By: Shuchi Singla
One of the biggest challenges leadership faces is that of predicting future expected results or even simply understanding the current state of a project. However, using Kanban allows the team to visualize their work and monitor a more predictable flow pattern of their work (though it may change/improve as the project progresses). Visual reports help the team define their progress and predict future outcomes of their efforts. Lean Kanban software tools such as Kanbanize simplify this process by providing insightful analytics in various formats and measuring varying data from the work process. Lead and Cycle Times and Cumulative Flow Diagrams allow teams to measure the project performance and help in identifying inefficiencies and bottlenecks.
The Cumulative Flow Diagram (CFD) shows how work “accumulates in the flow” with time. It shows the relative amount of work for each stage of the project over time. Large gaps and flat horizontal lines indicate impediments to flow or lack of flow, which usually occur due to ineffective work in progress limits.
In the example above, on June 30th 2015, there was only 1 item in Done, 2 items in the Backlog, 19 items in In Progress, 0 items in the Temporary Archive and 2 items in the column Breakdown (where parts of project planning happen).
This means there is some impediment in the In Progress column, which is drying up work that can go into the Done state and the impediment is creating a queue in In Progress.
By looking at the diagram above, a manager can predict that on June 30 – there are a total of 55 tasks (vertical distance) in various stages of completion mapped on the Kanban board. 19 of those are being worked on at the moment. The horizontal distance will depict how long it took to complete ( cycle time), until June 30th is 55 days, in this case.
How is the Cumulative Flow Diagram different from a Burndown chart?
Usually, when referring to CFD, people tend to ask how is this different from a Burndown or a Burnup chart. In fact, at times they get confused between the Burnup Chart and CFD.
The key difference between Burnup Charts and CFDs are:
A Burnup Chart shows progress towards the scope. Changes in scope or estimates during the cycle cause fluctuations in the scope line. At the same time, we show progress towards the goal by charting the amount of work completed to date. Ideally, the amount of completed work will rise to the scope line by the end of the cycle.
A Burndown Chart is a simple graph used to track a team’s progress and help estimate how much time is required to complete the project. The number of tasks remaining in the project is usually plotted on the y-axis, while time is plotted on the x-axis. However, the limitation of a Burndown Chart is that we can only plot the tasks that have been completed so far and not those that are works in progress (WIP). Also, it does not explain why work may have been delayed. On the other hand, in the CFD, we can plot the total backlog at the beginning of the project, work in progress and tasks that have been completed. The features are plotted on the y-axis, while time is plotted on the x-axis. CFDs are more informative visually and are, at the same time, simple to create and update.
Below is an example of a Burndown chart, which has a downward slope unlike the CFD.
Lead and Cycle Time Reports present the average amount of time it takes for a task to be processed from the specific start to the finish point. Depending on the economic value you choose to measure, both cycle time and lead time can be applied directly to your team. For example, if you want to improve the delivery capabilities of your software development team, your cycle time measurement can track the time it takes for a work item to go from the commitment point to deployment.
These can be used to analyze the time required to traverse work items across the Kanban board and to make improvements in the project performance.
Throughput is the average number of task units processed per time unit. In a Kanban system, examples can include “cards per day” or “story points per iteration”.Throughput is an important metric to track in order to know what impacts your economic system. Think about how an understanding of the average units processed per time period impacts business decisions and measure it accordingly.
Whichever reporting pattern we choose to make use of, at the end, the goal is more about creating economic value than it is about having the fastest cycle time or highest throughput. Maintaining a steady flow of work through your Kanban system can help you deliver value more quickly and reliably.
Kanban analytics, similar to those in the Kanbanize analytics module, help you plan and organize work by allowing you to track your Cycle Time and lead time.
You can use metrics to improve your process efficiency by making project performance visible, identifying bottlenecks early and solving problems as they occur.
Lean Kanban, Inc, operator of Lean Kanban University (LKU) certified Kanban training programs and the global Lean Kanban conference series, has formed a strategic alliance with Digité, the creator of the SwiftKanban software management tool.
As part of the agreement, Lean Kanban will distribute SwiftKanban software through its global channel of licensed training organizations and its certified Lean Kanban University training programs. SwiftKanban software will be integrated into Lean Kanban certified training. “SwiftKanban is the only established Kanban software product that supports the metrics and techniques we teach in our training classes. It’s the logical choice for our customers to implement what they learn in class,” stated Janice Linden-Reed, CEO of Lean Kanban, Inc. “SwiftKanban was developed in consultation with David J Anderson, Chairman of Lean Kanban Inc, and the pioneer of Kanban in professional services. Digité is dedicated to the Kanban community and providing the features to deliver significant improvements to our customers’ business effectiveness.”
In turn, Digité will develop the SwiftKanban ESP edition to fully support Enterprise Services Planning (ESP). Enterprise Services Planning is David J. Anderson’s new management framework designed for modern high technology intensive, professional, creative, and knowledge worker service businesses. ESP is the natural evolution from MRP & ERP developed and applied to modern 21st Century. ESP leverages Kanban and a service-oriented approach to organizational design to improve predictability and delivery times in professional services businesses. ESP enables an entire enterprise to coordinate strategy, customer demand, and expectations with delivery, improving the ability to shift direction rapidly based on market conditions and internal corporate factors.
SwiftKanban ESP edition will specifically support elements of the Kanban Method such as the 7 Cadences meetings. Users will find direct support for Kanban Replenishment, Delivery Planning Meetings, Risk Reviews, Service Delivery Reviews, Operations Reviews, and Strategy Reviews. “Enterprise Services Planning is a natural extension to Digité’s products and solutions that cover Lean/ Agile Project Portfolio Management, Resource Demand and Capacity Management and Application Lifecycle Management”, said Digité President & CEO, Mr. AV Sridhar. “We see the ESP capability, combined with SwiftKanban, as a leading-edge, comprehensive solution for organizations interested in scaling Lean and Agile at the enterprise level, and improving their overall services delivery capability in a cohesive manner.”
Lean Kanban will provide a free trial version of the SwiftKanban software to all the students who take LKU certified Kanban training classes. Over 5000 students have taken Lean Kanban training classes from the network of authorized LKU providers worldwide.
As another part of the new alliance, Digité will offer a catalog of Lean Kanban Services for consulting and training. This will expand Digité’s offering to include training programs.
“We’ve come to respect Digité’s focus on customer support and product innovation through working with them in collaborations such as their Kanban webinar series,” said David J Anderson, Chairman of Lean Kanban, Inc and creator of the Kanban Method. “This new alliance is an opportunity to join forces more closely and provide stronger support for the businesses adopting Kanban and Enterprise Services Planning around the world.”
Lean Kanban, Inc. and Digité will be unveiling SwiftKanban ESP and running demos for attendees of the Lean Kanban conferences and the Enterprise Services Planning Executive Summit events.
leankanban.com/esp/ for more information about the Enterprise Services Planning management system.
swiftkanban.com/enterprise-services-planning-with-kanban/ for more information about SwiftKanban ESP software.
About Lean Kanban, Inc.
Lean Kanban, Inc. is a management training, event planning, and publishing business operating globally through its network of licensed partners and franchisees. It offers a suite of management training classes through its network of accredited trainers under the Lean Kanban University brand, together with a collection of professional credential programs for Kanban coaches, trainers, managers and team members. Lean Kanban Conferences hosts and licenses a wide range of Kanban events and Leadership Retreats throughout the world. The CEO of Lean Kanban, Inc. is David J Anderson, author of the widely known book “Kanban – Successful Evolutionary Change for your Technology Business,” and the originator of the Kanban Method. Lean Kanban, Inc. is based in Seattle, Washington.
Digité is a leading provider of collaborative enterprise software and solutions for Lean/ Agile Application Lifecycle Management and Visual Project Management. Digité’s products SwiftALM, SwiftKanban and SwiftSync are targeted towards technology organizations – such as Corporate IT, ISVs, IT services/Outsourcing and IT-Consulting companies, as well as general business functions like Marketing, Recruitment, HR, Procurement, Legal and many others. Available on SaaS and on-premise licenses, these products provide the most comprehensive solutions Collaborative Services Delivery in the Global Delivery Model. Digité is based in Cupertino, California, and has offices in the US and India.
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