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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Chart options (2003 SP2)

    I am trying to find the best graphical representation for some multi-dimensional data. I have a task to develop an Excel-based application for tracking workloads. I need to be able to show workloads of, say 50 different business units who may have any of up to 20 different assignments on any given day.

    I can do the VB stuff to load and edit the data - pretty much blindfolded with both hands tied behind my back and .... well, you get the picture. But what I am really struggling with is how to represent it.

    I need to be able to show how much work all units have on any given day, and over a period of time. An area chart strikes me as a possible option, but it would need to be a 3D area chart with multiple levels, which isn't really possible (you can't see the other dimensions).

    The graph should allow a user to see, for example, that Rotorua branch has type A and B reviews in the third week of May, but Alexandra is fairly light that week, and Rotorua will be light in 2 weeks' time, so we can do a type C review in Alexandra this week, and in Rotorua in 2 weeks.

    Any ideas?

  2. #2
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    Re: Chart options (2003 SP2)

    I don't think you should try to show all those data in one chart. If you did, the result would be very difficult if not impossible to interpret.
    You can use a 2D stacked column chart or stacked area chart to show data over time aggregated by business unit, or aggregated by assignment.

  3. #3
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    Re: Chart options (2003 SP2)

    In my experience, the best technique will depend on what you are trying to show and demonstrate with the plot. Different points to be made require different charts and chart types.

    As Hans indicated, this may require multiple charts and even removing some of the less important businesses or assignments (or grouping them in "other") to clean up the chart and allow more of the points to show through.

    One of the "authorities" on graphical design is Edward Tufte you might try to find some of the The Books of Edward Tufte for some ideas. Many may be "challenging" to do with XL, but Jon Peltier's Excel Charts show some interesting techniques to create the "odd charts".

    I would have to see some example data and info on what you were trying to demonstrate to provide any detailed thoughts on it.
    Steve

  4. #4
    New Lounger
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    Re: Chart options (2003 SP2)

    Thanks for that. Yeah - I kinda figured I was trying to do too much at once.

    I have basically been tasked with putting together something that will assist one of our departments to track workloads on our branches, and to be able to report on that. They want me to come up with something that will allow a user to maintain a schedule of activities (currently 27) that impact our branches (about 40) on a daily basis, and to be able to report on the workload we are subjecting them to on a periodic basis (with the user selecting the reporting period) and on a selected set of branches (an individual branch, multi-select, or all branches in a given category).

    Their current tool is entirely manual, where they have a spreadsheet listing branches in rows (4 rows to each branch) and weeks in columns (varying number of columns for each week), and uses colour-coding to show what work is being done within the 12 or 16 (or whatever) cells in the branch-week matrix.

    An example of what they currently have is attached.

    What I want to do is have a database of activity by day to enhance the ability to report on workloads. The more I think about it, the more I think I might just automate something like they already have.

    Any ideas on how I can depict this information in a useful manner?

    Many thanks to all.


    D.
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  5. #5
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Chart options (2003 SP2)

    I don't think a chart will help here - there is too much data to be displayed in a useful manner.

    You might look at Microsoft Project or dedicated job scheduling software.

  6. #6
    New Lounger
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    Re: Chart options (2003 SP2)

    Thanks heaps for this, everyone.


    D.

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