How Powerful Are Your Users?

As business intelligence application designers and analysts, we are quite used to dealing with the user community and their sometimes misplaced sense of importance. By that I mean, we’ve all dealt with the challenge of accomodating users who push too hard for features that are out of line with overall project goals.

How many times have we let “feature creep” jeopordize project schedules and budgets?  Or let features through that wind up being used by only a single “power user”?

Yes, it’s a fine balance between user-driven design and maintaining what you as the application designer know to be best practice.

But what if you really have a powerful user? What if this is your user?

Take a look at who is using this business intelligence dashboard:


Yes, President Obama is quite fond of business dashboards. The Federal I.T. Spending Dashboard made quite a sensation when it helped shut down a significant number of over-budget and over-schedule federal information technology projects.

And here is Obama visiting the NYPD Operational Dashboard at the NYC Anti-terror Command Center.


Getting back to the theme of this post, what would you do if President Obama was the “power user” on your business intelligence project?

What if he asked for a feature that you knew would bring little return and delay the project? Would you step up and say “No, Mr. President – that’s not a good idea.”

Or would you just say “Of course, I’ll add that feature right away!” Even though you know you and your team would have to work around the clock for another few weeks to bring the project back into line because of that?

How powerful is YOUR user?

Hubert Lee
The Dashboard Spy

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