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Confluence Tutorial : Your First Project Management Dashboard

In this Atlassian Confluence tutorial, you’ll learn how to build a project status dashboard in 3 easy steps

Atlassian’s Confluence product is an amazingly powerful and flexible collaboration tool that enables distributed teams to build better software products. Confluence is a single collaboration tool where teams can organize, create documents and discuss project work in one single place. Using Confluence, project teams can develop product documentation, track meeting minutes, draw process flow diagrams, mind maps and even create technical architecture documents. In this article, I’ll show you how to build a project portfolio dashboard to manage your projects or programs in a portfolio.

Below is a sample snapshot of a small program with 3 projects. With one glance, I can assess each project’s heath in terms of status, schedule, budget, issues and risks using Confluence’s graphical indicators.

confluence-dashboard-1-opt-745.jpg

If I click on the project title, I can also drill down to the specific status report for further analysis. The benefit of this solution is program managers can roll up individual status reports into summary level report. If the underlying status report changes, the dashboard is automatically updated.  To create a project portfolio dashboard, follow these steps:

Step 1: Create individual status reports

Step 1.1 Create a table in Confluence and format using the heading column icon

confluence-dashboard-2.jpg

The table can mimic the fields on your company’s current status report template.  Confluence is flexible so feel free to modify the format as necessary.  Status can be entered just by typing text or content in the cells.  If you want to tag someone simply use the @ sign short cut and tag them.  If you want to specify a date, use the // shortcut key.

Below is the sample status report.

confluence-dashboard-3.jpg

Step 1.2 To add the Status indicators, click on the Insert Macro icon in the toolbar and insert the Status macro.

Format the macro with the desired text and colors.

confluence-dashboard-status-macro-3.jpg

Step 1.3 Insert a Page Properties container

Below the status report, you’ll insert a Page Properties macro. It is ok if it appear below the status report since you’ll be cutting and pasting the table into the container in the next step.

confluence-dashboard-page-properties-4.jpg

Step 1.4 Cut and paste the table into the Page Properties container

confluence-dashboard-5.jpg

Step 1.5 Add a label called “status” to the page

Adding a label is easy. Assuming you’re in edit mode, just click on the tag icon after the page title.

confluence-dashboard-6.jpgIf you’re not in edit mode, you can always press “L” and the same label dialogue will appear.

confluence-dashboard-7.jpg

Step 1.6 Enter the word “status” for the label, press add, close the dialog box and save the page.

Congratulations you’ve created your first status report template. If you think you’ll be rolling out this template throughout the organization, you’ll want create a global page template in Confluence so others can benefit from your hard work.

Step 1.7 Repeat creating status reports for every workstream or project in the program or portfolio

It quickly becomes a copy and paste exercise!

Step 2 Create the Portfolio Page

With the individual project status report pages created, you want to create a portfolio page that will display the summary view of individual status reports. I prefer to keep all status reports in a single page hierarchy, but you could distribute this template across Confluence pages and Confluence spaces and still develop a portfolio view across multiple pages.

Step 2.1 Insert a Page Properties Report Macro

The Page Properties macro displays a table of pages that contain the Page Properties macro and a specific label. The table will link to each individual page and display specific columns from the status report.

confluence-dashboard-8.jpg

Step 2.2. Enter the label “status”

confluence-dashboard-10.jpg

Now the report needs to be tailored to only include specific columns on the portfolio status page.

Step 2.3 Click Options – Show and enter the following columns Launch Date, Phase, Overall Status, Schedule, Budget, Issues, Risks

If you have a lot of reports, you can limit the number of items to display by providing a numeric value. I also like to sort by Launch Date. Click the Preview icon to refresh the report summary.

confluence-dashboard-11.jpg

Step 2.4 Click Save to Close the dialogue and Save the page

Step 3 Review the completed Dashboard

With a few clicks, you’ve generated a complete portfolio dashboard with the key traffic light indicators. Remember any row in the status report can be pulled into the summary view by simply typing the field name in the Page Properties report.

confluence-dashboard-1-opt-745.jpg

It may not seem like much but getting real-time visibility into a portfolio instead of consolidating PowerPoint driven status reports or having to resend a new status report with a last minute change is a time saver. Imagine the time saved if you were running a PMO and had to review 60 projects each week?

In my next Confluence tutorial, I’ll show you how to track a list of action items for painless meeting minutes!

 

30 comments

Very useful proposal! thanks for sharing

Deleted user Jun 28, 2018

Love the tailoring aspect to stakeholder communication requirements. Thanks @Andrew Makar, if you have any more PM articles please me a link, I would be very much interested. 

Andrew Makar Community Leader Jun 28, 2018

Thanks @[deleted]  I write about effective PM techniques at https://www.tacticalprojectmanagement.com/  

I'll be sure to post a few more tutorials on the Atlassian Community pages as well!

If you are looking for an approach to track action items across all your Confluence pages, here is my tutorial:

Track a List of Action Items in Confluence

https://www.tacticalprojectmanagement.com/atlassian-confluence-tutorial-track-action-items/

Thanks!

Andy

Daniel Eads Atlassian Team Jul 09, 2018

Awesome article @Andrew Makar!

@Andrew Makar great stuff! Have you ever worked with Reporting for Confluence and Scaffolding Forms and Templates

They can massively extend these reports and dashboards that you have created.

Thanks for sharing this great article!

Kesha Thill Atlassian Team Aug 16, 2018

Awesome tutorial @Andrew Makar! Page properties and page properties report macro are my favorite! Super useful for reporting on high level information :) 

Excellent tutorial @Andrew Makar, thanks!

 

How do you go about status updates? Do you update the relevant status page each time? If so, would you track progress and past issues by viewing previous version?

Loving this. Super clear explanation, thank you @Andrew Makar!

@Andrew Makar This is a great tutorial and easy to implement. We maintain weekly versions of the status reports for historic purposes. The only way I have found to only display the latest version is by removing the label on older status report pages. Is there an easier way to achieve this?

Thanks

Juergen

Like Nana Wauters likes this

Thanks @Andrew Makar . I'm wondering is there a way to transpose your Dashboard page? I'm trying to design the dashboard, whereby the individual pages would be across the top and then have the headers on the left-hand side.

Thank you @Andrew Makar . It's super clear and very useful tutorial.

Andrew Makar Community Leader Apr 19, 2019

Thanks!  I have a few more in draft!

This technique is really helpful when managing multiple workstreams in a project...and when you don't want to collect status reports.

Thanks @Andrew Makar ! Saved a ton of time and manual work with this dashboard

@Andrew Makar  Hi :) what do the colors stand for ? 

@Rodica Tabet You can choose the colors as you wish, and add text. We use it to indicate prios (low-medium-high) and statuses (not in scope, on hold, done,..) . 'Low' has a grey color, 'In scope' features are orange, 'Done' is green,.. 

We use the 'status' macro all the time, it's super easy :-)

Thank you @nana  i appreciate  your fast reply :)

Andrew Makar Community Leader May 28, 2019

Hi @Rodica Tabet  The colors are the "traffic light colors" for project status.

Red = off track

Yellow = at risk

Green = on track

Blue = Completed

Grey = Not Started

Andrew Makar Community Leader Jun 10, 2019

@Kenneth Cather  Good to hear!  Let me know if you have any questions.  I'll try to answer them as best as possible!

Like Kenneth Cather likes this

@Andrew Makar Thanks! I'm a novice Confluence user, so I may have lots of dumb questions as I go. :)

Tip I just learned the hard way....

 

Uncheck "Heading Row" from the table you put in Pages Property container. 

Thanks for the helpful tips!!

 

I solved the issue of wanting to keep older status reports and just reporting on the newest ones by doing the following.

 

I created a portfolio page.  Then each project is a child page off of the portfolio page.  When I want to update the project.  I copy the page to itself and rename it with a date.  That way every project page is a parent page with all of updates as children. 

 

Then on the portfolio page in the "Page Properties Report" macro, I set up a filter for "With Parent" = "Your Portfolio Page".

 

That way it will only show the pages that are direct children of it, which should be your latest updates.

Like # people like this

Great solution...love it!

I have many projects feeding to the Portfolio summary page.  When I scroll down the headings "Overall Status", "Launch Date", etc disappear.  Is there a way to have the column heading stay visible when scrolling down, otherwise, the viewer can't see what the red, yellow, green stop lights are the status for?

Like jussi@taskmill.fi likes this
Andrew Makar Community Leader Aug 02, 2019

@ken Thanks!  unfortunately, I have not found a solution that provides scrolling headers.  I have this same challenge when we're doing portfolio reviews of all the projects running in the portfolio.

hmmmm...

my columns:

Launch Date, Phase, Overall Status, Schedule, Budget, Issues, Risks

are not showing up on my portfolio page...

what have I missed...

 

V

Like Jim Oakley likes this

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