Building an item status and progress tracking dashboard in Tableau

In this course we show you how you can build a dashboard in Tableau that shows how many items were in a given status every day, week or month as well as how quickly items are progressing through given stages. This type of dashboard can be used in a variety of situations including measuring customer issues, support cases, item completion, order fulfilment, manufacturing and software development in an agile environment

Course Type:
Dashboard Design
July 2022
Alan Murray
Course Length:
2h 15m


  • Using date scaffolding techniques to get the status of an item at a given point in time
  • When and why you need to use date scaffolding
  • How to create a tile design dashboard in Tableau
  • Effective use of icons and imagery in your dashboards
  • How to review and understand a data structure
  • How to use relationship calculations in data joins
  • How to use Level of Detail calculations and aggregations to find the first time an item moved into a status
  • How and why to add comments to your calculated fields
  • How to use flags to dynamically filter out data
  • How to calculate a week to week trend
  • How to use a pre-formatted dashboard and worksheet template file
  • Building sparkline charts to illustrate trends
  • Using custom colours and shades and a consistent colour palette
  • Setting custom date formats in your charts
  • Creating a Viz in Tooltip to show underlying trends
  • Using calculations to create data groupings/bandings/bins manually


If you've ever worked with data that moves through different stages or status' you'll know how difficult it can be to track how many items were in a given status at a given time so in this course we introduce you to a date scaffolding technique that enables you to use Tableau to automatically calculate this for any given time interval (days, weeks, months etc.) and build effective charts and dashboards that track the progress of items through individual stages.

In the example project we walk you through in this course we're looking at providing insight on a backlog of software development items that go from being create, to being picked up and finally to being completed however this technique can be used across a wide variety of use cases including:

  • Customer orders that go through various fulfilment stages
  • Sales opportunities or deals that go through a number of sales pipeline stages
  • Customer support issues that go through different teams and status'

As well as taking you through how to work these out we also take you through creating sparkline charts that illustrate the trend and change from week to week to give you a greater insight into your numbers.

We also look at using date functions to track how long items are taking to go through each stage to help identify any blockers or issues that are preventing you from completing deals, fulfilling orders, resolving customer issues or delivering requests on time.

The course also shows you how effective Viz in Tooltip charts cab be in creating at a glance views that give users a deeper insight into the trends and reasons behind some of your numbers without having to filter or click away to another dashboard or report.

Finally, we introduce you to our tiled dashboard layout and show you how to create rounded rectangle tiles and utilise icons, imagery and pre-built templates to create an eye catching and visually pleasing dashbaord for your users.



The images below show what you'll build in this project, click any of the images for a closer look.

View the finished solution on Tableau Public


1. Project introduction and brief - 5:00

  • Overview of the project
  • The brief from your stakeholders
  • Intro to the project requirements
  • Overview of the data used
  • Accessing the template files and background images and icons
  • Demo of the solution you'll be building

2. Creating a date scaffold and connecting to your data - 15:00

  • Reviewing the project data
  • Exploring and understanding the data structure
  • Why we can't get the info we need from the data alone and why we need to use a date scaffolding technique
  • Creating and using a date scaffold file
  • Joining your data to the date scaffold file
  • Using relationship calculations in data joins
  • Reviewing the data created from your date scaffold and your data

3. Creating a headline chart for the number of items currently in our first status - 20:00

  • Calculating the date each item first moved into each of our status'
  • Creating flags to see if items moved into a status within a given date range
  • Using the flags to filter out the data that isn't relevant for each week
  • Creating a calculated field to get the current week from the data set
  • Creating fields to determine how many issues were in each status in the current week and the previous week
  • Calculating the percentage change in items in each status each week
  • Creating the headline chart to show how many items are currently in our first status and how this has changed from the previous week
  • Adding the first headline chart to our pre-formatted dashboard template

4. Building a spark line bar chart to show weekly trend for items in our first status - 12:00

  • Create a calculated field to count the individual number of items
  • Adding a filter to only count items in the status we're looking at
  • Bringing on the weeks onto our chart to show how many unique issues were in our first status each week
  • Removing unrequired information to create the sparkline bar chart
  • Creating a flag for the current week and using this to highlight the current week in our sparkline bar chart
  • Updating the tooltip to show the dates each week started and the number of issues
  • Setting a custom date format
  • Adding the sparkline to the pre-formatted dashboard

5. Creating the headline numbers and spark lines for the remaining status' - 12:00

  • Duplicating our first headline number to save time and effort
  • Duplicating the flag fields for our second status
  • Replacing the filter to only include items that are in the second status
  • Duplicating our first sparkline chart to save time and effort
  • Replacing the filter to only count items in our second status
  • Updating the tooltip for the second status
  • Adding the new charts to our dashboard
  • Repeating the same steps for our third status
  • Repeating the same steps for our fourth status

6. Building the days to complete (cycle time) headline charts - 12:00

  • Creating a calculation using the DATEDIFF function to work out how long it took for an item to be completed from when it was created
  • Creating a calculation to work out how long an item took to be picked up
  • Creating a calculation to work out how long it took between an item being picked up and completed
  • Adding a filter to just get the current weeks data
  • Adding a filter to just include items that reached completed status in the current week
  • Add the average time to complete to our headline chart
  • Create the days to complete area sparkline chart

7. Creating the area chart to show days to complete (cycle times) each week - 12:00

  • Filter out items that weren't completed in the current week
  • Use measure names and values to bring on the measure values we want
  • Create the average time to complete area chart
  • Add multiple measures to colour to create a stacked area chart
  • Update the formatting, number formats and colours
  • Create a bar chart showing how long each individual item took to be picked up and completed.
  • Update the tooltip to display the chart showing how long each item took to be picked up and completed when we hover over the area chart

8. Creating the backlog chart - 17:00

  • Duplicating the time to complete area chart and changing it to a line chart for our backlog tracking chart
  • Add a filter to just include items currently in the backlog (items that are yet to be picked up)
  • Formatting the colours, dates and chart options
  • Creating a waterfall chart to show the net change in items in the backlog each week
  • Creating a calculated field to show how many items were created each week
  • Creating a calculated field to show how many issues were picked up and no longer in the backlog each week
  • Creating a calculation to show the net change in number of items in the backlog each week
  • Formatting the backlog net change chart
  • Updating the tooltip to show the backlog change chart when we hover over an individual week

9. Creating the backlog wait chart - 8:00

  • Creating calculation to show how long each item has been open for
  • Create the calculation that groups/bands items by the length of time they've been in the backlog
  • Creating the bar chart that shows the number of items that are in each of the bandings
  • Set the colours for the different bandings

10. Creating the final dashboard and output - 20:00

  • Creating the basic dashboard layout and adding images and icons
  • Adding background rounded tile images
  • Adding tile icon images and positioning them within the tile
  • Adding headline charts to the tiles
  • Adding sparkline charts to the tiles
  • Setting padding for the tiles
  • How to create the rounded rectangle background images for the tiles
  • Adding the remaining items to the dashboard
  • Adding a blank item to prevent users from hovering over or clicking on headline numbers and charts
  • Demonstration of the final solution