❊ Splatter Plots

Take a second:  Each of these plots portray a project.  
Take a guess:    Which ones are in trouble, and which are doing well?


I followed these 9 principles when inventing this graph:
Interpretable at a glance:  (no in-head assembly required)
Comprehensive:  a high level overview of everything
Reducible:  one can quickly ‘drill down’
Problems: obvious and identifiable
Successes: obvious, but not overshadowing problems
Appropriate level of precision (say, 0 to 10)
Visual, not verbal: 
compare, contrast, & interpret without reading anything
Geometric:  identify by position, angle & shape, not labels.
Expandable:   + Uncertainty estimates  + other elements

These graphs embody 3 metaphors:
* Traffic lights:   
Green/Amber/Red  for:
    --  Go! / Caution! / Stop!
    -- Good / Uncertain / Bad,   etc....
* Targets
   
--- Aim for the center   
    ... Hit where it may
* Tolstoy ("Happy families are all alike; Each unhappy family is unhappy in it's own way")
    -- Successful projects all look the same
    -- Unsuccessful projects show how they failed in their own unique ways

With some inspiration from the TV show Dexter, in which the hero recreates crime scenes from analyzing splatter patterns.

Back to the example above:  in each plot, the horizontal radial line to the left represents budget, and to the right represents timelines.  In less than 5 seconds, which projects are under budget or ahead of schedule?

Or consider the following 9 projects (2 large, 7 small).  What's at risk?  Which is on target?
9 projects at a glance!


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Introduction to splatter plots:  3457k v. 1 Dec 14, 2011, 6:49 AM Dennis Sweitzer
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