Background: Several countries have national policies and programmes requiring hospitals to use quality and safety (QS) indicators. To present an overview of these indicators, hospital-wide QS (HWQS) dashboards are designed. There is little evidence how these dashboards are developed. The challenges faced to develop these dashboards in Dutch hospitals were retrospectively studied. Methods: 24 focus group interviews were conducted: 12 with hospital managers (n=25; 39.7%) and 12 support staff (n=38; 60.3%) in 12 of the largest Dutch hospitals. Open and axial codings were applied consecutively to analyse the data collected. Results: A heuristic tool for the general development process for HWQS dashboards containing five phases was identified. In phase 1, hospitals make inventories to determine the available data and focus too much on quantitative data relevant for accountability. In phase 2, hospitals develop dashboard content by translating data into meaningful indicators for different users, which is not easy due to differing demands. In phase 3, hospitals search for layouts that depict the dashboard content suited for users with different cognitive abilities and analytical skills. In phase 4, hospitals try to integrate dashboards into organisational structures to ensure that data are systematically reviewed and acted on. In phase 5, hospitals want to improve the flexibility of their dashboards to make this adaptable under differing circumstances. Conclusion: The literature on dashboards addresses the technical and content aspects of dashboards, but overlooks the organisational development process. This study shows how technical and organisational aspects are relevant in development processes.