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Grammy Bump Infographic in Excel

Very interesting infographic from the data wizards at the Washington Post. It’s made even more interesting by the conversion of the infographic into Microsoft Excel by Chandoo.

Here’s the Washington Post version:

The Grammy Bump

The Grammy Bump

And here is the fascinating story of how Chandoo converted the Washington Post infographic into an excel file.

Be sure to visit because you can download the excel file itself.

The Grammy Bump Infographic in Excel

grammy bump infographic

Here’s what inspired Chandoo to create the chart in Excel:

I really liked this chart. This is what I liked about the chart:

It tells a story. [why charts should tell a story]

It is an ego chart. We would all instantly search for our favorite artists and learn about how Grammy award changed their album sales.

It is a simple chart. No clutter, no gaudy colors, just a bunch of lines and the story is out there.

It lets you play. You can hover your most over an artist to see their sales before and after the award, and how much % bump they got.

In fact, I liked the chart so much that I wanted to make it in Excel.

If you like Chandoo’s work in Excel – be sure to check out his Excel School for Dashboards:


Excel School for Dashboards

Project Management Dashboard in Excel

Dashboard Spy readers looking to use Excel Dashboards for project management are encouraged to check out Chandoo’s Project Dashboard Excel Templates.

Further information is available at this link: http://budurl.com/projectdashboards

Click on that link and then on the Project Management Templates section.

Here’s a video that shows the project status dashboard kit. It’s an informative video that shows a good layout for an excel dashboard for project management. It’s supposed to be viewed only by buyers of the templates so let’s keep this on the download (shhh. don’t tell Chandoo!!!)

Some info on the excel templates from Chandoo:

Here is what you will get with the Project Management Templates for Excel:

* 24 ready-to-use Excel templates for project management
* 1 Special Bonus on Making Beautiful Charts
* Free updates for 6 months

Here is how each of these things work.

About the 24 Project Mgmt. Templates

These templates include ready to use gantt charts (in 7 varieties), time sheets, issue trackers, risk management logs, task lists, milestone timelines, status reports and 2 plug-n-play project dashboards. They are split in to 19 different excel workbooks and you can download all of them in one zip file.

I have made these templates based on 4 years experience of working in various projects and using excel. I started working on these templates in early June, 2009 and finished them in October. It took me that long because I wanted to give you the best and most practical set of templates that you can readily use & succeed.

Evolution of Data Reporting

Data Dashboard Topic: The Evolution of Data Reporting

Dashboard Spy here with an interesting diagram for you data reporting professionals out there. Take a look at this graphic. I find it helpful to think of the move from Operational to Executive to Departmental to Enterprise Wide views of data reporting.

Evolution of Data Reporting

I would say that these divisions still hold. Even though dashboard reporting is now embraced by all levels of the enterprise, real funding for dashboard projects don’t occur until the initiative is thought of as “enterprise wide”.

Hubert Lee
The Dashboard Spy

The Inmates Are STILL Running the Asylum

I’ve been rereading the Alan Cooper book, “The Inmates Are Running the Asylum”. It’s about how high-tech product and software designers drive people crazy with the way they go about trying to satisfy their users.

Do you ever wonder if a software developer is just built differently than most people? Well, according to the book, the answer is a resounding “definitely”!

In the chapter on the Homo Logicus, that special breed of human (well, maybe) that is so often found in the role of application developer, we are told that the key to a successful user experience is not only to understand the psychology of the user, but also to include the understanding of the psychology of the software engineer.

Tidbits from the book:

Nothing will change unless we can influence the software developers. Even when the programmers agree that the user should be better treated (and they usually do), that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will do what is necessary to actually accomplish that goal.

Programmers are somehow different from ordinary people.

A Behind the Scenes Look at Creating Dashboard Pie Charts

Dashboard design teams using enterprise dashboard software packages such as Xcelsius don’t get under the hood and create their own graphics. The idea of most dashboard frameworks and applications is that there is a pre-designed library of graphics for the dashboarders to use. In the case of Crystal Xcelsius by Business Objects, there is a palette of graphics such as sliders, dials and charts. You simply choose the control you want, wire it up to your Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (in the case of an Xcelsius dashboard) and publish it as a SWF flash file.

The point I’m trying to make is that you consume graphic styles that are designed by a graphic design team.

When you have the luxury of building a custom dashboard, you get to dictate the styling of every part of the dashboard system. Take a look at this graphic:

Making Pie Charts using Illustrator


Baffling Flow Chart

Earlier we looked at this amazingly complex new health care flow chart.

I’ve looked into the history of this flow chart deeper and found that it is an amusing and interesting tale. It’s literally been a political football.

The intent of the Republican creators was to scare constituents by the complexity of the Democrats’ new health care plan structure.

Here’s a look at an earlier version of the diagram:

Click on this link to see a larger version.

new health care flow chart

And here are some links about the history and political intrigue:



Incident Command Dashboard

I’m happy to oblige the reader who asked me to dig out the Fire Chief Field Command Dashboard:

Take a look at http://www.superiortrademark.com/amer/dashboard.htm for a real-life, physical command board. As the page states:

Incident Command is a complicated business. As Incident Commander you are trying to coordinate many activities in rapid succession. Many of the leading Chiefs in the Country are not in favor of using the back of the Chief’s car as the Command Center because you are surrounded by the noise and confusion of the scene and because of the distractions of weather. The Dashboard Commander™ was designed with this in mind. Many Chiefs prefer to run an incident from the front of the Chief’s car where they have all of their radios available and where they can provide themselves with a secure quiet environment. Most command boards cannot be used in the front of the car, but this was designed specifically for this purpose. The dry erase surface has space for size-up notes, strategic planning, assignments, PAR, hazards and a sketch of the scene. A stopwatch clock tracks time. Included are 38 custom engraved magnetic pieces representing your apparatus and officers. You place these magnets on the board to track the assignments of your teams.”

Fire Chief Dashboard Dry Erase Dashboard

Excel Dashboard for Auction Management

Excel Dashboard

Topic: Finding Excel Dashboard Examples to Study

A Dashboard Spy reader wrote me to ask how to best go about learning how to use Microsoft Excel for dashboarding. Seems that she got assigned to a departmental dashboard team that was tasked to come up with some KPIs and dashboards.

The requirements seemed straight-forward: decide on the best metrics to display, collect them on a weekly basis, and display them on an excel dashboard.

I advised this budding Dashboard Spy to study some example excel dashboards. She asked me if I could send her some xls files. I told her I would do better than that – I would show her how I use google to find example excel dashboards to learn from.

I ran a quick query and came across this simple auction management excel dashboard:

Ebay Seller Dashboard (more…)

4 Elements of Sales Performance and their Metrics

Effective metrics on sales performance are highly sought after by those of us trying to produce dashboards helpful to managing the sales cycle. Some metrics would be ideal, but are too costly to measure or just plain impossible to gather data for. Others are too artificially manipulated. We all know how crafty sales people are (oops, sorry! Some of my best friends are account execs…)

Here is a quick look at 4 elements of sales performance and the sales metrics that correlate to those categories.

Sales Performance Elements

The 4 elements of sales performance


Enterprise Dashboard Mashups

The recent post on Dashboards By Example on creating WebSphere Portal Dashboard Mashups using Google Gadgets triggered a few discussions on whether or not the public APIs (Google Maps, etc) consumed by mashup dashboards and applicaitons will really be embraced by Enterprise IT. The hesitation expressed concerned the lack of ownership and control of the data.

For those of you that didn’t see the post, I basically ran through some of the impact that Web 2.0 has had on enterprise dashboards. In particular, I discussed how the availability of APIs from Amazon, Google, Yahoo, etc has allowed a surge of Dashboard Mashups – or dashboards that consume both data and behavior from many difference sources. Think of it as web services and SOA come true in its most user-centric way.

There was no doubt among the Dashboard Spy readership that the user experience will benefit, but some dashboarders with a traditional IT mindset seemed a little “scared” of the fact that their applications would be exposing both data and behavior that they did not own.

I point out the very informative InfoWorld article from July 28, 2006 called Enterprise Mashups: Web 2.0 Style Integration at the Browser Isn’t Just for Consumer Apps Anymore and Businesses Are Starting to Take Notice.

Enterprise mashups cover page Info World magazine

I took the liberty of “borrowing” a couple of key graphics from the article (Once a Dashboard Spy, always a Dashboard Spy, I suppose!).

First, let’s have a look at what they call “The beautiful simplicity of mashups”.

Diagram of How Enterprise Mashups Work

Here is a listing of what they identified as enterprise mashup best practices: