Top 3 Kanban Metrics

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Jan 04, 2024

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Introduction to Kanban Metrics 

Project management is a challenging task for all project managers. Workflow management is a constant uphill task and requires some form of support to steer the projects in the right direction and to complete the projects on time. This is made easy by the Kanban method which is used to figure out the throughput, cycle time, and Work progress. This method has eased the tasks of the project manager.

Top 3 Kanban Metrics in Common Practice 

Kanban is a method that is used for workflow management in projects. Before we go ahead we need to do one thing is to set a Kanban board online and grant access to the team members. Then allocate or assign the tasks to the team members based on the sequence, due date, work details, etc. If you are interested in learning and implementing Kanban takes the Kanban training at StarAgile institute.

Some of the advantages of the Kanban are as follows,

  • It provides workflow management solutions for any projects in the organization
  • It forms the visual representation of the tasks and progress made in the projects.
  • It becomes easy in the Kanban method to discuss tasks, assign tasks, solve problems, and collaborate and brainstorm the solutions.
  • Create, assign, and checking off the tasks in the Kanban methods to track and see progress in the projects

With the online Kanban board, the project managers can oversee large and complex projects. The solution must be measurable and so the Kanban metrics are important. 

Let us Discuss the First Agile Kanban Metric Which is the Burndown chart.

1. The burndown chart enables the project managers to see which tasks are getting completed and is a visual representation for planning the tasks. One more important benefit of the burndown chart is, it helps in the prediction of the future and you can know with the current pace when the project will get completed and as the name suggests it helps to avoid the burndown of the projects in the future. This chart is plotted with time in days on the horizontal axis and the number of days in the vertical axis. It automatically provides the future prediction based on the current trends.

The next agile kanban metric is the Lead time and cycle time chart. If you want to explore more about Kanban then take up the Kanban Certification course at StarAgile institute.

2. The lead time and cycle time chart as the name suggests is used to calculate the lead time and cycle time for the projects. The lead time is the time taken from the time order was received to the products or services delivered successfully to the customer. The cycle time is the time required for a particular task to start in work in progress state to the work done state. This chart helps calculate the average number of days required to complete the tasks over a specific period. The better understanding of the average time, lead time, and cycle time helps in the following ways,

  • Identifying when the projects are getting completed successfully and efficiently
  • To solve the bottlenecks or the blocker tasks
  • To evaluate at what pace or speed the projects are getting completed

The third metric that we are going to discuss is the Cumulative Flow chart. To learn more register for the KMP 1 certification online at StarAgile.

3. Cumulative Flow Chart or CFD is the metric to calculate the cycle time, throughput, and WIP tasks. There are three layers in the chart. 

       a. First or uppermost layer is the "To Do" list also called Backlog that indicates the tasks which are yet to commence or yet to be assigned. 

       b. The second layer is the "Work In Progress" layer which indicates the commencement of tasks and works going on the tasks. 

       c. The third layer of the bottom-most layer is the "Work Done" layer which indicates that those tasks are completed. 

For understanding the CFD there is a separate blog that you can read but for this, we will give you a brief explanation. If the layers travel from left to right with a rising curve and are parallel to each other that means the tasks assigning, tasks WIP and tasks done are stable. If the WIP layer is inflated as it rises then there is a problem and WIP is not getting converted into "Work Done" and these can be solved by having "WIP Limits". Next is if the WIP layer is deflated and instead of rising it becomes narrow which means the projects are approaching the burndown condition, again having suitable "WIP Limits" will solve this. If the work done is inflated as it travels from left to right that means the projects are getting completed with high speed so you can allocate more jobs. Again if the first layer the backlog layer travels with some vertical heights on the same day that means there is a scope change. Thus CFD can be evaluated and predict a lot of parameters.

Other than this there are few strategies to work using Kanban those are

  • Sequence and prioritize the tasks
  • Modify and optimize the processes
  • Have communication lines open between the stakeholders
  • Choose the best Kanban software that is suitable for your projects.

About cycle time scatter plot 

The cycle time scatters plot is one of the important metrics in Kanban. This chart helps you to visualize the cycle time of the tasks that are in WIP and to visualize the cycle time of a particular task within the predefined time frame.

A simple cycle time scatter plot is as shown in the diagram,

 Kanban Cycle time

The typical cycle time scatter plot is the chart drawn with the dates in the x-axis or the horizontal axis and the number of days it took to complete the task that is the cycle time of the tasks in the y-axis or the vertical axis.

The dots on the scatter plot are the tasks completed. The dot represents on which day the task was completed that is in the x-axis and how long it took in days to complete the tasks on the y-axis.

Explore how to implement and work with Kanban method and tools by enrolling in Kanban Management Professional Certification at StarAgile.

How to use it for forecasting cycle time

The typical cycle time scatter plot is as shown in the diagram,

forecasting cycle time

As shown in the diagram the dots indicate the cycle time of the task and on the y-axis is the days and the x-axis consists of the dates. Now you can visualize how many days it took for the particular tasks to get completed. 

Next is on the right-hand side you see the percentage such as 50%, 75%, 85% and 90% this horizontal line indicates that the percentage of tasks completed before given days. For example – From the diagram, you can make out that 70% of tasks were completed in 17 days. Another analogy is that there is a 70% chance that tasks get completed in 17 days.

Next is if you have similar tasks you can color it differently and visualize the difference in days of completion of similar tasks. Register for the Kanban course with StarAgile institute to know more about the tools of Kanban.

Conclusion – Advantages of using cycle time scatter plot 

The scatter plots help the project manager to visualize a few things those are as follows,

  • It helps in forecasting the future work assignments
  • It represents the cycle time of multiple tasks of a similar nature.
  • By comparing the dots of similar nature one can predict the difference of time it took for those assignments.

Finally, if you want to explore learning more on this topic we recommend that you enroll in Kanban training online course with StarAgile.

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