If you or your CEO thinks dashboards, you’re probably thinking of something that’s been beautifully designed like this…
Great design definitely helps. But what data should you put up there?
In talking to successful founders they almost always refer to one number that moves the needle. That number can change over time but ultimately you will still have that number.
For a marketplace, it could be # of transactions or for a SaaS company, it might be # of meaningful actions in your app. The number needs to be meaningful to the whole business.
For example, what it almost certainly isn’t is your MRR or your Gross Merchandise Volume this is an outcome of the one number, not the number itself.
You should also consider actionable lists such as lead or ticket queues.
The three things you need to read
We looked through all of the posts we could find on Google and YouTube, these are the top three that we felt best nailed the subject.
#1 Startup Metrics for Pirates by Dave Mclure – This model is referenced repeatedly in almost all SaaS metrics blog posts. It’s a great starting point.
#2 For Entrepreneurs SaaS Metrics – This site is one of the best we’ve found over the years. Written by David Skok entrepreneur turned VC, it’s rich in detail. The SaaS metrics post is extremely comprehensive.
#3 What Is the Only Metric That Matters by Greylock Partners PM (25 min) – Josh Elman from Greylock gives a great talk on getting to the only metric that matters.
Other notable content
How to Optimize Your Product Using Analytics by Dan Olsen (26 min) – Dan is well known in product circles. He does a great job running through all the key frameworks in this video.
David Skok of Matrix Partners: Driving SaaS Success Using Key Metrics (20 mins) – A great video about key SaaS growth economics around cash flow and profitability. Longer version here.
Design principals for admin interfaces – The UK Government’s internal design team have some great words on dashboards.
Design & Tech
However, while not a bad place to start, we’ve found that UI kits can leave interfaces a little bloated and it’s a little constraining. Don’t ask us though, talk to your dev team.