Today, I was on an interesting project management call for a client, where 7 people spent almost 1 hour trying to create a project status tracking dashboard. That's 7 hours spent on trying to create a dashboard to track progress of a project, the end result of which was a dashboard with 20 status columns for each task. Now imagine each developer working a task having to spend that extra time just tracking project tasks. Also, how can anyone get any information about the project status from such a cumbersome dashboard ?

Unfortunately I have seen disasters like this over and over again throughout my career. Most project status dashboards that I have seen are poorly maintained, and developers require push to keep updating them.

Here is what I learned about how to make project status tracking, simple, efficient and meaningful.

Status Dashboard will not provide you answers to all your life's problems

The first thing to understand is that a status dashboard is supposed to only provide you status of the project, its tasks and anything critical that the team needs to be focused on. If, you need more answers it can be tracked as comments, discussions on specific tasks, and anyone who wants to know those answers will have to go to that detailed level to get them.

The problem starts when people start adding more columns to a project status dashboard to avoid spending the time & effort, trying to dig down into what work has gone into a task. And like that to save  5 mins of someone's time, your team is spending 10 hours maintaining a status dashboard. When you look at those numbers, isn't the solution obvious !!!

Keep your project status dashboard simple, and have a comments/discussion board linked to each task for tracking more details. Updating just the status of a task should be the priority, so that your team can brace for any issues. The easier you make it for your team, the better situation you will be in.

Use status dashboards to solve issues, not lay blame

The status dashboard should be used to quickly identify issues, and brace for any fallout because of those issues. But, in most cases they become a tool for laying blame of one person or team. This then leads to team members trying to move the hot potato off their plate by creating a complex dashboard, that can lay blame on someone else for the smallest issues. This then leads to people spending more time trying to move the blame around, than doing actual work.

Successful, teams only use status dashboards & meetings to highlight issues and how to solve them, rather than trying to find some to take the fall for that issue.


The more you can automate status tracking, the easier it will be for you to maintain it. Also, your status will always be up-to date, and give you the exact picture.

I have consistently used, code pipelines to track which environment a feature/bug has moved to. It gave me an up-to date, and real picture rather than relying on individuals to update a dashboard.

There are enough tools, and automation solutions in the market to help to automate your workflow.

Below are a few tools, that I have used to achieve this :

  1. Atlassian JIRA & BitBucket : We were able to automate our development process to a large extent, by tracking code commits, and their movement from one branch to another.
  2. : There are a lot of good integrations, and automation options available on which makes the process of status tracking easy.
  3. Zapier : Zapier has a lot of options for integrating different systems. It helps if you want to track status of things like support tickets, customer queries etc. from different platforms into a single place.


Like everything else in life, a status dashboard will also never be perfect. You will have to continuously iterate upon it to make sure it evolves with your project and team.