Providing a stable workflow serves as a crucial factor for creating successful and efficient teams. It can help your company get to market faster and bring value to clients.
Thanks to Kanban team metrics, you know for sure when all project tasks are finished - since they provide your company with hard data regarding the reliability, productivity, and efficiency of the production process.
In this article, we analyze the best Kanban reporting metrics used to track progress and the ways you can implement them.
- How to Start with the Kanban Approach
- What are Kanban Metrics
- Good and Bad Metrics
- The Key Kanban Metrics to Track Progress
- The Other Kanban Metrics to Consider
- The bottom line
How to Start with the Kanban Approach
Before you begin to use the Agile Kanban methodology for collaborating with other team members from various departments, you must configure a digital Kanban board. After that, you must share the access with your colleagues. And finally, you can invite and assign different participants to a particular project.
With handy Kanban boards, your organization will obtain some critical advantages:
- The progress on projects will be visually represented
- An opportunity for creating and assigning subtasks within a project
- Your team will have a place to discuss projects, solve problems and brainstorm
Online Kanban boards are becoming popular among project managers who deal with multiple projects, especially large-scale ones. These boards bring valuable data about these projects to PMs, not just a simple visual workflow that contains assignment cards. That is where the best metrics for Kanban logically come in handy. They are crucial for measuring team performance and process efficiency and providing company executives with quick visibility to make immediate assessments and relevant decisions.
What are Kanban Metrics?
If you think about investing in the efficient Kanban board software, you should choose the one that can provide Kanban metrics tracking and Kanban reporting. Fortunately, the majority of Kanban tools applied for enterprise-level project management involves this functionality.
At the same time, the data-driven approach to Kanban boards usage brings the scalability necessary for managing large tasks within the particular project management system.
So what are the best metrics for it Kanban that you should track for measuring progress and optimizing productivity?
Good and Bad Metrics
There can be both good and bad metrics, so you need to understand how they differ. In other words, good metrics allow for improving the system, while the imperfect ones reward or punish individual employees.
- Good metrics
- Actionable, can enhance decision-making
- Provide better results
- Represent the current state of affairs
- Improve behavior
- Bad metrics:
- Focus on the past
- Mostly provide negative results
- Used as targets
Below we will describe the good metrics for Kanban and how you can gain the best from using them.
The Key Kanban Metrics to Track Progress
Among the top three metrics on Kanban are the following:
1. Burndown Chart
The burndown chart serves as one of the critical Kanban metrics that all PMs using the Kanban approach must track. This chart represents the number of planned and completed tasks within a relevant Kanban board.
Besides, that allows predicting future performance since the burndown chart indicates when you will complete all project tasks if the process continues to move at the same pace.
2. Lead and Cycle Time Chart
This crucial Kanban metric makes it possible to see the average number of days your team has worked on tasks over a certain period. Thus, the particular metric allows for looking at the whole project cycle or between two specific points of time within the lifecycle.
Thanks to the Lead and Cycle time chart, you can gain a better understanding of the following information:
- Define when projects are completed successfully
- Identify bottlenecks
- Evaluate the speed of project completion
But how to calculate cycle time in Kanban?
The answer is quite simple. You should apply a cumulative flow diagram (CFD) for measuring both Lead time and Cycle time. The CFD diagram is among the most advanced data sources to optimize your workflow. Ultimately, it shows the average Cycle time and Lead time with the number of tasks in progress items.
3. Cumulative Flow Chart
The cumulative flow chart represents an aggregated view regarding your project cards. Such cards are divided into three main categories: Planned, Working on, Done. This Kanban metric can be helpful to assess the project’s overall success since it provides project managers with visualization of:
- The number of completed tasks
- The assignments the team members are working on
- The tasks that need to be started
Apart from assessing performance, the particular metric can also come in handy for PMs dealing with informed decision-making. The cumulative flow chart is perfect for delegating tasks on complex projects that involve multiple departments. That allows seeing which teams are more efficient at completing specific tasks.
The Other Kanban Metrics to Consider
Apart from the three most popular metrics Kanban, you can use the other ones for measuring team productivity and process efficiency:
The throughput metric calculates the total amount of work your inhouse or remote team has delivered during some period. This metric only calculates completed work items, so the items in progress cannot be counted.
As the already mentioned three Kanban metrics, throughput also serves as a crucial metric since you can apply it for measuring the capacity to deliver good results. For instance, you can use a throughput histogram for tracking team performance. That helps you determine the frequency of achieving a relevant throughput by your team to see how its productivity may change. Ideally, the results will be the same or even increase.
How to calculate throughput in Kanban?
If you want to know the average throughput per day or calculate what percentage of all days provided a particular throughput, you need to use a throughput histogram. This tool brings a better understanding of the team’s capacity.
5. Work in Progress
Limiting work in progress (WIP limits) is among other essential elements in the Kanban approach. Its central purpose is to enhance team productivity. Thus, you must choose whether you pay attention between multiple tasks or concentrate on completing only one assignment.
So what is the ideal WIP limit you need to apply for your team? The answer will rely on several factors like team size. Therefore, you should try to provide limits considering the number of team members, which will allow all employees to focus on one assignment at a time.
Queues (the cost of waiting) can appear in the workflow when the tasks await further action. Thus, a queue stage is considered as “waiting for review.”
Queues provoked accumulating a big part of the tasks’ cycle time since the work items are interrelated and rely on software development team members. In this case, it is essential to monitor queues and analyze how they can impact team performance. Do not forget that the longer time spent in waiting means higher costs.
To analyze queues appropriately, you need to apply the Heat Map. That allows seeing the amount of time your tasks have in all stages of the workflow. So you can calculate the total number of time items in queues that exist in previously defined time frames.
Process bottlenecks serve as the factors that contribute to your performance suffering. They show that your team has no resource capacity to perform the assigned tasks on time.
Therefore, you should try to spot bottlenecks in the case of their occurrence and pay attention to both the increase in cycle times and the decrease in throughput. After identifying one, try to understand the reason why that could occur. Taking immediate action will allow eliminating bottlenecks before they transform into problems.
8. Time Tracking
Time tracking provides valuable insights regarding the time usage of all team members separately or the entire team. The particular metric contains the information on the amount of time spent on each task by your team. You can generate the relevant report that will involve all your Kanban boards and obtain a detailed view.
The bottom line
Ultimately, Kanban metrics serve as valuable assets for all Kanban teams. But your main goal is to focus on the good metrics for improving your processes and increasing team productivity. Thanks to these metrics, your teams can remove negative obstacles and show maximum effectiveness.
Are you considering implementing the Kanban approach for your projects? Contact Cprime Studios to discuss your project details. Cooperating with our company, you can find experienced developers to extend your team or hire the whole team for your projects at once.
Our experience is proven by our vast portfolio. Create the project of your dreams with Cprime Studios!