Billable Hours by Project

Tracking Project Backlog in a 100% Stacked Bar Chart

How much work do I have in the backlog?  Is it concentrated in a few large projects or divided among too many smaller ones?  In a professional services firm, the billable hours in projects that are approved by the client and not yet completed are the backlog.  The 100% stacked bar chart below is part of the weekly dashboard and used to display current backlog:

Billable Hours by ProjectThe largest projects are enumerated in the first bar.  You can see that the two biggest account for over 60% of the backlog.  There are five projects with backlogs of around 200 hours.  I use the second bar to break out the smaller projects.  You can see that there are 10 smaller projects with under 80 hours of backlog.  These could be larger projects wrapping up or smaller one-off projects.

The backlog chart also provides a good check on actual backlog.  Project managers can identify proejcts with backlogs that are too small for the work that needs to be done.  They can also identify ones that will be completed under budget, in which case the estimated backlog will never be executed.

In sum, this is a good chart to give you a high level sense of the projects to be completed.  You might want to use this information to determine when it makes sense to hire new staff (or layoff underutilized staff).  At a project level, it makes the pieces of the backlog visible, which provides a good check on its true size.

The backlog chart is part of the weekly professional services dashboard, which is up on SlideShare and can be viewed below:

I hope you found the dashboard and its explanation helpful. Let me know if you think I should add some charts or measures.