How to build your own radar

Once you’ve ran your radar creation exercise, you’ll want to share the output. Our “radar visualization” service generates an interactive version of your technology radar.

This service is inspired by the ThoughtWorks Technology Radar. It’s currently in beta and provides just enough functionality to serve its purpose. You can give us feedback, suggest feature improvements and get updates here.

See a demo

How to use

All you need to visualize your radar is a public Google Sheet containing your data. You enter its ID into the input field on the first page of the service and your radar will be generated. Easy!

If you have any problems, please check out our FAQs below. You can also contribute to our Github repository or host your own service.

Step by Step Guide

1. Create
Create a Google Sheet. The name of the Google Sheet will be used as the title of your radar. Enter the column headers, and put your content into each column.

Here is an example public Google Sheet and a screenshot of the editable Google Sheet.

Example setup of your Google sheet

2. Publish
Recently updated 1/12/2016

In Google sheets, go to ‘File’, choose ‘Publish to the web...’ and then click ‘Publish’.

Close the ‘Publish to the web’ dialog and copy the URL of your editable sheet from the browser. (Don’t worry, this does not share the editable version)

A URL similar to https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1waDG0_W3-yNiAaUfxcZhTKvl7AUCgXwQw8mdPjCz86U/edit will appear. In theory we are only interested in the part between ‘/d/’ and ‘/edit’ but you can use the whole URL if you want.

3. Build
Go to the build your own radar service setup page, paste your URL into the input field and click “Build my radar”

Screenshot of the start screen

Start building your radar

Interested in knowing more about tech strategy and radar building? Sign up now!

Help and FAQs

The steps to building your radar have recently been updated (1/12/2016). Please check that you’re following the new steps.

My data is not loading

Here's a list of things to check if your data is not loading into the radar visualization service.

  • Is your Google sheet published and public? In Google docs, go to ‘File’, choose ‘Publish to the web...’ and then click ‘Publish’. Close the ‘Publish to the web’ dialog and copy the URL of your editable sheet from the browser.The URL will be similar to https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1waDG0_W3-yNiAaUfxcZhTKvl7AUCgXwQw8mdPjCz86U/edit

  • Does your Google sheet have the following column headers? 'name', 'ring', 'quadrant', 'isNew' and 'description'. Check the spelling and case, they are case sensitive, and check there is no whitespace before or after.

  • Does the 'quadrant' column contain four quadrant names? There need to be exactly four quadrants. Our radar contains the quadrants 'Tools', 'Platforms', 'Techniques' and 'Languages & frameworks', but you can rename these to anything you want, as long as there are four in total.

  • Check that you have consistent spelling for the data you're using in the 'ring' and 'quadrant' columns.

The service provides some basic error handling that might help you solve the problem and you may also find further clues in the console. Please feel free to send us any feedback here. 

Is my data public?

Yes, in order for your data to appear in the visualization service, it needs to be publicly available and published via Google Sheets. Anyone who has access to or discovers the public URL will be able to view the information that you enter into your radar. ThoughtWorks will collect data on how the service is being used, the URLs generated and may access any information you enter into your radar. We may use and publish aggregated and anonymised data from all the radars created using this service if we feel that it is interesting or could benefit the wider tech community. For full terms and conditions please read our privacy policy.

I don't want to share my radar with the tech community, can I host my own radar?

Yes, the visualization service is open source (AGPL-licensed) so you can fork our repository or download a copy and host your own radar that's private. You can find the project repository here.

How will the service develop? Will you be adding more features?

It’s currently in beta and provides just enough functionality to serve its purpose. We hope that it's useful to you and the wider tech community. If it proves popular and there's enough demand, we may introduce new features and additional services. Please tell us how you're using it and send us feedback here.

Is this open source?

Yes, ThoughtWorks is passionate about open source software and this is just one of our many open source projects. You can find the project repository here.


Credits

Like many of ThoughtWorks’ best ideas, this service was inspired by work with one of our clients. Fotina Koutropoulos (PO/PM, BA), Emma Kitchener (Designer) and Fernando Freire (Developer) ran a session they called the platform agility radar and built the tool to visualize the output. Before this, both Bruno Trecenti and Brett Dargan had open sourced radar visualisation tools. We are indebted to them for their work.

Hear more about building your own radar