by Nova Silva

Microsoft PBI Certified
(4 ratings)
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Increase the power of your KPI’s by adding context with the SMART KPI List

One of the principal goals of any dashboard is to inform its users by creating an overview of multiple key performance indicators (KPIs). A good dashboard shows all relevant KPIs in a single screen, so we need a compact and effective way to display them. The SMART KPI List is created specifically for this purpose.

Usually the S.M.A.R.T framework is used as a guide in the setting of objectives. Here we have used it to describe this visual:

  • Specific

    To allow for our dashboard to be specific we need to display all important indicators in one single overview and make sure we surround the indicator with sufficient context. Measures that need our immediate attention can be highlighted, done with a red dot next to the sparkline;

  • Measurable

    A value on its own is a weak indicator of your performance. By providing context this can be greatly improved. A sparkline shows you the trend to determine if you are moving towards your goal. By including a target value you can determine your distance from that goal. This is done by adding both a number and a target line in the bar chart to visually indicate progress. You can even show the difference between the current value and the target as a percentage by a deviation chart (as shown in the example below);

  • Achievable

    By adding target values you allow the reader to not only determine if a metric has met expectations, but also show the difference with the actual results;

  • Relevant

    Within the sparkline you can add a bandwidth of acceptabel results (the grey area in the example) which helps the user to identify “normal” and “abnormal” results in the past. You can also include qualitative ranges behind the value bar converting it into a Bullet Graph;

  • Time-bound

    The sparkline adds the required historic context to each indicator to enrich the indicators signals. The Last date column provides you insights in the latest refresh date of the indicator;

Key features of the SMART KPI List are:

  • A comprehensive overview of your KPI’s: Create a clear overview of your KPIs in the right context to tell the complete story. No more messing around with separate tables, line charts and bar charts;
  • Format the objects: Each of the columns can be formatted individually. Additionally, for the sparkline and bars you can change basic settings like the used colours;
  • The formatting options are similar to the options you know from standard Power BI charts, so no need to learn a new interface;
  • Selection & Highlighting: Like in standard Power BI Charts you can make use of the Selection & Highlighting functions within the SMART KPI List;
  • Context menu: Like in standard Power BI Charts you have access to the context menu to Include/Exclude data points;
  • Full tooltip support: Besides the default Tooltip behaviour (show the value of the element you hover) you can also add additional fields to the tooltip. You can even use another report as a tooltip.
  • Full Bookmark support: like any of the standard visuals the SMART KPI List supports Bookmarks.

All functionality of the SMART KPI List is available for free to try within Power BI Desktop. A licensed version is available for production usage and sharing the reports with your colleagues in Power BI Service. A license can be purchased on our website. Need more information? Visit our site at:

Visual capabilities

This visual is certified by Power BI

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