The team at Matera had already found a lot of success using the Kanban method. But they needed a way to improve their metrics even further – and that’s what led them to onboarding Nave.

When the Central Bank of Brazil launched its instant payment scheme in November 2020, software company Matera had seen its backlog size double.

The new payment system proved popular with the Brazilian public, causing the need for Matera solutions to soar.

To cope with the increased demand, Matera teams started tracking and improving their workflow metrics with Nave. The results since have been nothing short of staggering.

Why Kanban, Why Nave?

”We chose Kanban because we needed to maintain the quality of our delivery while meeting increasingly tight deadlines,” Reinaldo Simizu, Agile Coach at Metera, said.

”At first, we manually tracked metrics such as cycle time and throughput using Trello boards and Excel spreadsheets. This worked for a while but once the whole company started using Jira we felt the need to up our game, and this is when we discovered Nave.”

Reinaldo tried a number of Jira plugins and between them, Nave stood out as the clear winner. ”The tool presents data in a way that gives everyone immediate insights into their performance,” he said.

”But more importantly, middle management can make data-driven decisions instead of relying on gut feeling.”

”For example, we had a developer leave the team right in the middle of a huge project. The typical behavior in this situation would be to bring another developer on board, but instead, we simply kept managing the flow and checking Nave, only to find out that we were having almost the same delivery cadence.”

Seeing that there is next to no impact on their workflow, Reinaldo and his team decided to leave things as they were. They could’ve relied on their instincts and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a hire that wasn’t actually required.

Gaining a 4x Reduction in Lead Times

”That same team was delivering working items at a lead time of 77 days,” Reinaldo said.

”After five months of tracking and improving the metrics, the team was able to decrease that lead time to 19 days — which is a 4x reduction.

‘Also, when we look at our Cycle Time Scatterplot, it’s very clear to see work items get closer to the bottom over time. In other words, we can see our delivery times shrink. These improvements are happening simply because we’re limiting WIP and surfacing bottlenecks, which is much easier to do with Nave.”

Other Matera teams report similar results. When the team works in a pull system and respects their capacity, tasks across the stream have shorter lead times.

Highlighting Urgent Items and Scaling Positive Change

Matera teams use Nave in their Kanban meetings to stay on top of incoming requests and identify areas for improvement.

”One of the key charts we use across all our meetings is the Aging Chart,” Reinaldo said. ”It helps when you want to check for work items that could become a risk in terms of delivery.”

”Another must-have for us is the Cycle Time Breakdown chart, which we use to analyze what process states are compromising the flow. We usually start by looking at where the work is getting stuck but it’s equally important to look at the fastest process states to see what’s working and replicate the results.”

The Data You Need to Evaluate and Improve Team Performance

Matera has been able to achieve great things with Nave. Here’s a summary of their journey:

  • Matera teams used to track their workflow metrics manually
  • After adding Nave to Jira, they gained immediate insights into their performance
  • Teams across Matera were able to shrink their lead times, with the product team netting a 4x reduction in theirs
  • Matera uses Nave on a daily basis to surface work that needs the most attention and replicate what’s working well

”Plus, the tool gives us insights we need to answer pressing questions with a strong impact in the long run,” Reinaldo said. ”I would definitely recommend it to teams who are serious about their Kanban implementation.”

I hope you found Matera’s story both motivating and insightful. You can find all the tools and charts mentioned in this story here

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