when the lead has been qualified by an account representative. It is up to the consultant to assess the opportunity, derive an appropriate solution, and to instill confidence in the client. As a manager, it’s important to come up with a consistent way to evaluate your employees. One way to do this is to break down key responsibilities into objective measures, and use these measures to evaluate and reward employees. Let’s take a look at some of these measures.
It’s important for a consultant to be able to provide accurate estimates. The target should be based on corporate standards and the consultant’s experience.
This is another common performance measure and it is typically tied to a consultant’s compensation package. During my time as director, I tried to allow for one free day a week. The intent was to allow the consultant time for professional development, or to participate in thought leadership exercises such as authoring a white paper or speaking engagements.
Although not shown in this dashboard, projected (future) utilization would be very useful for resource planning.
This is a less common performance measure but critical for knowledge workers to stay on top of their field. In addition to showing previous months, a list of upcoming activities such as conference attendance should be shown in the dashboard, as well.
For the consultant to have a good pipeline of projects, they need to be engaged with a client as soon as there is an opportunity. If they are not meeting company goals, the consultant and their manager need to assess why. Challenges may include: not working well with account reps, over-utilization, or sick leave.
Any deals that do not go through need to be assessed by consultant and the account rep they were working with. If the consultant is failing in this area, the sales skills of both the account rep and the consultant need to be assessed by performing a win / loss analysis.
Just as important as closing deals is abandoning deals. If there are no abandonments, the odds are good that the consultant and account rep are chasing too many accounts to handle.
Data Visualization and Dashboard Design Choices
I tried to use no more than 3 different colors with this dashboard. This allows the user (a consultant) to quickly see where the problem areas are at a glance. In this example, red was used to highlight issues. In particular, last week’s utilization percentage was unacceptably which reduces available time for professional development and thought leadership activities.
I used small text for most of the dashboard. One may argue that titles should use larger font, but that distracts from the data which is more important than the title. Once their eye has been drawn to the area of interest, they can always look at the title afterwards to see what the visualization refers to.
This is the first time I’ve used a distribution graph in a featured dashboard. What I like about distribution graphs (it’s the bar graphs in the middle) is it gives great context on how a consultant is doing with respect to their colleagues.
Overall, I chose a simple design that allows for anyone to quickly understand how they’re doing.
Using InetSoft’s Style Scope
I built this dashboard using InetSoft’s Style Scope. For those who want to learn more about the product I used to develop this dashboard, you can read my dashboard product review here. It only took me a few days to develop the dashboard. The majority of the time was preparing the data behind the dashboard.