Kanban low dept
Process Improvement, Project Management

Borrowed Time: Kanban Flow Debt

Excessive debt slows progress and can become a huge burden. However, debt is not always bad and can be necessary to meet project goals. Nevertheless, debt must eventually be repaid. Flow debt in Kanban project management works according to the same principle. In this article, you will learn how Kanban flow debt is defined, how to measure it and how to prevent your flow debt levels from increasing in an uncontrollable manner. What is flow debt? Flow debt is when…

Types of frequency distribution
Process Improvement, Project Management

Types of Frequency Distribution

Project estimation is not a straightforward process – it’s a scientific and statistical exercise that deals with numerous interconnected variables. The value of these variables can have significant impact on your final estimate. Knowing the frequency distribution of these values enables you to make data-driven decisions. The type of frequency distribution is especially important when making predictions with the Monte Carlo simulation. In this article, we’ll explain the frequency distribution shapes that you will encounter most frequently. Normal Distribution The…

Quantifying the Uncertainty: Monte Carlo Simulation
Process Improvement, Project Management

Quantifying the Uncertainty: Monte Carlo Simulation

When making forecasts or performing risk analysis, it is impossible to escape from variability and uncertainty. Even with large amounts of past performance data at our fingertips, the future is unpredictable and unforeseen events can change the course of a project. Monte Carlo simulation does not try to eliminate risk – instead, it uses thousands or millions of permutations of random variables to calculate all possible outcomes. The probability distribution it generates is remarkably accurate, making it one of the…

Reading the Signs: Kanban Cycle Time Scatterplot Patterns
Process Improvement, Project Management

Reading the Signs: Kanban Cycle Time Scatterplot Patterns

To make your processes more efficient, first you need to identify where you are falling behind. The Kanban method uses visual methods to analyse your performance and find areas to improve. Cycle time is a key metric for quantifying how your team delivers value. Kanban cycle time scatterplot displays the cycle time for all tasks completed within a certain timeframe. Each task is represented by a dot on the chart. The height of the dot shows its cycle time. Learning…

Effective Forecasting: Estimation in Kanban
Process Improvement, Project Management

Effective Forecasting: Estimation in Kanban

When it comes to project management, the big question is always “How long will this take?”. From single work items to entire projects, making accurate delivery forecasts maintains a high level of customer trust and satisfaction. In the Agile community, there are many different opinions about how often estimation should be performed and how detailed an estimate should be. Some teams prefer not to estimate at all – time spent making estimates is time that could have been spent creating…

Keeping Things Clear: Kanban Rules
Process Improvement, Team Performance

Keeping Things Clear: Kanban Rules

In any project, work items need to be prioritised above others. Classes of Service (CoS) are a way of setting up parallel workflow streams in Kanban projects to handle tasks with different levels of priority. For Classes of Service to work correctly, however, you must set Kanban rules on how different classes should be treated. So what does this mean for you and your team in practice? Prioritisation The first step to implementing Kanban rules is to define your Classes…

Process Improvement, Project Management

Strengthen the Weakest Link: Theory of Constraints

In the same way that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, the throughput of a multi-stage process is limited by the slowest step. The Theory of Constraints states that in order to improve any system, this weakest link or constraint must be improved or eliminated, and the next priority becomes finding and eliminating the next-weakest link. The Theory of Constraints methodology has been applied in many countries, many types of company and many industries leading to…

From supermarkets to software: History of Kanban
Process Improvement, Project Management

From supermarkets to software: History of Kanban

Who could have guessed that supermarket restocking techniques could affect project management several decades into the future? New stock was ordered as previous inventory ran out, instead of regularly timed shipments from a supplier. Applying “Just-in-time” inventory system to the factory floor increased production levels, improved efficiency and removed waste. Kanban – meaning visual signal in Japanese – cards were used to clearly communicate when actions are required. From Kanban’s history in manufacturing, Kanban has spread worldwide and is used across…

Kanban CFD Patterns
Process Improvement, Project Management

Reading the Signs: Kanban CFD Patterns

To improve workflows, first you should understand how to identify problem areas. The Kanban method uses visual methods for evaluating your processes. The Kanban cumulative flow diagram is a particularly powerful tool. The CFD records the number of tasks in each process state at regular intervals, generally daily or weekly. As work progresses and the amount of data grows, the CFD plots a visual history of the project. At a glance, you can track lead times, work in progress and…

Kanban best practices
Process Improvement, Project Management

Observe, Manage, Evolve: Kanban Practices

The Kanban Method has exploded in popularity, largely because of its simplicity. Kanban is used to improve team productivity and workflow efficiency. It is designed to be flexible to the needs of your projects. There are six Kanban practices that are essential to successful implementation and form the foundation of Kanban workflows. Visualise Workflow The first and most important Kanban practice is visualisation, going back to its origins on the factory floor. The English translation of Kanban is “signboard” or “billboard” –…