You are using a Kanban system, but you don`t feel like bothering your team with collecting the data of it. It looks hard and complicated and you don`t really see the point of having all those numbers? Kanban data is really one of the most valuable parts of Kanban system. Let us inspire you to collect it by explaining why.
Start collecting your data to:
1. Understand your process. Do you know how much time you need to fulfill a certain request? Or what amount of work can be delivered in a month/ half a year? Or what is your team performance? Collect your kanban data to get to know your system.
2. Make your process more efficient. Imagine you have collected a certain amount of data to analyze it. Now you know your Lead Time (the time you need to deliver the service / to fulfill the request), your Cycle Time (how much time a work item spends in a specific activity), introduced your Work In Progress Limits (or simply WIP Limits) and developed your Cumulative Flow Diagram (the distribution of tasks in each stage of the process, accumulating over time). Now you can see your bottlenecks – it points you exactly where you need to improve. Have a closer look, define why it happens, and try to resolve it. Make your process smooth, make your workflow, make your system efficient.
3. Improve your predictability. So now you know your data, you know how your system works and how much time it takes to deliver. Do you have a thin-tailed or a fat-tailed lead time distribution? If your lead
time distribution has a long tail going to infinity means you are not quite reliable in your process. This means that your minimum and maximum lead time has a huge difference and hence, you can`t be predictable on when the request will be fulfilled. Work on trimming your tail and improving your process. Having a thin-tailed lead time distribution has its advantages.
4. Be able to forecast. You managed to optimize your processes and now you have a thin-tailed lead time? Great! Now you can start making reliable plans. Having your data, you know how your system behaves. You can make your planning decisions with more confidence, and you can forecast. Now you can work with averages, use different forecasting equations, improve your WIP limits. You don`t need to guess when something will be ready – you can use your data to know it with a high level of predictability.
5. Communicate with the client. Not only knowing your data but also using it will give you more confidence in your job. Especially when communicating with your clients. Having your data, you can define when the work may be delivered with a 90% guarantee and communicate it to the client, knowing that it will be done in time. Isn`t it amazing to have a reputation for trustworthiness and reliability among your clients?
To start learning Kanban, explore the Kanban Management Professional course. Visit Kanban.university and find your trainer.
To improve your Kanban knowledge – visit djaa.com. Sign up for advanced courses with David J Anderson, the pioneer of the Kanban Method, co-author of the “Kanban Maturity Model”.