KPI roll-up in SharePoint (Part II)

After reading about the scenario and watching my live demo in part I, it is now time for you to try out KPI roll-ups for yourself.

Note: You’ll need site owner permissions on your site collection to set up the demo.


I am providing all the templates needed to replicate my demo in the download section. This includes 4 files:

Projects_List.stp (List template)
Each program site has a projects list. This is where the project managers will update their project status: progress and 4 health indicators.

This is a Data View Web Part that displays the visual indicators, progress bar and traffic lights.
Placed on the home page,  it will find all the project lists in the sub-tree. For example, if added to the home page of BU2, it will find all the project lists in BU2, Program 2.1, Program 2.2 and Program 2.3.

Similar to the previous Web Part, but with an additional filter that only selects the projects in poor health (overall status = red).

A site template to create program sites. The template includes both the Projects list and the Project DVWP.

So you have the choice: either use the site template, or use the list template with the DVWP template. See below detailed instructions on how to use the files.

A couple comments:
– I used a site content type to manage centrally the project items. It is excluded from the templates, as the SharePoint UI doesn’t provide a way to export/import content types.
– the DVWP includes two grouping levels that are based on the site collection hierarchy.

What’s next?

I am really looking forward to your feedback. I think it is a very convenient implementation of the  “HTML Calculated Column”, as it doesn’t rely on a Content Editor Web Part. Also, the method works on both wss and MOSS, gives you access to a large choice of visual indicators, and doesn’t require images.

If everything works as advertised, please leave a comment here! If not, you may also leave a comment, but more importantly contact me so that I can help you out.

Also, let me know if you’re not clear about the scenario and the benefits of such an implementation.

In part III I’ll explain how I built the projects list.

Detailed instructions

Start by downloading the templates from the download section, under the topic “KPI roll-up”. To download a file, right click on it and select “save target as”.

To use the Projects list template (you need site owner permissions):
– On your top level site, go to the List template gallery:
Site Actions | Site Settings | Galleries | List templates
– Select Upload
– Upload the Projects_List.stp template

You can now create lists based on the ProjectsList template, on any site of your site collection:
Site Actions | Create | Custom Lists | Projects List

To use the Data View Web Parts:
– On your top level site, go to the Web Part gallery:
Site Actions | Site Settings | Galleries | List templates
– Select Upload
– Upload the two templates Projects.webpart and Projects_with_Overall_Status_=_Red.webpart

You can now add them to your Web Part pages like any other Web Part.

Alternately, you can use the Program_Site.stp site template that contains both the projects list and the Data View Web Part (you need site owner permissions):
– On your top level site, go to the site template gallery:
Site Actions | Site Settings | Galleries | Site templates
– Select Upload
– Upload the ProjectsList template

To create a site based on the template:
Site Actions | Create | Web Pages | Sites and Workspaces

Good luck!

KPI roll-up in SharePoint (Part I)

Do teams in your organization need to report on the status of their projects or action items? Are managers and executives  looking for a way to aggregate and synthetize this information, to help them focus on key issues?

On January 23rd, at the SharePoint Saturday EMEA event, I’ll present a session about “KPI roll-up in SharePoint 2007”.

Last year, I already published a series about KPI roll-up, but it only applied to MOSS, and relied on the Content Query Web Part. This time, I’ll show you how a similar result can be achieved with the Data View Web Part and applied to any SharePoint 2007 configuration (wss v3 and MOSS).

As usual, no action is required on the server side. All the customizations will be done via the SharePoint UI. We’ll also use SharePoint Designer to configure the Data View Web Part, although this is not mandatory and could be one with a text editor.

Our tool for building the visual indicators is my “HTML Calculated Column” method. If you’ve already used it before, you know that it is usually associated with a client side script (“Text to HTML”). Well, here is some good news: in this specific case, we don’t even need the script, SharePoint will do all the work for us! btw this is also how it worked with the CQWP in last year’s series.

In this article (part I), I am going to describe the business scenario, with the support of a live demo.
In part II, I’ll provide the templates I used for the live demo. This will allow you to test them in your own environment (wss or MOSS).
In parts III and IV, I’ll explain how I did it, using calculated columns and the Data View Web Part.
In parts V to X… you tell me how you’ve taken advantage of the method in your own environment, and share your findings and customizations with me and the other readers!

The scenario

An organization is divided in business units, each one gathering multiple program teams. Each program team manages several projects.

Each level of the hierarchy needs visibility on the projects under its supervision. So for example:
– the program team 1.2 monitors all projects 1.2.x
– Business Unit 1 monitors all projects 1.x.y
– the top management monitors all projects

Information architecture

The SharePoint architecture follows the organizational structure: the collaborative space is a site collection, where each business unit is a sub-site of the top level, and each program is a sub-site of the business unit site.

Program team level

Note: click on a screenshot to access the live demo.

In my example, I use a custom list with 5 indicators to monitor the projects.

The budget, quality and schedule indicators track the project health: good (green), average (amber), or poor (red).

The overall status is a global indicator based on the 3 others. For example:
– Green+Amber+Amber –> Amber
– Red+Amber+Amber –> Red

To make the table easier to read, the text is converted into visual indicators: progress bar for the % complete, and traffic light for the health indicators.


Business unit level

 The business unit dashboard gathers all the projects under its responsibility:

For the demo, I have shown all the indicators. At this level, we could actually have restricted the view to the progress bar and the overall status, for a lighter display.

Top level

At the top level, we are collecting information from all the projects in the organization. To avoid an overwhelming amount of data, the list is filtered to only display the projects we want to focus on (in my example the ones with a red overall status).

In the next episode, I’ll share the list template and Web Part I used for the demo. A key point with this method is that it is the SAME Web Part that is used at all levels of the hierarchy to render the visual indicators. At each level, the Web Part is smart enough to only select the relevant information, i.e. the projects in the sub-tree.

HTML Calculated Column and Unicode Graphics

The number one application of the “HTML Calculated Column” method is the display of visual indicators in SharePoint lists. You’ll find many examples on my blog:
Progress bars
Color gradients
– etc.

If you haven’t used this method yet, you’ll need to learn it to take advantage of these tutorials. For the latest information on the HTML Calculated Column, start with this post… or attend one of our live online workshops.

Most examples are about color coding backgrounds or text. But what if you want to take it a little further? For example display:
– up/down arrows
– check marks
– star ratings ✭✭✭✭✭
– traffic lights
– etc.

What immediately comes to mind is to use a set of icons. But the above examples offer a lighter solution: welcome to the world of unicode graphics!

Unicode is an international standard that references character sets. This includes some graphics, see for example the page below:
For the graphics, scroll down to the “Symbols” category.

Some benefits of unicode, compared to icons:
– unlimited choice of colors, for both the graphic and the background.
– the rendering is not bound to an external image. This means better performance. Also, it makes it easier to save the SharePoint list as template for reuse in other environments (I’ll provide such a template in an upcoming post).

An example: traffic lights

As an example, here is the formula I used in a calculated column to generate the above traffic lights:

="<span style='background-color:black;font-size:24px;'><span style='padding:-10px;color:"&IF([Color]="Green","green;'>✹","gray;'>✹")&"</span><span style='padding:-10px;color:"&IF([Color]="Amber","RGB(255, 191, 0);'>✹","gray;'>✹")&"</span><span style='padding:-10px;color:"&IF([Color]="Red","red;'>✹","gray;'>✹")&"</span></span>"

Where the [Color] column can take the values Green, Amber or Red.

How about Wingdings?

Why use unicode characters, and not simply fonts like Webdings, Wingdings, or Zapf Dingbats? Those too offer graphics, but there is a downside: these fonts are not standard, and they don’t work cross-browser (and never will, from what I read). Such graphic fonts could still work for you if you are in a corporate environment where your internal policy enforces the use of Internet Explorer.

Unicode seems to work in all modern browsers. I tested it in IE7, IE8, Firefox, Chrome and Safari.