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liversounds

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Reply with quote  #1 
We're in a project environment, and a focus on risks/opportunities is essential to our evolution. There are basically two levels of R/O management with many variations in between:
1) A "Risk Register" is used and coded with Likelihood, Schedule Impact, and Cost Impact. An example Risk Register is attached. Without a full R/O process, the risk register is often used as a way to simply flag and prioritize items and prompt discussions of mitigations. Many projects use a slightly more robust version of the risk register with some values coded with Min/Most Likely/Max values for schedule and cost. The stoplight coloring is almost ubiquitous.
Risk-Oppy Log Example.png 
2) A full R/O program where sophisticated tools are used to analyze schedules and budgets using coding and assignments of R/Os--running all data eventually through a Monte Carlo simulation model. Given the experience and tools needed to produce results, this method is somewhat rare. When this method is used, a wide range of graphics become available, the most famous being the "tornado chart" (attached).
Tornado Chart.jpg 

So... there are problems when considering integrating R/O into a dashboard: the R/O descriptions themselves are often very lengthy, and not given to at-a-glance digestion. Also, the typical stoplight feature violates what we believe to be effective dashboard communication.
My question is: for companies that are simply using a Risk Register and cannot generate advanced R/O graphics, what is the optimal way for adding "Top 5 Risk/Opportunities" into a dashboard?

sfew

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Reply with quote  #2 
Liversounds (seriously?),

I think I understand what you're asking, except for one thing: do you want this information to constitute the entire dashboard or a portion of a dashboard that includes other information as well?

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Stephen Few
liversounds

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Reply with quote  #3 
Oh liversounds is just habit... lucky unique username :)

I would like the item to be part of a dashboard, probably no more than 25% of entire page.

Thanks! -Jason
sfew

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Reply with quote  #4 
Jason,

In this case, it might make sense to include nothing but an alert of some sort on the dashboard to indicate whether or not any of these items need attention, along with a link to a separate screen that provides the full set of details that you usually display. You can't design a display of this information for rapid monitoring because it consists mostly of textual information, which must be read. Make sense?

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Stephen Few
liversounds

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Reply with quote  #5 
Yep, makes sense...

Wondering if the thought changes if the risks/mitigations could be encapsulated in extremely brief descriptions (less than 5 words each)... in your experience, is there a threshold for how much reading can be done as a quick monitoring action?

Also, assuming we had the more advanced R/O model available, how do you feel about "tornado charts"?
sfew

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Reply with quote  #6 
Jason,

Some information can only be expressed adequately as text. This is only a problem in the context of a rapid monitoring display because text must be read, which is a slow, serial process of perception. Short strings of text that serve as labels can often be scanned rapidly because they're instantly recognizable, but sentences such as these descriptions must be read. If these descriptions can be expressed with less text without losing meaning or making comprehension difficult, that would improve the speed of perception.

To assess the usefulness of tornado charts, I would need to see a specific data set and understand what you're trying to communicate with it.

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Stephen Few
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