How Lucid changed my workflow

Hi! 👋My name is Brock, and I work at Lucid. I am a Technical Project Manager and am constantly trying to track and report progress. Since learning about the data integration capabilities of Lucidchart, I’ve found that Lucid is the best place to keep track of progress. I can hear it, “But wait Brock, Lucid isn’t a dashboarding program, is it?” Wrong: it is, and it’s better than anything else you use. 

First, I want to review why Lucid is so good as a project dashboard. 

  1. The breakdown
    Often in a project, you report to various levels of management and stakeholders who care about different things. You may find yourself with multiple dashboards based on who you’re presenting to. In Lucid, with the infinite canvas, you can have all the information in one place and scale the information based on the granularity.

    Example dashboard showing high-level view of details
    High-level view
    Example dashboard showing granular view of details
    Granular view

     

  2. Collaboration
    A Lucid document is more than just a visual, it’s a canvas. In this canvas, you can collaborate with your team to keep track of questions, concerns, or ideas that may pop up while you’re discussing. No more having an agenda and minutes in docs and trying to line up where you were last week—it’s all there. On top of collaborating, moving around the canvas feels so natural instead of clicking in and out of different data visualizations.

“Alright Brock, you’ve convinced me, but surely I can’t set something like this up.” You’re right—stop reading. 

Just kidding, of course.

There is some overhead to setting up a document like this. Our team is working on simplifying this process and it’s why you’re seeing this in a blog post and not as a part of our official templates page, BUT, with a little knowledge, it quickly becomes very simple. Here is a link to Lucid Formulas where you can learn more about the formulas used to create this document. If you think this would be helpful for you or your team, reach out to me bwood@lucidchart.com, I can help you get started!

How can I make this, though?

Ok so you’ve read through this article, and you’re stoked. You can see the future where you have a dashboard as beautiful as mine and your life is simple. But how do you get there from here? If you want, we can help. Reach out to Lucid as I mentioned above, and we can help you get set up. “Brock, I need this now!” Alright, alright, for those of you who want to get into the technical details I’ll get more in the weeds so you can set something up yourself.

First off, like I mentioned above, get familiar with Lucid Formulas. These are a lot like Excel formulas but there are a whole slew of things that you haven’t heard of before because they are specific to our product. For my dashboard, I used a lot of the CONTAINED( ) and CONNECTED( ) formulas along with MAP( ) and LOOKUP( )

For the example below, I’m going to help you set up a simpler dashboard for tracking just an epic, and you can work your way up to create a whole project dashboard like I show above. What you’ll end up with will look something like this. Here is a link to that template.

Example dashboard template
Dashboard Template

 

To start setting up your dashboard, you will need to get and link some data. One of our future goals is to have this done just through Lucid, but for now, you’ll need the help of Google Sheets. Create a new sheet and use the Jira Cloud for Google Sheets extension to get data from the epic you want to track (if you haven’t used this before, here is a great article on it). The fields you’ll want to import will be “Key,” “Status,” and “Story Points” or whatever version of those your team uses. Along with those two you can add any others you care about, but this template will only use those. Now here is a disclaimer: The template I’m using assumes some things about your statusi (is that a word?). Here at Lucid we use “New,” “In Development,” “Code Review,” and “Closed” (and a few others but these are the basics). If you don’t use these specific status titles, you’ll need to update some formulas in your copy of the template. I’ll have that in an appendix at the bottom of this document.

When you get that data, make sure it’s scheduled to update daily so you’ll get automatic updates. You can name the document you’ve created anything you want, but rename your sheet from “Sheet1” to whatever your epic title is. Next, navigate to your copy of the Lucidchart template and import the data by selecting this button on the left side of the page.

Data import button on left panel of Lucidchart interface. The icon depicts the disc platters of a database, with a link icon overlaid
Data import button

Link your Google Sheet and then rename your epic tracker to the title of your epic as well (if you skipped renaming your Sheet1 to the title of your epic, this won’t work). Your epic tracker should be working! Look at you creating that! Now select a shape and navigate to its data tab in order to get a feel for the formulas I’ve used to link the data to the epic tracker!

Data tab on the right side of the Lucidchart interface.
Data tab

Again, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us (or you can reach out to me on LinkedIn, just don’t tell my boss). Hope this gets you excited about all the things that Lucid can do for you!

Appendix

Alright, you’re here because I promised you a dashboard, and you couldn’t get it set up. Here are some troubleshooting tips

  1. Your company’s status titles don’t line up
    Navigate to the data section of the main epic tracker shape (the big purple guy).

    Status titles don't line up
    Status titles don’t line up

     


    Change “New” to “[Whatever your team uses as New].” Don’t forget the quotes. Do the same thing for the In Progress data and Closed data. Now, your data should work!

  2. You see data, but you think you’re missing some
    A couple of things. 

    1. Remember that this is only tracking story points, so if you have 50 tickets but only 10 are estimated, you’re only going to see the story points that have already been assigned
    2. Make sure your In Progress data includes any additional status that you count as In Progress (such as “Code Review”, “In QA”, “Merged”)

That’s what I can think of right now, but if you have any other questions, please reach out!

1 Comment

  1. This is GOLD! I am definitely going to try and set this up for my teams.

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