In this article:
1. Introduction to the Aging Work in Progress (WIP) Chart
The chart is used to track the age of your "in-progress" cards.
Generally, this chart is similar to the Cycle Time Scatterplot, but it visualizes only work items that are currently being worked on (i.e. cards that are still in progress). This chart helps you to immediately recognize tasks that are taking longer than expected with the help of the percentiles.
For teams that use and discuss their flow metrics, this can be extremely useful as the topic is usually brought up during stand-up meetings and regular KPI reviews.
- The horizontal "x" axis represents the stages of the selected workflow. At the top of each column, there is a WIP indicator that shows the number of "in-progress" tasks in every stage. The calendar icon indicates the base date for which the information is displayed.
- The "y" axis visualizes how long each task has spent in the section (cycle time) i.e. the number of days a task spends in progress.
- The dots scattered over the chart represent your tasks in the respective stages against the number of days.
Use the left-side menu to configure your data. You have to select the workflow(s), duration (End Date, Start Date, or Created at), as well as other optional filters.
In addition to that, you have two more options:
- Ignore the cycle time configuration for the selected workflow(s) — if enabled, the system will disregard the cycle time settings for the selected workflow.
- Ignore the block time in the queue columns — if enabled, the system will not account for the time cards were blocked when in queue columns.
Important: To be able to compare current tasks' aging to historical items, you can use the 'Created at' or the 'Start date' operators from the left side menu when configuring your dataset for this chart.
Let's see how this chart works!
From the chart below, we may conclude that there is a 70% chance that the team can deliver a task within 2 days and an 85% chance that they can finish it in 7 days.
2. Additional Controls for This Chart
Get a clearer picture with just a single glance by changing the color of the dots that represent work items. A specially designed filter gives you the ability to distinguish between the different types of assignments based on a wide range of card attributes (card color, owner, priority, size, etc.). A good use of this filter would be to set a different color for each team member. By doing so, you can spot who is having trouble with pulling their tasks through the workflow and give you hints on where you need to place more attention.
The done percentiles have a single purpose – to tell you how your current assignments are progressing compared to the historical data included in the Aging Work In Progress chart. You can add or remove any of the percentile lines by deselecting or selecting them with your cursor.
Note: if you only have an 'End Date'='Not Finished' filter enabled for the chart, this would exclude completed items from the data set, hence the Done Percentiles controls would not be available.
To be able to compare current tasks' aging to historical items, you can use any of the other date-related filters for example 'Created at' = this month or 'Start Date' = after 01.01.2020.
The pace percentiles are here to help you measure the health of the current items that are in progress compared with past performance. They can give you an idea of how these tasks are currently progressing versus how cards have advanced through the in-progress stages of the selected workflow in the past.
The pace percentile lines are dynamic and will move up and down depending on your performance. To make the difference in pace more visible, you can use the warning colors filter. Each percentile category has a specific color.
Note: If you only have an 'End Date'='Not Finished' filter enabled for the chart, this would exclude completed items from the chart, hence the Pace Percentiles controls would not be available.
In order to be able to compare current tasks' aging to historical items, you can use any of the other date-related filters for example 'Created at' = this month or 'Start Date' = after 01.01.2020.
Make a configuration, so that the scattered dots will start blinking after the number of days that you have defined. This way you will intuitively pay attention to tasks that have spent more days in the workflow.
Use the slider control to modify the displayed data with the dates you desire. The slider allows you to navigate back and forth within the pre-selected time frame without having to adjust the general filter every time. With the basis date, you can go back and see how your chart looked in the past. For example, you can replay the last month’s data and see how many items have progressed and aged.
You can use the cursor options to display the cycle time/percentile of the current position of your mouse pointer.
Item Filter - use a variety of filters to display a smaller portion of data. You can choose to focus on the cards with various criteria like priority, owner, size, color, custom fields, etc.
Workflow Stages - You can include or exclude different stages of the workflow from the chart. This way, the information can be viewed from a different starting or ending point. For example, you can remove the requested section of your board, so that you can see how your cards were progressing directly from an activity stage.
If you remove a middle stage from the workflow stages of the chart, then you will have results as follows:
- the previous stage will keep the same value
- the stage after the removed one will be calculated, taking into account the time it took for the cards to enter it after leaving the previous stage. The chart would read that the time for a card to move from the previous column to the following column and not the card stayed in the previous column for the time that it spent in the removed column.
3. What Is This Chart Telling Us?
The pace percentiles are here to help you measure the health of the current items that are in progress compared to past performance. They can give you an idea of how these tasks are currently progressing versus how cards have advanced through the in-progress stages of the selected workflow in the past. Pace percentile lines will move up and down depending on your workflow performance.
Important: The higher a task is plotted in the chart, the longer it stays in progress.
If a task is above the 50th percentile, this means that it's already taking more time in your process than 50% of your tasks. We recommend inspecting this chart every day and if something is in the red area, pay attention to it, and make it flow faster.
We suggest, using the 85th percentile or the 95th percentile if you tend to be not that optimistic in your planning and prefer to be on the safe side.
Let's enable the 95th percentile. The brown area is a map of your historical work, i.e. at what point in time the work items were going out of the corresponding stages. This area is telling us: How old the items were historically when they used to leave the corresponding stages.
For example, our 95th percentile for the "In progress" stage is the 6th day. If our work items are inside this brown area this means that we are not slower compared to our historical data.
Note: Having work items in the red area might be a signal that our age cycle time might be growing over time. Always watch for cards in the red area.
If you enable the 85th percentile, you will notice that the time it takes for tasks to be completed becomes lower. For example, the 85th percentile of the "In progress" stage is the 2nd day. If your work items are in the yellow area, this is a good indicator. If they are above the yellow area, we would say that our 85th percentile is growing in terms of days. Ideally, we will check the corresponding tasks and find the root cause of the delay. This will help you spot problems and outliers in your process that might become bottlenecks soon.
The dots scattered across the chart represent all the tasks that have been in progress since the starting date of the query. Click on the dot to make it sticky or hover over each dot and a popup window appears.
Inside, you can see the Start Date of the assignment/s, current age, pace, and the respective card ID.
If you click the card ID, you will open a box with additional card details, such as title, priority, owner, etc. You will also be able to see how many days the assignment has spent in each stage of your workflow.
To dismiss it, just click anywhere on the chart.
The Aging WIP chart allows for cycle time recalculation for the completed cards based on working days.
For example, if a card was started on Friday and finished on Monday, the data for the cycle time would be 4 days by default (as it would take Saturday and Sunday into consideration) without the setting.
With working days enabled, the cycle time data would be 1 day. With the working days option enabled, the data for Pace Percentiles and Done Percentiles will be recalculated as well.
If you need precise cycle and log times for internal reporting, use the Advanced search capabilities with the different chart views and widgets.