Using a Range Bar chart and visualizing a project schedule (Gantt like chart)

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1. Overview

The Range Bar chart is a bar chart that displays bars for each dimension (category), ranging between a start value and an end value. For example, Range Bar charts can be used to represent the beginning and end of operations/tasks along a time axis, similar to a Gantt chart, for tracking project schedule. This article demonstrates a few Range Bar chart configurations that can be used in order to visualize measurement ranges, tasks, and project schedules.

2. Creating a Range Bar chart

A range bar chart has at least two measures (to be used as the start and end of the range bars) and one hierarchy. For example, in the following chart, the measures represent low and high temperatures for a day and work as a range of temperature values.

3. Showing task schedules and dependencies

A project can have multiple phases, such as Planning, Design, Implementation, etc. Each phase can have milestones and dependencies. You can use a Range Bar chart to show these milestones and their dependencies within a project phase.

3.1. Data preparation

The following table is used to create the chart. It has five milestones (M1, M2, etc.) and their timelines from the Design phase of a project. M3 is dependent on M2 and M5 is dependent on M4.

Task schedule data
Task schedule data

3.2. Creating the chart

Re-Visualize the table into a Range Bar chart.

Re-Visualize into a Range Bar chart
Re-Visualize into a Range Bar chart

Click Horizontal Bars from the toolbar.

Click Horizontal Bars in the toolbar
Click Horizontal Bars in the toolbar

Since the range bar series will be created using start and end dates instead of two measures, you may need to configure the Data Analysis Panel Visualization settings accordingly:

Range Bar series settings
Range Bar series settings

Also, make sure that you have the appropriate hierarchy as your axis.

Range Bar axis settings
Range Bar axis settings

Note
In Dundas BI version 4 and higher, the recommended visualization Range Bar Chart will apply these settings automatically.

Set the scale type for the bottom axis to Date/Time.

For this chart, check the Skip Missing Data under Bottom Axis (Bottom Axis 1) -> Axis -> Intervals in order to show only the dates available in the series.

3.3. Indicating task dependencies

There are multiple ways to indicate dependencies among tasks. A suitable option is to make use of states and creating state styles to indicate dependencies. There must be at least one measure in the metric set to be able to create states. The table is updated accordingly:

Task dependency table
Task dependency table

Follow the steps in the previous section to display the project schedule. When the Range Bar chart is ready, continue as follows:

Create a state group named Dependencies and add the following states:

Set up states
Set up states
 

You can add conditions in the Configure State dialog to compare hierarchy values. See the article setting up states on a metric set for the details on how to do so.

Add styles to the states.

Add styles
Add styles
 

Create three point styles. For each style, set the corresponding State and the Fill color.

Choose the state for the point style
Choose the state for the point style

Choose the fill color
Choose the fill color

Using state styles to indicate task dependencies
Using state styles to indicate task dependencies

As an additional step, you can show connecting lines between tasks to indicate the tasks that are supposed to run in sequence. To do that, navigate to Properties -> Main -> Data Point Series (Series 1) -> Look -> Connecting Lines and set the value to Bridge.

Add connecting lines
Add connecting lines

This will show multiple lines connecting M2 to M3 and M4 to M5, indicating the task sequence.

Indicating the task sequence
Indicating the task sequence

4. Showing the project schedule for multiple projects

You can use a Range Bar chart to display a schedule with multiple projects, along with their phases.

4.1. Data preparation

The following table is used to create the chart. It shows several project phases along with the start date and end date for each project.

Data for multiple projects and their phases
Data for multiple projects and their phases

4.2. Creating the chart

Re-Visualize the table into a Range Bar chart.

Click Horizontal Bars from the toolbar.

Make sure that the Visualization tab of the Data Analysis Panel has the following settings:

Range Bar settings
Range Bar settings

Range Bar grouping
Range Bar grouping
 

Under Series Layout, set the value of Custom Side-By-Side Position is to 1.

Custom Side by Side Position
Custom Side by Side Position

Set the scale type for the bottom axis to Date/Time. For this chart, Skip Missing Data is checked and Interval Method is set to Show Data Point Values under Bottom Axis (Bottom Axis 1) -> Axis -> Intervals in order to show only the dates available in the series.

Bottom Axis interval settings
Bottom Axis interval settings

5. Miscellaneous

5.1. Adding a line to indicate the current date

Often there is a requirement to show a vertical line in the chart to indicate the current date. This is useful to highlight where the project schedule stands. In the example shown above, you can add another metric set to the same chart using the Data Analysis Panel. In the following example, the dimension Now has the current date.

Data Analysis Panel - Metric Set
Data Analysis Panel - Metric Set

This will create a new series for the chart. For the series, set the Chart Type to Line. In the Visualization tab, add the dimension to Line Horizontal Position.

Data Analysis Panel - Visualization
Data Analysis Panel - Visualization

This will show the current date as a vertical line.

Project schedule with a current date line
Project schedule with a current date line

5.2. Adding milestone dates

You may want to show the milestone dates of each phase within a project timeline. Assume that you have the following chart:

Project schedule without phases
Project schedule without phases

You can add another metric set using the Data Analysis Panel to create a new series and set the Chart Type for the series to a Point chart.

Data Analysis Panel - Metric Set
Data Analysis Panel - Metric Set

The Visualization tab should have the following settings:

Data Analysis Panel - Visualization
Data Analysis Panel - Visualization

For the newly created series, navigate to the series properties and set the Marker Fill to White and the Marker Shape to Diamond. Now you can see the milestone dates along the project timeline for each project. You can use states and state styles for the point chart to illustrate the status of the milestones (i.e. In-progress, Delayed, Completed, etc.).

Project schedule with milestone dates
Project schedule with milestone dates

You can also make use of notes to record and show further details about the project milestones.

6. See Also

Dundas Data Visualization, Inc.
500-250 Ferrand Drive
Toronto, ON, Canada
M3C 3G8

North America: 1.800.463.1492
International: 1.416.467.5100

Dundas Support Hours: 7am-6pm, ET, Mon-Fri