Best in Class – Dashboards for Oil and Gas Projects


By Stephen J.C. Paterson

HuaHin, Thailand



Reporting, effective reporting is key to a projects success during its life-span, while insufficient or incorrectly analyzed reporting dooms a project to failure. In today’s environment with the advances in technology, managers and executives are reading reports on the move so concise analysis is key. The author reviews several sources including “Guild of Project Controls GPCCAR”, “DAU Gold Card” and “NDIA’s A guide to managing programs using predictive measures” to determine the optimum metric content for a project management dashboard for the oil and gas sector. Along the way, the paper researches the attributes and the target audience, before determining utilization of two metric groups, “common” and “unique” along with a recommended shortlist. The paper concludes by recommending content for page 1, page 2 and subsequent pages, from the shortlist, before providing recommended formats for the same.

Keywords: Dashboard, Project Reporting, Progress Reporting, Business Report Writing, Project Management, Charts, Tables


Having spent more than 30 years in project controls on Oil and Gas construction projects, on-shore and off-shore, one of the most important activities in the project life-span is effective reporting. The art of reporting, and it is an art, is providing the correct information and analysis of the same to the key people to allow them to make informed decisions to make the project successful.

During these years, the author has been involved in the development of various dashboards to track progress, key KPI’s, performance, and highlight issues requiring attention. However, each Project Manager, usually had different requirements, and while some indicators could be duplicated from project to project others needed to be developed to suit the project team’s needs.

Based on the famous statement by William Cameron which is often attributed to none other than Albert Einstein, that “not everything that can be measured matters and not everything that matters can be measured” this paper is going to review the following problem statement, “What should the ideal project management dashboard contain?”. While the authors research is based on dashboards supporting the Oil and Gas Industry, it is only to be expected that other industries would have similar requirements.

Specifically, this paper wants to explore;

  1. Proposed content and format for the first page of a dashboard.
  2. Proposed content and format for the second page of a dashboard.
  3. Proposed content and format for third and subsequent pages of a dashboard.
  4. Considerations for ready prepared formats by software providers.
  5. Proposed update to the Guild of Project Controls GPCCAR Communications module.

Attributes of a dashboard

Review of the following documents, revealed the depth of metrics and key performance indicators available to generate a meaningful dashboard:

  • Guild of Project Controls GPCCAR Module 9.
  • DAU Gold Card.
  • NDIA’s A Guide to Managing Programs using Predictive Measures.
  • Oracle P6 EPPM standard dashboard reports.
  • Microsoft Project & Portfolio Management (PPM) standard dashboard reports.

The GPCCAR Module 9 section “Dashboard Reports” shows four examples, and refers to the DAU Gold Card, and section 09.5.5 “References & Templates” refers to the NDIA document mentioned above. Of the four examples provided, a good example of is the first one which shows the “Figure 21 – S-Curve from a Real Programme”, see figure 1 below, as it provides a metrics ribbon along the top to provide management with an excellent view of the current status.


To read entire paper (with footnotes and references), click here


About the Author

Stephen J.C. Paterson

HuaHin, Thailand



Stephen Paterson is an Oil and Gas professional with 35+ years of experience in project controls and construction management. Born in the Highlands of Scotland, he served an apprenticeship and gained a Higher National Certificate in Civil Engineering in the UK, before embarking on the adventure of expat living, working worldwide; Middle East, North & South America, Russia, Middle East, Far East, South East Asia, China and Australia. He just completed his last assignment in February of 2017, and currently, furthering his education by way of a distance learning mentoring course, under the tutorage of Dr Paul D. Giammalvo, CDT, CCE, MScPM, MRICS, GPM-m Senior Technical Advisor, PT Mitrata Citragraha, to attain Guild of Project Controls certification.

Stephen lives in HuaHin, Thailand and can be contacted at [email protected]

To view other works by Stephen Paterson, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/stephen-j-c-paterson/