Chapter 24

Identifying Targets and Displaying Alerts

However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.

—Sir Winston Churchill

Statesman

1874–1965

Well-built Balanced Scorecards and operational dashboards make it easier to make good decisions. One way they do this is by putting the actual and target values in direct comparison, but this still forces the user to do the comparison. A good dashboard designer makes decisions even easier by highlighting or pinpointing the area that needs attention and focus. For example, in a column chart, if data fails to reach 80 percent of the target value, the column shows as red, which then attracts the attention of the decision-maker.

Also, when a decision is made, you want someone to take action. So you should design your scorecards and dashboards so that the viewer can generate an e-mail from within the chart. This chapter shows you how to do this in Excel.

Plain Charts Ahead
Most of the charts in this chapter are very plain. They don’t take advantage of the significant chart formatting improvements in Excel 2007 and Excel 2010. I’ve intentionally kept these charts with simple formatting so the trend and alert markers are more distinct.

Charting Target Values

Intermediate target values help you track your progress toward a long-range goal. Instead of measuring against a target value six months or a year away, you get better motivation and better control by tracking progress with intermediate targets. Figure 24-1

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