Displaying Risk in OnePager – Heatmaps

It’s not very often that you might need to look at your entire plan to pick out some sort of pattern. Analyzing our project data is usually not as simple as that.

However, when you’re looking to evaluate the timing of your risk and exposure to outside forces, it becomes important to step back and view the entire project.

In Stephen Few’s book Now You See It: Simple Visualization Techniques for Quantitative Analysis, the chapter on Time-Series Analysis and Heatmaps is very relevant to this specific data visualization in OnePager.

Heatmaps, according to Few, are “any display that uses color to encode quantitative values.” Below is an example of a traditional heatmap.

Election Results

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MPUG: Consider Bringing a Portfolio to Your Next PM Job Interview

Our friends at MPUG have published my article on why project managers should create a portfolio of past projects when applying for a new PM job, instead of just the traditional resume:

Consider Bringing a Portfolio to Your Next PM Job Interview

Create a portfolio of past projects when applying for your next PM job.

In the article, I cover how to select which projects to include, and how to go about the mechanics of creating a portfolio of projects that will resonate with prospective employers. The article also includes a sample portfolio of projects to provide an illustration of what employers might be looking for.

If you’re not already an MPUG member or don’t receive their newsletter, it’s worth signing up. MPUG provides great content for the project management community, especially for those of us who spend a lot of time working with Microsoft Project.

Animated Gantt Charts

In last week’s post on project cost tracking, we happened to use an animated GIF of a OnePager Gantt chart to illustrate how project costs changed over time. Since then, several customers have reached out asking how to do the same thing.

These animated .gif files can be inserted into a SharePoint Image Web Part, PowerPoint documents, and other office documents, to be included in your reporting.

This week’s post will show you step-by-step instructions on how to animate your OnePager Gantt chart, like this:

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Exploratory vs. Explanatory Visuals in Planning

I love this topic because it elicits a higher level of thought around designing the data visualizations we need in planning, in a way that my simple mind can consume.

In her book “Storytelling with Data,” Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic points out very early on that there are really two kinds of data visualizations: exploratory and explanatory. Exploratory visuals are created to help us figure out what the important things are within the data…they have an analytical purpose. Explanatory visuals are meant only to show us the important things…there should be little to no intended analytical value. Continue reading

Size Matters

…Well, in plan communications and Gantt charts, it does.

Size, when used as an attribute to denote meaning in data visualization, will likely force our brain to look at the largest items first. In her book “Storytelling with Data,” Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic tells us that “Relative size denotes relative importance.”

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Gift Idea: Another Great Book for Project Managers

It probably won’t be a surprise to those who read last week’s blog post that I just finished Storytelling with Data – A data visualization guide for business professionals, by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic. I’m excited to say that there were hundreds of pages of new information that related directly to data visualization in planning (plan communications).

Knaflic doesn’t call just upon her research, but her own experience, in helping us to become better communicators, most recently as a manager at Google.

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Storytelling With Your Gantt Chart In OnePager

The marketing industry has played a large role in figuring out how to best get information across to audiences. I realize we’re in the planning-world here…so bear with me, folks.

storytime-600x400“Storytelling” is something marketing experts have been talking about for years, as a better way to communicate brands, products, and what sets businesses apart. It’s now a recognized, tried and true approach, and one that has taken a firm foothold due to its effectiveness. Our customer experiences online are, in large part, shaped by “stories” that marketers have set up for us to more easily get to know what they’re selling, and eventually buy it.

Because of this success, storytelling is now quickly making its way into business vernacular, specifically with respect to data. With so much data being collected over the course of doing normal business, we need better ways to communicate that data (the stuff we’re “selling”), in such a way that it can be easily consumed (“buying it”). Continue reading