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jannepyykko

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Posts: 39
Reply with quote  #1 
Hello,

Included in my blog new options to display project data:
http://jpbi.blogspot.com/2007/07/viewing-project-data-new-options.html

Sample image, old way:


Sample image, new option:


I already have one (happy) customer using this. Feel free to enhance.

Regards,
-Janne

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-- Mr. Janne Pyykkö, Espoo, Finland, Europe
wd

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Posts: 167
Reply with quote  #2 
Janne;

Your rendition does add something extra.  I have two suggestions that may be helpful.

1. You use shading to show something.  I presume it has to do with the number of hours spent on the particular project that week, however, there is no explanation (via a legend perhaps) as to what value each shade represents.
2. I find it more difficult to relate week numbers to a calendar than months.  Given a choice, I would rather see the months than the week number.  You could add another row of information to the x axis and display year, month and week.

Bill

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Bill Droogendyk
sfew

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Reply with quote  #3 
Janne,

Nicely done. Using a heatmap matrix to display time-series data is certainly not new -- I illustrate it in my visual analysis course -- but your use of the technique in Excel to add a quantitative variable to a Gannt Chart (for example, hours worked or dollars spent) is a valuable and practical application of the technique.

The ability to translate a quantitative value into color is one of the few graphical features that was added to the latest version of Excel that I find useful. Thanks for sharing this example with us.

Here's a similar example, not created with Excel, that parents use to monitor the sleep and awake patterns of their children, which I found at http://www.trixietracker.com. The daily rows record asleep or awake per hour as blue or yellow (that is, a binary condition of on or off), but the total row at the top uses a sequential range of grayscale colors to quantitatively summarize the patterns for many days.

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Stephen Few

BenM

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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #4 

I agree with the points raised by wd, the addition of a legend and showing the months on the scale would be useful additions for me if I was going to use a chart like this.

Overall I like it, I think it communicates fairly clearly how the intensity of resource use changes over time. I think it could be extended by having one hue to record the actual resources expended up to the current point (or point of last measurement) and then switching hue to show the remaining planned resource utilisaton.

BenM

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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #5 

I wish I was getting as much uninterrupted sleep at nights as those parents seem to be getting!

jannepyykko

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Posts: 39
Reply with quote  #6 
Thanks for positive feedback!

Just to convince you my charting tool wasn't Excel :) , you can find a new posting from my blog:
http://jpbi.blogspot.com/2007/07/how-to-do-enhanced-project-charts.html

Other issues raised:

Using a mixture of months and weeks (instead of plain weeks), as welcome idea as it is, is something not easily done with the methods I use. The tool has a dimension based approach, so using both would cut some weeks into two parts, thus making the weekly data not comparable (it's a bad explanation, I know). Anyway my customer's business is week-oriented, he doesn't need anything else.

About the legend or similar to connect the hues to work hour values, I think it's better to use the tool tip feature available in the software:



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-- Mr. Janne Pyykkö, Espoo, Finland, Europe
seamonk

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Posts: 10
Reply with quote  #7 
It looks like your columns are sized according to the width of the week number.

Is there a way you could add variable column as another data dimension?

seamonk

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Posts: 10
Reply with quote  #8 
Sorry, I dropped a word out of a sentence above. It should read "add variable width columns as another data dimension."

You used variable color saturation as a way to encode extra data (hours worked) which I think is brilliant. I was wondering if you could encode another set of infomation by varying the width of the columns.

I ask because it looks like the columns are not constant width, but vary by the space needed for the number of the week in the header. Normally, project charts are set up with a strict chronological spacing so that, visually, you get a clock-bound sense of the the passage of time. However, in human-time, some weeks seem to drag on while others fly by. By adjusting the width of the columns you might be able to capture this human sense of time passage.

Perhaps column width could be based on an "exasperation index". If you could quantify problems that cause headaches (safety issues, delivery problems, inspection findings, money trouble...) then that index could determine column width; difficult weeks would take up more space on the chart, easy ones less.

You could also use row height as a variable. In either case, I think you would want the effect to be very subtle.
jannepyykko

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Posts: 39
Reply with quote  #9 
Seamonk, you are right! In the software, the column width does change according to the column title width.

I think it shouldn't be so. We are used to think time as a linear phenomenon, thus weeks or any equal time units should have equal width. The only slight exception to this rule might be a monthly color scaled Gantt chart, where the width of February could be a bit shorter than January, with the factor 28:31.

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-- Mr. Janne Pyykkö, Espoo, Finland, Europe
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