Nobody likes failed projects. The same applies for airline dashboard projects. There are only a few things that are more demotivating than putting lots of effort, time, and brain into a project that finally fails.
Unfortunately, I also had to witness airline dashboard projects that failed in my career. And since these projects typically have a huge management attention, failure doesn’t bring you many credits.
But wait: Good news is on its way: After having worked on dozens of airline dashboard and KPI projects, we identified the root causes that usually lead to project failure.
We took these findings and defined five questions you should answer before kicking-off a dashboard project.
Actually, we do exactly the same when starting to implement the A:Wall with a client. Without having clear answers to the following questions, we strongly recommend fixing the issues before continuing/starting the project.
Here are the 5 questions you should answer before starting an airline dashboard project
What are your airline dashboard project goals?
In fact, this question is not airline dashboard-specific, but still, it is the most important one. And yes, it’s a high-level question, but answering this one will ease the process of answering the subsequent questions.
Clearly defined project goals will subsequently help you to quickly determine the user group, which key performance indicators and information you need on your dashboard, etc.
So you should sit down with your project team and elaborate on the overall goals:
- Is it about improving your airline’s OTP?
- Do you want to improve internal communication?
- Do you want to create an improved holistic situational awareness?
- Is it about motivating your staff?
- Are you trying to solve specific issues (maintenance, connex, etc.)?
It’s definitely is the first exercise you have to do. Once you have a clear answer, you can continue with the second question.
Who’s your user group?
Based on the outcome of question number one, you have to answer the questions who is going to use your dashboard. This is crucial since it directly influences the type of solution you have to acquire or develop (especially concerning supported devices)
But let’s do it step-by-step.
In the first step, you should think about the persons/departments that will use the dashboard.
- Is it only required for Operations Control Center?
- Do you want to equip your ground staff?
- Is your middle and top management going to use it?
- Do you want to equip flight or cabin crew?
In a second step, you have to take a more detailed look at the user group(s) and ask yourself:
- How are they going to use it? (In the office? At home? During flights?)
- Are they already equipped with devices (Mobiles? Tablets?)
- How are they going to use it? (Constantly while working? Sporadically?)
Answers from these questions massively impact the scope of your project and solution.
To give you one a simple example: If you’ve identified the Operations Controller as one and only user group, it is sufficient to develop a solution that is tailored to big screens. Conversely, if you want to equip your management or cockpit crew, you have to invest in mobile solutions.
Which Key Performance Indicators (KPI) do you want to track?
This question, again, is tightly linked to the first questions concerning the goals you want to achieve with your dashboard. And in order to answer that question, you have to answer which KPIs you need to meet your defined goals.
If, for example, your goal is to improve your airline’s on-time performance, you have to think about which types of OTP you require?
- Departure and/or arrival OTP?
- OTP for different subfleets?
- OTP for different traffic regions?
If, for example, your goal is to improve the overall situational awareness, you have to think about which kind of KPIs you need for that:
- Delay minutes?
- Delay reasons?
- Number of passengers?
To get an overview of potential KPIs, you can check out our extensive KPI Guide with more than 65 airline operations KPIs.
Keep Going — Only Two Questions To Go
Once you’ve answered questions one to three, you should already have an excellent overview of the solution you have to develop or acquire. Now it’s time to start with details — which are mainly related to data.
Is the required data available?
Since you already know which KPIs you want to display on your dashboard, you have to check if all the necessary data is available. Therefore, you have to take each KPI and analyze the necessary data input.
For each type of data you identify, you have to determine potential data sources. In case you require data that isn’t available yet, you have to decide if it is possible to generate this kind of data or if you have to skip the KPI.
Finally, it is also essential to check how to connect identified source systems to your dashboard solution.
Can you rely on appropriate data quality & accuracy?
The last step is a task that is quite often overseen. Although data is available, it isn’t said that data could be provided in the required quality and accuracy.
When it comes to quality, you have to check if required data attributes are available for all flights, for example. Additionally, you have to clarify if the provided data is correct. That’s of great importance to provide a high-quality dashboard.
The data accuracy is critical in case you are planning to set up a real-time dashboard. So make sure to check that source systems are capable of delivering a continuous real-time data stream.
Well Done — You’re Ready To Kick-Off Your Airline Dashboard Project
By having answered the above questions and having clarified all potential aspects, you are in a position to decide whether to start your dashboard project or not.
Let’s get the ball rolling!