Over the past two weeks I've delivered 5 1/2 days of intense, live in the classroom training to a diverse set of people... from Raleigh last week to New York City this week. In each situation I've tried to place all of the solutions talked about into real world context for the people attending the sessions. Today one came up that I thought was pretty cool, so I took a picture of the whiteboard sketch.
This is a quick sketch of how to setup diversified dashboards for different levels of users by creating a Dashboards document library, holding multiple web part pages. I think it's interesting enough to document the creation of the process.
One of the participants in the workshop said she'd like to have different views of their site information for different people. We discussed how to setup personalized views on various lists and libraries and also how that could be done on the entrance page using little tricks like the [Me] formula and audience targeting.
As the discussion progressed, what came out was what she really wanted was a personalized dashboard for each level of user that could pull in information based upon the access level of that set of users. What we decided was it would be easier for her to maintain a library of dashboards as opposed to working with each person in each group to implement personal views.
The site as it exists (in a simplistic view) has multiple document libraries and lists with various levels of access for the groups utilizing the information on the site:
- Secured list for managers
- Secured library for managers
- Library for team members
- Issue tracking list for all
- Task list for all
Content for Dashboards
To setup the demo, I created a Blank Site from scratch. This will allow me to create the lists and libraries without having to worry about cleaning up all the other stuff that a Team Site adds to the mix.
I then created the lists and libraries as needed for holding the team and manager content. Any object that was created for the team inherited permissions from the site. I created a SharePoint Group for the managers and used that group to secure the manager's private list and library.
Creation of Dashboards
There are three levels of dashboards requested in this solution: manager, team and self. The Manager Dashboard needs to show content from all areas of the site, the Team Dashboard shows all content that is not restricted and the Self Dashboard is whatever the person creating the dashboard wants to see.
I started by creating a document library called Dashboards using the Web Part Page document type at the bottom of the configuration screen. This will make it possible to quickly create a new dashboard by clicking the New button on the library menu bar.
Within that library, I created three web part pages, one for each dashboard.
Because each dashboard page is made up of multiple web zones, I have the ability to control placement of the selected information blocks anywhere I'd like to place them on the page. Now all I have to do is interview the manager and team members to see what they'd like displayed in their dashboards.
A solution like this might seem very simple, but the power is in the ability to quickly display information that is relevant to specific groups of people. The web part pages created for the dashboards can now hold displays of various items in the site as well as KPIs, jQuery no code solutions and anything else your team will find helpful.
The beauty of all of this is that you can create the infrastructure within a matter of minutes while making a huge difference in the usability of your site. If someone requests a new dashboard, click the New button and ask what they want to see!
Happy dashboarding! -- Mark