One of my customers said to me the other day "You data scientists are all the same, you hate Pie Charts". And we do. Rightfully so. They are an executive's favorite terrible method to display data. "I want to see sales by province in a pie chart" ... but that's 10 values (and 13 if you want territories - which the BA was vague about) it will be barely legible. Oh well. You're told to make it happen anyway.
But this generalization of a data scientists hate for Pie Charts. It caught me off guard. It got me thinking. Could you make an executive dashboard with only pie charts. The ultimate corner office dashboard.
Could you? Yes.
Should you? If you really have to ask, then get out.
Feel free to find me on twitter and let me know your favorite Pie Chart use! @OffTheChartsC
I built out a totally fictitious pie franchise based in Central/Western Canada. The dataset is an aggregation of sales and profits for the last 12 months. My Pie franchise keeps things simple. We sell the five best flavours of Pie: Cherry, Lemon (meringue), Pumpkin, Blueberry and Apple. Sales are sporadic (almost totally random, oddly) across the provinces, months and types. There's also Target sales that are tracked provincially and by flavour, so that the VP can hammer on someone if sales trail off.
View 1 - Executive Summary.
First thing we need is an overall view of which type of Pie is meeting it's Target. And by how much. To do this I made two calculated fields. One was Target minus Sales for when Sales were less Target. The other was Target minus Sales for when Sales were greater than Target. Basically creating separate fields for above and below target. Then I added target itself, put measure values on as the pie slice, and measure names as the colour. Due to the separate fields for below and above only one or the other would show, along with Target. The last little thing was ordering the measures correctly so that "Above" would trend to the right and "Below" to the left. The final result: