I was thinking about this thread and thought I’d add to this a bit. I believe there are four main variables when it comes to dashboard creation time.
1 - How Clean is Your Data? Data is the single biggest ‘threat’ to completing a dashboard/reporting project. I once was tasked with creating a project for a University where they needed six fairly in-depth dashboards. These dashboards needed to the fully styled, drill-downs, states, help systems, composite visualizations - the works. When asked to estimate the estimated completion time, I said I’d need maybe 1-2 months as I had no idea the current state of the data. This project was one of those rare occasions where the data came back absolutely immaculate—everything with clean, no integrity issues, data was performant and pre-calculated for me. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. The result was that I ended up completing the entire reporting project in like two days. Sadly, more often than not, projects go the opposite direction of this due to data, but on this day, I truly spotted a unicorn! They DO exist.
For other projects, this video is very relevant:
2 - You Don’t Have the Right Tools. BI tools are not all “created equally” when it comes to functionality and flexibility. With any given project, specific tasks are out of the box, and others must be customized. Depending on your needs, you could be spending a lot of time on the “customized” side of things, adding many cycles. Also, sometimes, you’ll run into a wall if you choose a tool with only basic functionality, and the search for workarounds can become crazy.
3 - Lack of Training on the Application. Nothing hurts more than spinning your wheels because you don’t know how to approach a particular problem. I’ve seen cases where users create these massive and complicated scripts to memic a feature that otherwise could have been implemented with a few clicks. I’ve also seen users with heavy database requirements implemented by users who are brand new to SQL. Fun. Or they want an embedded solution, and they are learning to code for the first time. The code is simple to do something like embedding, but if you’ve never coded before, you’re climbing Mount Everest. You can imagine how these factors can impact the project timeline.
4 - How Complicated is the Project? Kind of an obvious one but is your entire dashboard just a giant table with a few filters? Great, that’s not hard - maybe not the best dashboard but not hard either.
aside - https://www.dundas.com/resources/blogs/best-practices/new-to-dashboards-stop-doing-this
Or is your dashboard going to be loaded with visualizations and customizations? More stuff = More time. (equation of the year, right here )
I’m sure others have run into more examples of timeline bloat. I’d love to hear some stories, could be fun!