Mobile Management, Part III: Make a Project Dashboard
The spread of mobile phones and internet connectivity provides opportunities to make every program run more effectively and efficiently. We call this “mobile management,” and Magpi can help – even if it’s nothing to do with surveying or data collection, per se. : with easy automation, reminders, scheduling, and other tools. In our first post on the topic we talked about automating the various activity logs and other paper forms in a project. Then in our second post we discussed mobile reminders and alerts. Today we’ll touch on how to use Magpi’s Reports feature to create an easy project dashboard that helps you keep teams on track (and inform managers and donors).
Magpi Mobile Management, Part III: Using Reports to Build a Project Dashboard
We built our new Magpi Reports features to give people a simple way to visualize the data they are collecting. From the initial feedback, though, we realize that Reports is also useful to build a quick webpage or “project dashboard” for all sorts of project materials – including graphs of your data.
Read on to understand how this works.
UNICEF Example: Creating a Dashboard to Keep the Team on Track
In our last blog post, we showed you how to use Magpi’s SMS messaging system to set up reminders for your team, using the example of a fictitious UNICEF team in the field. Today, let’s imagine that we’re still managing that same child health team, which is engaged in doing nutritional assessments, and we want to be able to put together a web-based, real-time project dashboard for team coordination. The dashboard needs to:
- be easy to set up and edit
- display graphs showing the current status of our data collection activities
- show a staff calendar
- display some of our field photos
- display some training materials (maybe a video)
So the goals for the dashboard are to inform (via the graphs), coordinate (via the calendar), train (via the video) and help maintain team spirit (via the photos). Because each Magpi Report is a customizable web page, we can create a dashboard just by making a Magpi Report!
How Magpi Reports Layout Works
Magpi Reports use a simple framework to organize the different elements. Basically, an element can be either full-width, or half-width. Importantly, Magpi Reports are “responsive” to the size of the screen they’re being viewed on. Here you can see how the same five-element report would look on a laptop screen versus on a smartphone screen (notice how the side-by-side elements shift in position, and the full-width elements become half-width):
Based on the info above, we went into our Magpi Pro Account and created a report with these elements:
- project notes & contact numbers (Magpi text report element)
- progress towards goal of doing 500 assessments (Magpi meter report element)
- map of where we did the completed assessments (Magpi map)
- team calendar (embedded from Google Calendar)
- team performance graph: calculating average time taken to do an assessment for each team member (data collected in Magpi, analyzed automatically in Google Sheets, then embedded into the report)
- a training video showing how to do nutritional assessments (embedded from YouTube)
- a couple of team photos (embedded from any photo site)
On the right you can see the resulting report/dashboard. Imagine how useful it is for the team to have all this important real-time information in one spot, easily accessible in the browser of a laptop, desktop, or any phone or tablet – password-protected if necessary. And all with no programming at all: easy as Magpi!