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Kanban Metrics: Important metrics to track progress

Kanban is one of the frameworks that has greatly impacted how software development is managed. It is a continuous workflow management system that is meant to help teams work. Kanban metrics are necessary for understanding how your team is performing and where they need to improve. This is why most of the contemporary online Kanban solutions are equipped with powerful analytics modules that provide you with valuable workflow metrics. It is all about tracking metrics and trying to improve, with the expectancy of achieving quality. In order to get the right metrics, you’ll need to know where to look. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the Kanban metrics.

 Why is it important to track Kanban metrics?

To effectively monitor your progress, it is important to understand what these metrics are and what they represent. Kanban metrics are a way to measure several factors that help you manage your Kanban workflow. Without these metrics, it is difficult to know what is happening in your Kanban workflow. Kanban metrics are important to identify bottlenecks in your workflow and easily identify the areas of improvement. If you don’t measure, you won’t know if you are improving. If you are not improving, you may be doing something wrong.

What are the metrics you should be tracking?

To effectively monitor your progress, you must first understand what you should be tracking. There are many metrics that you should be tracking throughput, cycle time, lead time, and others, but the most important ones are the ones that relate to your progress. This can be anything from team velocity to new features. So, what are the metrics you should track? Well, that’s up to you. You’ll want to track the metrics that relate to your goals. If you’re trying to build a process and want to track the process’s velocity, that’s the metric you should track.

3 Important Kanban metrics to track progress

Tracking Kanban metrics is vital to the success of a Kanban project. It is important to know what the project is doing at any given time. This will help you identify any issues or problems that arise.

  • Burn Down Chart

If there is an essential metric you should be tracking while using Kanban, it’s the Burn Down Chart. Burn Down Chart gives you a visual representation of the number of tasks planned and the number of tasks completed within the Kanban Board. The Burn Down Chart also helps you with predicting future performance by indicating when the project will be finished based on the current performance of the team.

  • Lead and Cycle time Chart

This Kanban Metric helps with seeing the number of days any task takes during a time period.

This lead and cycle time chart is helpful for understanding:

  • Project Efficiency
  • Project Bottlenecks
  • The Speed of completing a project
  • Cumulative Flow Chart

The cumulative flow chart shows an aggregated view of your project cards, which are arranged in the three categories: Planned, In Progress, and done. This is useful for evaluating the overall success of a project by giving a visual representation of:

  • Number of completed Assignments
  • The tasks that the team is currently working on
  • Tasks that are yet to be started

Along with measuring performance, the cumulative flow chart is also useful for helping leaders make informed decisions when delegating tasks, especially when working with multiple departments. By looking at the rate at which assignments are being completed, they can see which teams are more effective at performing specific tasks.

What other metrics should you focus on?

  • Throughput

Throughput measures the total amount of work completed in a certain time period, Throughput doesn’t count the work which is still in progress,  It only counts the completed work items, and It will help you to realize how frequently your team achieves a throughput over a period of time. Therefore, throughput metrics help to see how your team’s overall performance is transforming. Ideally, it should stay the same or increase.

To calculate Throughput, the Throughput histogram will be helpful. It will allow you to visualize how consistently your team is delivering results.

  • Work In Progress

Another Metric of Kanban is limiting how much work is in progress (WIP) to increase overall team efficiency. You have to choose whether you want to focus your attention on one task or many tasks. The ideal WIP limit for your team  depends on some factors, for example, the size of your team.

  • Team Performance

Team performance can be measured by Cycle Time and Throughput.

Little’s Law connects cycle time, throughput, and WIP limit.

Cycle Time=WIP/Throughput

It demonstrates the relationship between these metrics, claiming that changing one will affect the other two.

  • Queues

Queues may accumulate a major part of the cycle time. It can happen because work items are interrelated and rely on different people in the team. Therefore, it is crucial to observe queues and understand how they may affect your performance. What you can do is to limit the number of items in queues and try to move them quickly.

  • Bottlenecks     

Bottlenecks impact your team performance. They signal that there is no resource capacity in the team to handle the amount of work assigned to them. Try to spot bottlenecks as they occur. Pay attention to increasing cycle times and decreasing throughput. When you find a bottleneck, take action as quickly as possible to eliminate bottlenecks before they become an issue.

  • Time Tracking

This metric will provide you with the time usage of an individual team member or the entire team. Time tracking informs you on how much time the team has spent on each task. You can generate this report for all your Kanban boards. It will offer a summary and a detailed view.

What are the benefits of tracking your metrics?

Tracking your metrics is essential for every business. It allows you to determine progress and better understand how your business is performing. It also helps you figure out how to improve it. Without metrics, you cannot accurately measure how well you are doing. Some of the benefits of tracking metrics are easy visualizations of your work, the ability to track trends, and the ability to share your progress with others. The most important metric is your throughput. It tells you how well your team is doing. It lets you know how many items are being completed. It also tells you how quickly they are being completed. It is important to track this metric to see if there is any bottleneck in your system. Without the throughput metric, you cannot accurately determine what is causing your bottleneck.

How to make Kanban metrics more predictive?

Kanban metrics will help you to track the progress of a Kanban project. Kanban metrics are based on the number of cards you’ve completed. For example, your metrics could be one card per day or one card per hour. These metrics are often updated daily, or weekly. However, they are not very predictive and could fluctuate depending on how many cards you complete. To make metrics more predictive, you need to put metrics in context. No metric has more predictive power than velocity. If you can get your velocity up, you will decrease the amount of fluctuation in your metrics. The velocity is updated every time you complete one card, so the more cards you complete, the higher the velocity. Velocity is one of the most important metrics to track.

We hope you enjoyed our blog about Kanban metrics. Kanban is an organizational system that helps you pull tasks into smaller, more manageable groups to reduce the amount of work in your day. Kanban also provides an easy-to-use board to provide visual cues of your progress and provide a structure for your team. Kanban is also a helpful tool for your team members to stay focused and engaged on their tasks.

We are sure our blog provides valuable information to help you get started with Kanban metrics. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us. Thank you for reading, we would love to hear from you!

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