Types of frequency distribution
Process Improvement, Project Management

Types of Frequency Distribution

Project forecasting 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 prediction. 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…

Stay on Track: Service Level Agreements
Project Management

Stay on Track: Service Level Agreements

Service level agreements (SLAs) precisely define the responsibilities of a service provider to their customers. They can range from formal binding contracts to informal agreements. Depending on the service or industry involved, SLAs can cover service quality, availability/uptime, helpdesk hours, emergency responses, delivery times and more. Comparing service levels over time to the agreement is a good way to track performance. Service level agreements are an efficient mechanism to keep misunderstandings, inconsistencies and disappointments at a minimum. Service Level Agreements…

Process Improvement, Project Management

Manage Bottlenecks in Kanban: the 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 has been applied in many countries, many types of company and many industries leading to rapid…

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 flow efficiency. It is designed to be flexible to the needs of your projects. There are six Kanban practices that are essential to successful implementation. Visualize Workflow The first Kanban practice is visualization, going back to its origins on the factory floor. The English translation of Kanban is “signboard” or “billboard” – at first, this was a visual signal in the form…

Kanban workflow
Process Improvement, Project Management

Improving Processes: Kanban Workflow

The Kanban Method focuses on making iterative, incremental changes to work processes to increase efficiency and productivity. How can you translate your project processes into Kanban workflows and make them more efficient? What is a Kanban Workflow? A Kanban workflow is made up of the step-by-step process states between starting and delivering a task. The simplest workflow could have just three process states – To Do, Doing and Done. Tasks move sequentially from the first state to the last. In reality,…