Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Down With Gauges!
It's possible to carry an analogy too far.
Dashboards for managers are logically
similar to dashboards for cars. Both
types of dashboards provide key
information about current performance.
But if you follow the car-dashboard
analogy too far, you'll deprive
managers of key information they
That's the problem with gauges for management reporting.
Gauges Hide Trends
Gauges have several problems that should concern most
managers. The key problem is that gauges hide trends.
In a car, trends don't matter. If you're ten miles over the speed limit,
or if your engine temperature is too high, that's all you need to
know. But in business, trends do matter.
To illustrate, the following three Excel charts show about the same
results for December as the gauge. But each chart shows
twelvetimes the information in about half the space.
Interpretation: After a long struggle,
the turnaround might be working. Are
we on the right track? Let’s keep
doing what we've been doing
recently, and see what happens next