A LinkedIn colleague posted an update in a project management group about the following infographic. It was extremely well received, and inspired me to look into the effort required to replicate it using the tools at hand, namely MS Office 2010.
This infographic was developed by John Furness of Simple Square; 5663 Cornwallis St.; Halifax NS B3K 1B6; ph. +1 902 452 3417; email@example.com.
I find this infographic inspirational. It is easy to read and intuitive, and visually stunning. It conveys a lot of data, very efficiently to me. I can tell by the size of the circles and fonts the level of involvement and importance of each task (bubble) on the timeline. The location of the bubble’s perimeters on the timeline indicate start and finish dates, overlap and size of bubbles is an indication of resources needed, etc. I didn’t feel like I needed the legend, but it is nice to have. In my opinion, this is a great first presentation of a project and an excellent sales tool.
I started building this with the data required to make a “normal” Gantt Chart: Task, Start Date, Work Completed, Finish Date, Number of Days, and Current Date. (my definition of a normal Gantt Chart)
The results were unreadable, even after working on the formatting… a lot!
I obviously had too much data, so I pared it down to Task, Start Date, and Number of Days.
This was better, but the bubbles are lined up on the Y axis… So, I watched a few YouTube videos on Bubble Charts. It was faster for me to see what was possible, than just exploring them by myself.
After a lot of watching and experimenting, I was able to write a macro to create this:
The trick is that EACH task in the spreadsheet is a data series in the Chart. This gives you access to the individually configurable components, color, transparency, label position, font size, etc.
At this point, I can either work in Excel’s chart object or copy the chart into PowerPoint and simply add the legend and other labels as desired.
The Finished Product:
(The parts of the legend that include bubbles were created in Excel.)
I have used this to introduce several project in the past couple of weeks. It has been very well received by my clients.
For a workbook example, in Excel 2010, including automation macros, download it from
For the PowerPoint example, download it from
For a PDF version of the bubble chart used in an actual presentation [redacted], click here: