Creating effective dashboards with Report Builder

Report Builder helps you develop flexible and effective enterprise dashboards so you can monitor your progress and understand how your team is working. It provides many ready-to-use and ready-to-copy reports for agile tracking and planning, such as reports on blocking work items, build health, and defects by priority. Or build your own reports that show exactly what you need.

Before you begin

  • To add and refine widgets on Jazz dashboards, you must have permission to edit the dashboard (personal, project, or team).
  • Report Builder reports show you information from public project areas and project areas that you belong to. To see information from project areas that you don’t belong to, ask a user with Jazz administrative privileges or a project or team lead to add you to that project area.
  • A Jazz administrator or a report manager must import the ready-to-use and ready-to-copy reports so they are available as widgets to add to your Jazz dashboards.

Consider how you'll use the dashboard

Will the dashboard focus on one IBM® Engineering Lifecycle Management application (domain) or show the work across more than one? For example, a traceability report cuts across applications, showing how requirements are implemented and tested. Do you need to drill down into lower-level data from a summary report?

When will users view the dashboard? Will you use the dashboard to discuss status in regular meetings? Or is it more for tracking progress against a plan?

How many users need to see it and will they check the dashboard at the same time? If hundreds of people need to load the dashboard roughly at the beginning of a call, you need to increase the number of cores so you have more RAM available:

  • Within one application (BIRT or widgets in an application tool)
  • In Report Builder (Jazz Reporting Service widgets)
  • In your data source, the data warehouse database or Lifecycle Query Engine(LQE)

Layer the dashboard for easy use

You can structure the dashboard to follow your usual meeting agenda. Or you can discover status in a storytelling fashion as described below.

On the first tab, put all the critical information, such as high priority work items, requirements, tests, and critical links. Create widgets that provide summary information, such as pie charts to show traceability conformance. Put your most important widgets near the top left to make sure people see them when they scan.

On subsequent tabs, drill further down into the data. You might also want tabs for each team, component area, or team member.

For all widgets, check the size of the result sets so you can have in-depth discussions. Anything that results in hundreds of items is unwieldy to review in a status call. You might need those long lists as supporting detail, but you can move them to personal dashboards or subsequent tabs.

With very large teams, to achieve best system performance, use a default dashboard tab that includes no or only a few widgets with reports.

Use visualizations to grasp the overall situation

The right visualizations can communicate information more effectively than any list of numbers.

The pie chart of unresolved vs. resolved quality certification defects communicates the scale far better than a table listing the totals or the details.
Pie chart versus table in a dashboard
Be careful about how granular you make the information. Break data into usable chunks. The chart on the left is easier to grasp.
Make the chunks in pie charts a usable size
Add numbers to draw out the significance and scale of the visualization. In the figure on the left, the numbers on the bars make for easy comparison. People will read the direction of the line graph on the right, but numbers at the high and low points would clarify the scale at a glance.
Add numbers to charts and graphs to clarify the significance

Report widgets provide fast and consistent reports

JRS widgets give you capability beyond the built-in BIRT reports that come with each Engineering Lifecycle Management application. You can report across multiple project areas. You can create a path through your data with several hops across applications, providing full traceability for what you need. When you cache a report, anyone with the same permissions can access it.

You can set conditions in Report Builder to control what people who reuse reports can change:
Choose conditions for your report