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Our 15 Favorite Management Charts (With Examples)

A good chart captures the essence of a metric. We’re laying out our 15 favorite charts in this article.

Andy, Senior Product Manager, leverages his 7+ years of performance management experience to ensure that ClearPoint customers have the features they need in ClearPoint's strategic planning software.

Whether you’re responsible for charting data at your company or you just need to capture the essence of one particular measure, using the right performance management chart is key to getting your message across accurately.

But when you get in a routine, it can be easy to stick with what you know instead of trying something new. We’re here to help with that!

Looking to create a strategy reporting policy? Use our proven guide as your road map!

Below, we’ve outlined fifteen different types of charts you might want to consider using for data analysis, broken down into three categories: basic target vs. actual charts, management charts that accentuate the status of a measure, and management charts that highlight calculations you’ve run on your data. Take a look!

Our 15 Favorite Management Charts

Target Vs. Actual Charts

1. Line & Bar Chart

Favorite Management Charts - Line and Bar

If your charts are often overly complex and people tend to have issues understanding what they’re looking at, return to a simple line and bar chart. It will simplify your data and is easily consumed by audiences.

2. Branded Chart

Favorite Management Charts - Branded Chart

A branded management chart doesn’t refer to the layout but rather to the design. Using your organization’s colors or logo in a chart may seem inconsequential, but if you’re in higher education, for example, using school colors can really make a real visual difference in your charting.

3. Waterfall Chart

Favorite Management Charts - Waterfall

If you want a simple chart that seems more original, try the waterfall chart. It’s not very popular in the charting world, but it is a clear and visual way to compare values across time periods. In this example, the difference in value from Q1 to Q2 is evident at first glance, but users can also easily see your year-to-date (YTD) total.

4. Trendline Chart

If your actual-vs-target chart needs more information to tell the whole story, add a trendline in the visual. This lets your team understand how they’re progressing throughout the year. It helps your team see how close they are to meeting target and how their work each month is getting you there!

5. Year-Over-Year Chart

Sometimes, there isn’t a clear target other than to do better than the year before. If that’s the case, charting several years of data in one graphic is helpful. It allows you to compare how you’re trending compared to years prior. This is another great way to visualize growth and project where you should be in the future.

Status Charts

6. Status Gauge

All the charts thus far have been very simple so data can be quickly consumed. But if you want a chart that is both simple and highlights the status of a datapoint, a status gauge is a good option. It helps users to quickly see how a department or a specific metric is performing against a target. This chart is great for dashboards for your team to see performance at-a-glance!

7. Evaluation Over Time

Favorite Management Charts - Evaluation over time

Sometimes you need to examine the status of a measure over a period of time; one way to represent that is in a management chart like this one. This chart is helpful because your series evaluation criteria serves as the backdrop (e.g. the green, yellow, and red bars) and your actual runs as a line in front of that backdrop so you can see how performance fluctuates over time.

8. Target & Threshold Chart

Favorite Management Charts - Target and Threshold

Another awesome performance metric chart is the target and threshold chart. Measures often have upper and lower targets as well as boundary limits. If this is true for the metric you’re charting, this chart allows you to visualize where your actual is in comparison with these parameters.

9. Project Status Pie Chart

Favorite Management Charts - Project Status Pie

We often think of management charts as being specific to measure or metric data—but this project status pie chart helps monitor a variety of initiatives as they relate to the overall strategic plan. For example, if you have 100 initiatives and they all each have their own status, this pie chart shows you how you’re doing collectively in the project world at a particular point in time.

10. Bar Status Chart

The bar status chart is not used often but does provide a compelling image on how close you might be to meeting a target. This chart allows you to visually see how far your metric is from the goal. This makes it easy for your team to understand how much effort is still needed to achieve their goals, such as meeting a fundraising goal.

11. Radar Chart

If you’re looking to compare groups of data together, a radar chart is your strongest ally. Radar charts allow your team to make comparisons quickly and easily understand how different groups of data compare to each other. In this example, we’re comparing profitability between the 3 divisions within Upward Airlines. We pulled in data from the past 2 years to see how each division is helping the company grow.

Background Calculation Charts

12. Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Survey Data Chart

Favorite Management Charts - NPS or Survey Data

Virtually all organizations take customer feedback (in some shape or form) into consideration. If you’re collecting customer survey data for something like a Net Promoter Score, this is easy to chart. For example, a municipality might calculate an NPS for all the services it offers. This chart can be published to their website to demonstrate to citizens that they care about this metric.

13. Projected Budget Variance

Favorite Management Charts - Projected Budget Variance

The projected budget variance chart is a great example of how you can generate both powerful and useful insights from raw data. To create this management chart (which helps with financial forecasting), chart your historical spending patterns based on your current performance, and where you anticipate you’ll sit based on your budget for the year. When you’re done, you’ll be able to better plan future spending for the rest of the year.

14. Rolling Average Sales

Favorite Management Charts - Rolling Average Sales

If you’re trying to track subscriptions or members over time and want to view that data as a rolling average, it’s helpful to chart it over several years. That way, you can see how you’re trending in addition to your current period values. This is another great way to show where you anticipate being in the future.

15. Survey Satisfaction with Benchmarks

If your customer feedback needs to be compared to other industries, this chart is the one you need. When collecting customer feedback on satisfaction with your services, for example, you can publish this chart to show how your organization compares to other industries. It’s a great chart to highlight your dedication to excellence and show your customers you care.

It may take a few tries to figure out which performance management chart is right for each situation!

Luckily, software applications like ClearPoint come with a variety of default charts and customization options so you can make the perfect management chart for your organization.

Questions about any of these charts? We’d love to help—just give us a shout.

Our 15 Favorite Management Charts (With Examples)