Say goodbye to Scrum and hello to Kanban!
Maximizing Productivity and Morale with Kanban: A Guide to Measuring Dev Team Velocity and Optimizing Workflow.
7 min read
Measuring dev team velocity is like monitoring the pulse of a marathon runner: it tells you how fast they're going and whether they're likely to finish the race on time, but it won't help you predict if they'll stop for a snack, trip on a banana peel, or decide to crawl on all fours just for fun. Yet, just like a marathon coach, project managers and stakeholders love to obsess over velocity charts, hoping to extract some deep insight into the team's productivity, efficiency, and sanity.
After all, what's more fun than watching a bunch of nerds typing furiously on their keyboards, while colourful bars and numbers dance on a screen? It's like a video game, but with fewer explosions and more coffee stains. But don't be fooled by the superficial excitement: velocity is not just a metric, it's a reflection of the team's morale, communication, skills, and culture. If the velocity is high, the team is happy and productive; if it's low, they're probably drowning in bugs, meetings, and existential questions. In other words, velocity is like the temperature of a team's soul: if it's too hot, they're burning out; if it's too cold, they're freezing in despair. So, let's dive into the wild and wacky world of measuring dev team velocity and see how it can make or break your project!
Working in Scrum always felt like being stuck in a time warp, where everything moved at a snail's pace and the world outside was changing at lightning speed. It was like trying to navigate a horse-drawn carriage on the autobahn. Sure, you could make progress, but you were constantly being overtaken by faster, more agile vehicles.
Scrum's rigid structure and time-boxed sprints felt limiting and artificial, like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It was like trying to follow a recipe for a dish you didn't even like, just because it was the "right" way to cook it.
In the end, I realized that Scrum just wasn't the right fit for me. I needed a methodology that was more flexible and adaptable, and that could keep up with the speed of change in the world. That's why I switched to Kanban, where everything flows smoothly and there's always room for innovation and improvement. Now, I feel like I'm driving a Ferrari on the autobahn, and I'm never looking back!
Choosing between Kanban and Scrum is like choosing between a leisurely stroll and a marathon. Scrum is like a marathon, with its intense sprints, constant meetings, and strict rules. It can leave you feeling exhausted and drained, wondering if it's all worth it. Kanban, on the other hand, is like a leisurely stroll, with its relaxed pace, focus on flow, and minimal meetings. It can leave you feeling refreshed and energized, ready to take on whatever challenges come your way.
So, if you're tired of the endless meetings and rigid structure of Scrum, why not take a stroll with Kanban? You'll have more time to enjoy the scenery and less time worrying about meeting the next deadline. Just don't forget to bring a water bottle and some comfy shoes!
Measuring dev team pulse in Kanban
Lead time is like a rollercoaster ride at an amusement park. It's the time it takes from the moment you get in line to the moment you actually get on the ride. Just like waiting in line for a rollercoaster, lead time can feel like an eternity, but when you finally get on the ride, it's worth the wait!
To measure lead time using JIRA, you'll need to track the time it takes for a task to move through each stage of your Kanban board, from "To Do" to "Done." JIRA has a built-in feature called "Time in Status" that allows you to track how long a task spends in each status, so you can easily calculate the total lead time for a task.
To calculate lead time using JIRA, simply add up the time a task spends in each status, including any time it spends waiting in a queue, and you'll have your lead time. With JIRA, you can easily track lead time for individual tasks, as well as for your entire Kanban board, so you can identify areas for improvement and optimize your workflow.
Cycle time is like a pizza delivery service. It's the time it takes for your pizza to go from the oven to your doorstep. Just like waiting for your pizza to arrive, cycle time can feel like an eternity, especially when you're hungry and craving a slice.
To measure cycle time using JIRA, you'll need to track the time it takes for a task to move from "In Progress" to "Done" on your Kanban board. JIRA's "Time in Status" feature can help you track this by measuring the time a task spends in each status.
To calculate cycle time using JIRA, simply subtract the time a task spent waiting in a queue from the total time it spent in progress, and you'll have your cycle time. With JIRA, you can track cycle time for individual tasks, as well as for your entire Kanban board, so you can optimize your workflow and get your tasks done faster than you can say "extra cheese, please!"
Throughput is like a conveyor belt at a sushi restaurant. It's the number of sushi plates that can be delivered to your table in a certain amount of time. Just like the conveyor belt at a sushi restaurant, throughput can be fast and efficient, or slow and inefficient, depending on how well your team is working together.
To measure throughput using JIRA, you'll need to track the number of tasks completed within a given period of time, such as a week or a month. JIRA's reporting features can help you generate reports that show you how many tasks were completed during a certain period, so you can track your team's throughput.
To optimize your team's throughput, you'll want to focus on improving your process and eliminating bottlenecks. Just like a sushi chef needs to keep the plates moving down the conveyor belt to keep customers happy, your team needs to keep tasks moving through your Kanban board to deliver value to your customers efficiently. So, if you want to improve your throughput, just remember to keep the sushi (or tasks) coming!
Work in progress limit
WIP limits are like a buffet at an all-you-can-eat restaurant. They're the number of plates you're allowed to pile up on your tray at once. Just like the buffet, if you try to take on too much at once, you're likely to end up with a stomachache (or in the case of WIP limits, a backlog that's impossible to manage).
To implement WIP limits in JIRA, you'll need to set a maximum number of tasks that can be in progress at any given time. This helps ensure that your team doesn't take on more than they can handle, and helps prevent work from piling up in your backlog.
WIP limits can be a powerful tool for optimizing your workflow, but they're only effective if you stick to them. Just like at the buffet, it can be tempting to load up your tray with as much as possible, but if you do, you're likely to end up feeling overwhelmed and overburdened. So, if you want to get the most out of your WIP limits, remember to pace yourself, and only take on what you can handle!
Cumulative flow diagram
Cumulative Flow Diagrams are like a fitness tracker for your team's productivity. They're the visual representation of how your team's work is flowing (or not flowing) through your workflow stages. Just like with fitness, if you want to improve your team's productivity, you need to keep track of your progress.
To create a Cumulative Flow Diagram in JIRA, you'll need to track the number of tasks in each workflow stage over time. This helps you identify bottlenecks and areas where your team is struggling to keep up. It's like looking at a map of your team's journey and seeing where you're getting stuck in traffic.
Cumulative Flow Diagrams can be a powerful tool for optimizing your workflow, but they're only effective if you use them consistently. Just like with fitness, if you only check your progress once a year, you're not going to see much improvement. So, if you want to stay on top of your team's productivity, make sure to check in regularly and use the data to make informed decisions!
Are you tired of feeling like your dev team is always one step behind? Do you want to improve productivity, boost morale, and get ahead of the game? Then it's time to ditch Scrum and embrace Kanban, the MVP of Agile Development. By measuring dev team velocity with metrics like lead time, cycle time, throughput, and WIP limits, and creating a Cumulative Flow Diagram to track progress, you can optimize your workflow and achieve maximum productivity. So, what are you waiting for? Say goodbye to Scrum and hello to Kanban!