Explore The Visual Power of Premium Histograms

The second article of the series dedicated to our new premium analytics introduces the Throughput and Cycle Time Histograms. Just as their names suggest, these charts aim to visually represent the productivity of your team in the past. It is measured by the number of tasks that were finished each day and how long it took for this to happen.

What are histograms?

For modern day project managers, histograms have been the preferred method for the visualization of data. The greatest benefit that comes with their use is the ability to visualize the shape of your data and to prove that it is or is not evenly distributed. With the help of histograms, you can monitor basic information about the dataset, such as the median value, the width of spread and the overall distribution of the assignments that are being displayed.

The Throughput Histogram

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Even simple charts like the histogram can be difficult to understand when you don’t know what you are looking for and how to interpret it. The vertical axis shows the number of days that had a certain throughput. The horizontal axis represents the actual throughput as a number of work items completed.  In the example above, there were 3 days in the defined time period over the course of which 2 work items were completed and 2 days over the course of which 5 work items were completed. Think of each column as a bin containing the number of days that had the same throughput. The height of the different bins depends on the number of days that fall into it as a category. For example, if the majority of days within the preselected time frame are with a throughput of zero assignments, the bin representing the value of zero will be the highest one on the chart.

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The percentiles that are placed at the top of the histogram represent the chance of the throughput below to be repeated in the future based on the current results. Hovering over each bin will display the number of days that have the throughput of “x” number of work items or cards as well as the percent of the total number of cards within that time frame that it represents.

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The smaller chart underneath the histogram is a navigator that allows you to track the throughput values throughout the time frame you have defined. Similarly to the one in the cycle time scatterplot, you can zoom in and out of different periods of time to get more precise data without having to reset the general time filter. The chart is extremely flexible, allowing you to toggle to a precise window you want to focus on both horizontally and vertically.

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To illustrate how any team (including our marketing team at Kanbanize!) can make use of this histogram, let’s take a look above at the throughput of tasks on the marketing board for the 3rd quarter of 2016. The median number of tasks that were completed in a day for the quarter is six with seven separate days corresponding to this value. On the other hand, zooming in on December shows us that the team’s median throughput was four finished cards in two of the days in the month. Moving the navigator left without making any changes will give us data of the throughput for 31 days. This way, our team can monitor how our productivity was changing throughout the quarter with just a single click without having to change the general time filter of the histogram.

The Cycle Time Histogram

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The second histogram that is part of premium analytics in Kanbanize is focused on the cycle time of your cards. The vertical axis visualizes the frequency of the cycle time that work items on the board you are investigating share. The horizontal axis represents the actual cycle time of all of the work items that were completed within the predefined time frame.

Hovering on any of the columns will provide you with information about the number of cards that share a specific cycle time (e.g. two days) and their percent of the overall number of tasks that are included in the predefined time range that the histogram is visualizing.

Once again, the supplementary chart below the histogram serves as a navigator that allows you to zoom in and out of specific sections of interest in time frames. It is in the form of a scatterplot in order to give you a better idea about the cycle times of the various cards during the selected frame in a single glance.

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The percentiles at the top of the histogram represent the total % of cards from the selected time frame that were completed within this cycle time.

One of the great things about the cycle time histogram is that it is easy to understand and simple to present to stakeholders. With the help of the filters, you can visualize precisely what you wish to examine and be very specific when monitoring, tracking and sharing it.

The Filters

The filters of the cycle time and throughput histograms are the same.

The Attributes filter allows you to include or exclude different data such as priority, assignee, card color, etc.

For example, you can visualize information concerning just a single swimlane of a particular Kanban board on your histograms. In the example below, we are visualizing data from the Content swimlane only.

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The second filter allows you to include and exclude different stages of the workflow from the chart by discounting certain columns in the data visualization. This could be extremely useful for calculating possible throughput or cycle time of your assignments up until a specific step of your process (e.g. a bottleneck) in order to see what was the speed of the flow up until this point.

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You can choose what you wish to see in more detail on the sides of the histograms as you hover over certain criteria. Checking off  “Frequency” will give you additional day indicators on the side of your vertical axis as you hover over this area.

Selecting to see the Throughput/Cycle Time (respectively for the different histograms) when you hover over the chart with your cursor will give you additional information summarized about different intersecting points in your histogram.

Percentiles

With the help of the percentile filter, you have the ability to include/exclude % values at the top of each chart, depending on which probabilities you are most interested in.

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The Overlay filter provides you with a line graph visualization of the cumulative movement (from Requested to Done) of the tasks that were completed in the defined time frame.

After filtering and visualizing the data of interest, you can export the results in a .png format to share with people outside of Kanbanize or in order to include it in a report, by selecting “Save as Image” at the bottom of the filters panel.

If you are interested in seeing more of what the histograms are capable of, don’t hesitate and contact our sales team to request a free demo.

 

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