How can the Flows Chart in Analytics make your team a lean, mean, Kanban machine?
Enter the Flows Chart tab in Analytics. This feature is the star of release 4.16. The Flows are essentially an advanced version of the familiar Cumulative Flow, the inaugural member of our analytics module. It shows the fluctuations over time for a particular aspect of your board or just the selected columns and swimlanes indicated in the checkboxes.
Why is this awesome? Read on.
Because it’s an extremely flexible tool for measuring the flow of card number, cycle time, block time, logged time, the size fields as well as any numeric custom field. So, if you’re tracking the cost of something, you can define where most money has been invested, where most money has been lost or for which part of your process you should budget more systematically.
As part of our philosophy of continuous improvement, we’re grooming this addition to take over the functions of its predecessor, the Cumulative Flow chart, and become a 2.0 version of a feature we’ve all been making regular use of. In Kanbanize, you’ve got the power of analytics on your side.
How do I measure throughput in my team?
Throughput is the average number of items processed per time unit. For Kanbanize, this could mean how many cards pass through a column per day, per week and so on.
The calculations are based on Little’s Law and it looks like this for throughput:
λ = W/L
λ = Throughput
W = Number of cards
L = The time for processing these cards.
Let’s look at it in practice and discuss how to read the Throughput figures.
Note: Make sure you have your cumulative flow chart displayed properly.
Meaning that you see all cards stacked over time on the chart. Deleted cards, cards moved to other boards or undisplayed columns from your flow will generate wrong throughput calculations!
Example: Throughput of the “Waiting on Customers” step/column of the process.
At point A on the Cumulative Flow Chart you see that you have:
27 cards in the Waiting on Customer Column
5 Days Time
4.8 Cards/Day Throughput
The fact that there are 27 cards in that column, at that moment is obvious. It’s good to keep that in mind when we undertake the action of actually processing them.
However, the 5 days time and the 4.8 cards/day are actually not calculated for the current moment. They are calculations based on the past to show you your throughput up UNTIL this moment.
In other words, 5 days ago (at point B in time, when the new 27 cards begun to pile up), we had: 24 cards in the column and these 24 cards sunk/flowed down into the Done column. The calculation for the Throughput then is 24/5 = 4.8 cards per day.
24 cards in the Waiting on Customer Column which all flowed down into the Done column over the course of 5 Days Time. The conclusion then is that it took the team 5 days time to complete 24 cards in the past.
The calculation for the Throughput then is 24/5 = 4.8 cards per day.
In this example, it means that at the point in time A (date), the Average throughput of tickets moving to the “waiting for the customer” step was 4.8 tickets/day.
How to configure Flows Charts in Kanbanize ?
You can define the range of time you would like the new Flows Chart to focus on for your purposes. Here is where you can decide on what basis you’ll monitor its results – daily, weekly, monthly, or annually depending on your project so the module gets the signal to aggregate the data.
You have the opportunity to generate Flows for different collected data such as number of cards, cycle time, block time, logged time and size. In addition, if you have a numeric custom field on the board (ex. cost) you can also monitor its fluctuations in Flows.
If you select to visualize the data from the time related options in the drop down (ex. block time, cycle time, logged time) you will also have the ability to show data only for working hours so that your flows don’t get skewed by nights and weekends when you are not actively working. Make sure to tick Calculate for Working Hours and define your schedule to activate it.
Select what you’d like the Flows Chart to measure. You can group the data of selected columns and swimlanes by using the checkboxes to indicate which information is to be aggregated. Use it to zero in on what is most relevant for the particular moment.
The settings of a particular Flows Chart generation will bе preserved automatically so you don’t have to configure the same search every time you enter the Flows tab in Analytics. Handy if you have a routine check!
If you want to keep the results generated using your data filters for a report, click the Download button on the bottom right of the chart.