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Mission Control... We are ready for launch!

Posted by on in iPlan Series
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Image from NASA Mission Control Gallery

NASA Mission Control Centers, Network Operation Centers, IT Organizations...

and Educators.... Educators?

What do they have in common?



They need to monitor the progress and status of missions, timing of tasks, assets, and Key Performance Indicators* (KPI) in near real-time.  Dashboards line the walls and desks for the Operation Centers listed above...

Why can't we integrate some of these concepts into our own tasks?  Our daily tasks are just as important right?

So as we looked at how we could enhance iPlanLessons and our iPlan Series we brainstormed ways we could provide users a high-level view with aggregated KPIs.  Much like alerts and indicators, gauges and graphs on a dashboard projected on a big screen for operation centers.  These dashboards do not present all the information necessary to manage a mission but allow quick drill-down to related detailed information.  That was our mission here with our iPlan series... to provide us a simple dashboard to manage lessons, assignments, labs, trips, shopping items, and life in general.  Then when we looked at a typical month calendar, it provided an opportunity for us to build this dashboard.  This resulted in our new iPlan 2.2 release.

Introducing the new iPlan Calendar Dashboard:

iPlanLessons Calendar Dashboard


The Calendar Dashboard provides a monthly view of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

  • KPIs are aggregated and "bubbled-up" from the entries below each day.
  • KPIs are dynamically updated as the values change within the database entries giving you a real-time dashboard to plan accordingly.

    Total Count KPI and Highest Priority KPI

    The number of entries for each day are totaled and shown as a bar chart for that day. The bar chart or histogram will show 1 to 7 bars. The shading fades as it nears the top to represent potentially more than seven entries. Anything over seven entries will be shown as seven total bars.

    At the base of the bar chart is a longer red, orange, or yellow bar which represents the highest priority assigned to the entries for that day. Red is assumed to be highest priority, followed by orange and yellow. The default is red. Priority can be modified within your entry definitions.

    Status KPI

    Status is shown in the top left corner of the day box. This status bubbled up to the day reflects what is yet unfinished or complete for that day. Therefore if anything is Pending or Partially complete it will be shown with an hour-glass representing "not yet started" or "needing more time". Only when all entries are marked done will the Done "green check mark" appear and that day's box background will be turned gray. This provides an immediate indicator to completed tasks and unfinished tasks can be moved or copied forward.

    • Pending
    • Partial
    • Done
Tapping on a calendar cell allows the user to drill-down to more detailed information for that day.
We will be adding this functionality to each of our iPlan apps.  There may be slight variations as we try to determine the best way to represent the KPIs.  For example iPlanHomework and iPlanToWrite may vary and we are rethinking the most efficient way to show Date and Due Date variables.  Stay tuned for more updates and we hope you like this new enhancement.  If you do like it please give us a review on iTunes, comment below, or let us know on Facebook.
Thank you,
*Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) - Key performance indicators define a set of values used to measure against. Often used in organizations but here it is applied to personal KPI's in planning and completing tasks.
Tagged in: iPlanLessons

Andy is the co-founder and innovator behind the iHomeEducator, Inc. apps.  Through the last two decades Andy held management and marketing positions in services, R&D, business development, and product marketing with various high tech telecommunications companies.  Andy holds a B.S. and M.S. in Computer/Electrical Engineering from Purdue University with a focus in artificial intelligence and robotics.