Contruent Blog

Shared Dashboards Improve the Way Stakeholders Communicate and Collaborate

by Karl Vantine, Chief Customer Officer at Contruent

What determines the success of any given capital project? It depends on many factors working in sync, but one of the most critical hinges on the ability of its stakeholders — contractors, architects, construction managers or owners — to collaborate smoothly.

Achieving such synergistic teamwork can be challenging. It requires improving how stakeholders interact with information and with each other.

This is where shared dashboards excel. Dashboards act as a conduit through which stakeholders access and work with real-time project data — and with each other — to keep projects on track to meet expected outcomes.

To appreciate how shared dashboards do this, it may help to frame it in the context of some of the common issues that arise that compromise stakeholders’ ability to effectively communicate and collaborate.

Common Issues in Stakeholder Communication and Collaboration

Effective collaboration in capital projects relies on two things: communication and data. When these are missing or compromised, issues arise that jeopardize effective interaction among such a diverse group. Some of these include:

• Diverse interests and priorities
• Data misinterpretation
• Working with questionable data
• Lack of accountability

Construction companies are using shared dashboards to help overcome such issues by transforming how stakeholders work together.

How Shared Dashboards Overcome These Common Issues

Diverse interests and priorities. Each stakeholder is driven by their role-specific priorities. Contractors execute against established costs and schedules. Architects ensure designs and specifications meet owners’ functional and visual requirements. Construction managers need to maintain clockwork-like productivity. Owners want to be assured of a return on their investment.

How shared dashboards improve on this:

  • Real-time data visibility. Communication is easier with everyone on the same page. Viewing and leveraging the same real-time updates, reports and data everyone else can see reduces misunderstandings and enables changes and challenges to be promptly addressed.
  • Customization. Clearly, not everyone needs to know or act on the same information. Interfaces can be tailored to show different views for different stakeholders, reflecting the data they require for their specific priorities. This strengthens what they bring to the collaboration table, making them better informed about their area of responsibility.

Data misinterpretation. Data is constantly multiplying and becoming more complicated — and it isn’t always in a structure that everyone fully understands or is familiar with. Factor in that each stakeholder may have a different take on what it means, which can create conflict and hamper consensus on project decisions.

How shared dashboards improve on this:

  • Consistent reporting. Dashboards draw from the data found in standardized reports. Having a uniform starting point creates a common data language that minimizes the chances of misinterpretation and streamlines how everyone understands, assesses and collectively acts on that data.
  • Data-driven insights. Structured, visual representations of complex performance metrics and key indicators make all that data more universally accessible and less prone to misunderstanding. Stakeholders can better quickly identify trends, slowdowns or issues needing a closer look.
  • In-dashboard comments: Adding comments and notes facilitates sharing those data-driven insights and having productive discussions in real time.

Working with questionable data. Unclear accuracy and timeliness of the data chip away at the foundation on which to base collective decisions, action steps or risk mitigation efforts. Often stemming from data being siloed in various systems, it creates uncertainty about whether it represents the latest version.

How shared dashboards improve on this:

  • Centralized data hub. Shared dashboards provide a single access point to where all project data lives. With the massive influx of data throughout construction, having one trusted place for everyone to access ensures communication and project decisions are based on the most recent information.
  • Early issue detection. Monitoring real-time performance data helps catch issues as they develop. Through proactive tracking and warning notifications, the appropriate stakeholders can analyze the data and collaboratively address problems before they escalate.

Lack of accountability. Not having a clear idea of ownership of responsibilities can create confusion over who to turn to for decisions and questions on specific tasks and can even lead to adversarial relationships that hinder effective collaboration.

How shared dashboards improve on this:

  • Task and progress visibility: With tasks and progress displayed for all to see, there’s clarity around roles and responsibilities. Project team members are compelled to be more accountable for their jobs and data input, which can inspire collaboration rooted in trust.
  • Traceability: Drill-down functionality further reinforces accountability. So, executives who typically track higher-level data can dive into specific aspects of the project, especially as issues are developing. Such granular oversight incentivizes teams to make doubly sure the entered data is accurate — or feel the discomfort if not.

Improve How Your Team Communicates and Collaborates

Even if you have high-functioning project teams and stakeholder groups, there’s always an opportunity to improve how they share information and collaborate. Shared dashboards help bridge even small communication and data gaps that can undermine teamwork. More than just digital tools, they transform how everyone interprets and interacts with the data and each other.

Contruent dashboards deliver these benefits and more. Find out more.