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I'm building a dashboard and would like to show an automatically generated chart to quickly give a high-level view of how well my organization is doing.

The organization has a large corpus of content, much of it with quality problems. We're tracking each known error in an issue-tracking system. We want to reduce the number of issues to zero as quickly as possible.

The questions I'd like the chart to answer are:

  1. Over time, how many outstanding tasks do we have?
  2. Over time, how quickly are we fixing issues?
  3. Over time, how quickly are new issues being added?

I've looked around to see what kind of chart would be appropriate. Some ideas I'm considering:

  1. A stacked area chart showing outstanding issues, with fixed issues on top.
  2. A chart like JIRA uses for their 30 day issue summary (see https://jira.atlassian.com/secure/BrowseProject.jspa?id=10470, for example)

Is there something more appropriate?

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There's nothing wrong with three charts, each answering one of your questions, over time.

The JIRA chart you cite is a specialization of a Cumulative Flow Diagram, for which you should be able to find a lot of information about.

The danger of such area charts is that while the critical measures are represented as horizontal and vertical distances, our perception emphasizes the shortest distance between the curves. A famous example is discussed at blog.bissantz.com/vis-a-vis, including a look at two curves together compared with their vertical distance:

enter image description here Red - Blue = Green: enter image description here

In the middle section the red and blue lines seem to have a constant separation, but there is a significant spike in the vertical distance.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for giving the name of the JIRA diagram class, as well as pointing out the dangers of it. I'm now using two views on this data, both the Cumulative Flow Diagram, and a bar chart of totals. $\endgroup$ – Hilton Campbell Sep 6 '13 at 13:45

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