Enhanced Reporting with Custom Charts for Jira and Confluence

TribusIT is an official partner of Old Streets Solutions, and Custom Charts is our go-to application for MI and Reporting.

This solution is available for both Jira and Confluence via the Atlassian marketplace (Custom Charts for Jira – Reports” and Custom Jira Charts Confluence – Reports”).

This article explains some of the reasons why this reporting solution works for us.

The Problem

Customers often ask us to deliver things that should be simple but aren’t possible when using the built-in Jira or Confluence reporting tools.

Changing the formatting for charts improves the overall look and feel of your Jira dashboards and Confluence pages significantly.

Generally, most people would expect functionality to change the formatting and produce charts equivalent to those they can in Ms-Excel.

However, some things aren’t possible without the use of plug-ins – such as;

  • Changing report to a different chart type.
  • Having one or two-dimensional primary source data plotted against another third dimension.
  • Adding customised chart titles.
  • Changing the chart colours (bars, lines, sectors).
  • Re-ordering the data items within the charts.
  • Sorting of the data (high-low, A-Z, custom, etc).
  • Renaming of data series (i.e. data points).
  • Changing the wording of axes items.
  • Hiding particular or irrelevant data.

Customers often want to have a standardised dashboard view with the same charts being used against different sets of data (i.e. different filters).

This is possible by duplicating dashboards into multiple cloned versions, with each using their own JQL-searches, but this route can require high effort to set up, and maintenance can be a pain.

Therefore, various chart tools have evolved, allowing for filterable results to be used to “slice and dice” the source data and show results on the same charts.

This real-time filtering of reports can also be dynamic and amended by end-users to meet their own requirements.

The Solution

Custom Charts adds its own additional chart gadgets into your setup – so you can pick and create additional charts within your Jira dashboards and/or Confluence pages.

The primary Custom Charts for Jira gadget allows you to insert and pick the type of chart that is best suited for your report (pie, bar, line, table, etc.), and the corresponding controls for each chart are shown by editing the setup of the gadget as required.

A simple visual picker is used to change the chart type – and best of all, if needed, you can edit the chart type and switch the chart with the existing data set rather than needing to add from scratch. 

The following chart types are available (as shown):

  • Pie Chart
  • 1D Bar Chart
  • 2D Grouped Bar Chart
  • 2D Stacked Bar Chart
  • 1D Line Chart
  • 2D Line Chart
  • Funnel Chart
  • 1D Table Chart
  • 2D Table Chart
  • Tile Chart

Once a chart is selected – you will first need to link it together with your desired source data to populate the chart.

The main options for linked source data are by:

Projects, Save filters, Advanced (JQL)

or Simple Search Macro (which will be covered in the next section below).

Pick the desired option from the Source dropdown selector, and the box on its right will change to allow you to select the desired Projects or existing Saved Filters or type your own JQL Search terms accordingly.

Depending on the selected chart type, you will choose the specific dimensions (data fields) to be used for your report.

The “Chart by” and “Group By” is the main reporting fields.  Unlike some reporting tools – all data fields, including custom fields, are available for use in the charts.

A Calculated field option is available, allowing you to pick whether the total, sum or average figure should be reported in the chart.  Again, you can use any numeric field, either standard or custom field data.

A Chart Title can also optionally be added if desired.

The next sections show how you can edit the data elements shown within the chart.

These same controls apply to both the “chart by” and “group by” options – if/when applicable to the specific chart type.

If desired, you can edit the colour for the specific data elements shown on the graph to suit – as shown above.

These can be applied dynamically to data shown and/or fixed to always be the same for the data point (via the ‘colour lock’ slider).

Standard colours are available (via dot picker), or any other custom colours can be added/assigned.

A slider switch to show/hide zero data points is also available.

If needed, you can adjust the order of the data displayed to suit – as shown in the above diagram. 

Numeric order and alphabetic order are available as standard (in either ascending or descending order).

Furthermore, you can further customise the order by manually dragging the items shown into any specific order.

You can manually change the data series values to show your own desired text labels rather than the actual data elements.

The above diagram shows that the numeric values stemming from the source data have been manually edited to show text information instead.

The option to “hide” specific elements is also available by clicking on the “eye” icon, as shown above.

As mentioned earlier, you can also edit the order and colours to suit.

Advanced Settings options are also available from the ‘cog’ icon in the chart admin panel.

These settings allow for the further customisation of the following options :

  • Number of rows displayed
  • Show total row (or not)
  • Number formatting
  • Display icons for downloading data
  • Auto-refreshing
  • Border around chart

Dynamic Filtering of Charts

As mentioned above – there’s a second gadget available called “Custom Charts – Simple Search“.  This adds another panel onto the Jira dashboard (or Confluence page), which gives the ability to add fields that you can use to filter the results of the data being displayed on the chart gadgets.

The simple search panel and the chart gadget can be linked together by picking the Simple Search Macro option as the Source for gadget data and associating it with the corresponding “Reference ID” for the panel (e.g. “78CAFS” as shown below). 

You can customise the panels to add/remove fields that appear as drop-down options in the filters.

Fields can be selected or deselected as needed. Multiple options can be selected and/or combined with values from across the other fields.

If needed, multiple search panels can be added and associated against different charts (with their own customisable data field filters).  Alternatively, one panel can be linked to multiple charts, and they’ll all be updated in sync whenever the filters are changed.

The ability to include/exclude options for text searching and/or  JQL searching is also available.

In the simple example shown above, the “Project” filter has been used to select the desired projects. The results displayed in the chart show the Total number of tickets by Status Category for each project.

Furthermore, a second additional filter has also now been applied, limiting the results to only show tickets that have been “Updated Past 90 days“.

The same chart gets updated, and the results immediately show just the results of totals based on the restricted search criteria – as shown above.

Results & Benefits

We chose Custom Charts because it’s powerful, simple and cost-effective – plus, it doesn’t require advanced BI reporting skills.

The levels of customisation options available for each chart means you can produce professional-looking charts that exceed what’s usually possible using spreadsheet tools and alike.

The ability to “slice and dice” the source data using dynamic filters means that charts can get automatically updated in real-time based on the change of the associated search filters.

You can use the same charts and data switches to include/exclude desired information (e.g. projects, teams, Epics, dates, labels, status, issues or even any other standard or custom fields to suit). 

Advanced users can even filter the results using their own customised JQL searches.

It creates great looking reports with actionable insights and empowers teams to create their own dashboards because it’s so simple to use.

Here are some further examples of the types of custom charts that we have produced – as shown below:

Further Information and Next Steps

We do really recommend Custom Charts from Old Street Solutions.

You can use this excellent reporting tool to create professional charts in Jira and Confluence.

The real-time filtering against the same source data means you can create dynamic and customisable MI reporting without extra administration overheads or investments into incorporating heavy BI tools.

As Atlassian Partners – TribusIT can help to introduce or adapt your existing Jira setups to become the best solution for MI Reporting.

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