How long does it take to create a dashbaord?

Hi,
I just started working as a technical analyst and was curious how long it takes on average to create a dashboard. This should include preparing the data to be visualized, creating the template, creating the metric sets/color schemes etc. It takes me around 40 hours to finish a dashboard - is this too long? It usually includes ~10 filters, PoP, and dropdown menus with export options.

Thanks for the input!

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Hi Pierre,

I don’t think your timescale is unreasonable, especially if you are newer to Dundas BI. As a Dundas employee, it wouldn’t be fair for you to try to hold yourself to the speed we would create a dashboard as we built the software. Hopefully, someone in the community can share their experience.

I thought you might enjoy this video that I did a few years ago, where I build a dashboard from the ground up. It should provide a reasonable timeline for you, assuming the data is reasonably clean.

https://www.dundas.com/learning/webinars/22-04-2016-how-to-build-a-dashboard

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That is a pretty good number, especially for all the bells & whistles you mentioned.

Once you have been using Dundas BI for a while that time should come down substantially.

I think the fastest I have ever put together a dashboard in BI is probably 15 minutes (not counting SQL development time) but I have loads of dimensions and hierarchies in existence waiting to be reused that helps speed the process. But I find 8 - 16 hours is typical (including SQL development).

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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:
https://www.dundas.com/resources/blogs/best-practices/why-are-databases-trash-cans

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 :smiley: )

I’m sure others have run into more examples of timeline bloat. I’d love to hear some stories, could be fun!

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Hi Pierre,

Jeff and Tom both bring up really good points. I am also an employee here at Dundas and I manage our Professional Services department, so most of my day is spent assisting clients with their Dashboard development.

As Jeff pointed out, a Dashboard can mean many things for different people, so it is hard to definitively say a specific amount of time needed to complete one, through the timeframe you mentioned should definitely cover the majority of cases.

Typically what I find can significantly help reduce the time spent on development is proper planning. Specifically, requirements gathering and KPI definitions. I have a blog in the works that will break this down in more detail, but essentially if you go through and properly define your KPIs before hand, you will know exactly what kind of SQL development is required, and your Dashboard implementation will basically just involved dragging and dropping the relevant items from your data source(s).

I can post a link to the blog when it is ready, but if you are interested in knowing more about the different templates we use when developing Dashboards, please let us know.

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Thanks for all the input I really appreciate it. I think a lot of what is being asked is not so straightforward so that may also eat into the time… The Dundas support is phenomenal though and will often answer all my questions within a day!

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Absolutely agree with everyone else here. Our clients always ask us how long it takes to create a dashboard and there is no simple answer.
We’ve put together a dashboard in a day, and also have had dashboards that have taken years to develop and the project was abandoned before delivery.

Once you’ve got some experience and previous dashboards to build on, and you get to know common scenarios then it goes a lot quicker.

I believe that there is a list or video of shortcuts to make your build go quicker - e.g. creating a chart once and then copy/pasting it and changing only the necessary.

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I’d say it depends on a project and requirements. I have gone from being able to create simple dashboards within a week to 2 weeks to 2+ months (as we rework the dashboard and add a lot more functionality to it).

Thank you.

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Me too agree with most here!

I have put together a functional dashboard in a couple of hours, but I have also done dashboards which has taken a month to fully complete, and I don’t think that is unreasonable if the requirements are that complex.

@semir.taletovic I hear the ‘re-work’ word a lot! I wonder how many reporting projects actually end up being very similar to their version 1 design? I would guess very few.

The question is… bad initial design or natural evaluation as people realize that they can do more?

You mean the ones that have the initial design in the file called ‘dashboard design FINAL version 6’? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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As long as the project doesn’t look like this:

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Guilty as charged! :slight_smile:

@Jeff That is a great question - and I have seen both where I am at…I feel scope and design is 70-80% of the dashboard project. Moreover, I think it also depends on the project stakeholders - for instance, I work with a lot of non-technical people so I fee dashboard projects take longer (i.e. scope creep, rework/redesign, etc.)…