Kanban is a methodology for managing workflows that emphasizes visualizing the flow of tasks, limiting work in progress, and making policies explicit.
Therefore, Kanban metrics play an important role in effectively implementing a Kanban system and continuously improving the performance of your team or organization.
In this article, we will explore important Kanban metrics, how to choose the right metrics for your team, and provide an FAQ section for your reference.
Important Kanban Metrics
Kanban metrics provide valuable insights into your team’s performance and your workflow’s effectiveness. Here are some of the most critical Kanban metrics to track:
Cycle Time and Lead Time
Cycle time is the amount of time it takes for a task to move from start to finish, while lead time is the amount of time it takes for a task to be completed from the moment it is requested. These metrics can help you understand how long it takes for tasks to be completed and identify bottlenecks in your workflow.
Throughput is the number of tasks completed within a given time period. This metric can help you understand the productivity of your team and identify trends over time.
Work in Progress (WIP)
Work in progress (WIP) is the number of tasks currently in progress. This metric can help you understand how many tasks are being worked on simultaneously and identify potential issues with multitasking.
Team performance metrics can include attendance, punctuality, and the number of tasks completed by each team member. These metrics can help you understand the performance of individual team members and identify potential issues with team dynamics.
Cumulative Flow Diagram
A cumulative flow diagram (CFD) is a visual representation of the flow of tasks through your workflow. It can help you understand the flow of tasks and identify bottlenecks or delays in your workflow.
Queues refer to the number of tasks waiting in each stage of your workflow. This metric can help you understand the flow of tasks and identify potential issues with workflow congestion.
Process bottlenecks refer to any stage of your workflow that is causing delays or preventing tasks from moving forward. Identifying process bottlenecks can help you understand where your workflow is breaking down and identify opportunities for improvement.
How to Choose the Right Kanban Metrics for Your Team
Choosing the right Kanban metrics for your team can be challenging, as different teams and organizations have other goals and needs. It’s important to remember that metrics should be chosen based on what you want to accomplish and not just because they are famous or easy to measure.
Here are a few examples of how to choose the right metrics for different types of teams:
Small start-ups（just like VUCAC team） may need more resources and focus on metrics such as cycle time, lead time, and throughput, as they can help identify bottlenecks and improve the flow of tasks. These metrics can help the team to understand the time it takes to complete a task, the time it takes from the moment it is requested, and the number of tasks completed within a given time period. By tracking these metrics, the team can optimize the workflow and achieve better results with their limited resources.
Large corporate teams may have more resources and can focus on metrics such as team performance and process bottlenecks, as they can help identify issues with team dynamics and improve workflow efficiency. These metrics can help the team understand individual team members’ performance, identify any issues with the team dynamics and optimize it. The team can optimize their workflow, improve collaboration, and achieve better results by tracking these metrics.
In manufacturing, usually most teams especially team leaders pay more attention to metrics such as throughput, work in progress (WIP), and process bottlenecks, as they can help team shareholders quickly identify workflow issues and improve overall efficiency. These metrics are used to show the number of tasks completed within a given time period, the number of tasks currently in progress, and help the team discover any bottlenecks in the workflow. Afterward, they can optimize their workflow, improve efficiency, and achieve better results by tracking these metrics.
It’s important to note that metrics should be tailored to the specific context of your team or organization, and it’s better to track a few metrics that are relevant and actionable rather than a large number of metrics that may be less useful. Additionally, it’s essential to review and analyze the metrics regularly and use the insights gained to make informed decisions and improvements.
In conclusion, choosing the right Kanban metrics for your team requires a thoughtful approach and should be tailored to the specific background. In the beginning, it’s very critical to focus on metrics that are relevant, actionable, and aligned with the team’s goals and use them to make informed decisions and improvements. And also, remember to involve everyone in your team throughout the process and make sure that you can find a balance of both leading and lagging indicators for a complete picture of the performance.
Other common FAQ
What Metric is the Most Important One in Kanban?
There is no one “most important” metric in Kanban, as it depends on the specific goals and needs of your team or organization. However, metrics such as cycle time, lead time, and throughput can provide valuable insights into the efficiency of your workflow, while team performance metrics can help you understand the capabilities of individual team members.
What Are the 3 Elements of the Kanban Framework?
The three elements of the Kanban framework are the visual board, limits on work in progress (WIP), and the use of explicit policies. The visual board allows team members to see the flow of tasks and identify bottlenecks as well as limits on WIP. That will help us make sure that only a manageable amount of work is being handled at a time. Finally, proper execution of explicit policies will ensure that tasks are moved through the workflow in a consistent and organized manner.
What Are the 6 Kanban Rules?
The six Kanban rules are as follows:
- Visualize the workflow
- Limit work in progress (WIP)
- Manage workflow
- Make policies explicit
- Implement feedback loops
- Improve collaboratively and evolve experimentally.
These rules are designed to help us manage team workflow, improve communication and collaboration, and continuously improve the whole process.
In conclusion, Kanban metrics and related frameworks are crucial tools for measuring your team’s performance and identifying areas for improvement. By understanding essential metrics such as cycle time, lead time, throughput, work in progress, team performance, cumulative flow diagram or other metrics, and choosing the right metrics for your team, you can improve the productivity and efficiency of your workflow.