All this discussion about pie charts lately reminded me of one of my favorite pie charts.
This comes from back in the day, when I was still working in Corporate America. Actually it was fairly early in my career, when I was just getting used to the concept of reductions in force and downsizing. We had regular meetings during which we described how we had been spending our time, and what great things we had done to avoid the upcoming layoff. During one particularly stressful week, my colleague Mike put together a pie chart which I have roughly reproduced below. Of course, the pie itself didn’t tell the whole story, you had to pay attention to the labels. The percentages did all add to 100%, but they weren’t as equal as the pie appeared.
Pie charts get a lot of grief, well-earned because of the way people misuse them. But when used in a thoughtful manner, they can be effective. This pie was effective because it relieved some of the anxiety about the upcoming staffing changes.