1. Definition of a Heat Map
Heat Maps are graphical representations of data (in Kanbanize: time) on a matrix and use various shades of different colors in order to help distinguish the collected data in each cell of the matrix.
The cell itself is the intersection between a column and lane.
Heat Maps can be used to monitor anything from thermal values, geographical heights to migrations of people. In Kanbanize, it shows data for cells of a board for cycle time, logged time, block time, stagnation time, stagnation (weighted) time, on average or as a total of all the cards in that cell during the defined period.
These metrics are automatically gathered in the account and you only have to select the metric you would like to focus on and respectively be displayed on the Heat Map.
There are many ways to make use of the Heat Map.
- Through the Heat map, you can check how much time all cards spend in the requested area before somebody started processing them.
- You will also benefit from the Heat Map, if you use block time to indicate external dependencies or issues in the board flow and, furthermore, use the total block time to show how much time was lost due to blockages.
- Use the stagnation time to see how much time a card remains in a specific column.
2. How to configure your Heat Map?
There are many different scenarios in which the Heat Map is the perfect way to present information to your team or discuss various trends in the way you work.
First, of all, keep in mind Heat Maps are on a per board-level just like the other options in the dedicated Analytics module. Access it right from the Analytics link on your board.
The Heat Map has a customizable panel of its own to filter the data you see on the Heat map matrix.
The matrix reflects your board structure (or those columns and lanes you selected to be represented in the matrix). The short video below shows how to set up the Heat map configuration panel.
*Open the video in a new tab to get a closer view.
1) You can define the range of time (from-to) you would like the new Heat Map to focus on for your purposes.
2) If you have multilayer board structure (multiple workflows) select the one you wish to get results for in the Heat Map matrix.
3) Show data on average or as total value.
4) Exclude weekends if you want to get results for working days only.
5) Select the metric you wish to be displayed on the Heat map matrix:
In the case of Kanban boards, you can get the most out of visualizing cycle/block/logged/stagnation times per cell of the board to figure out where your roadblocks are and what is slowing down the system.
- Cycle time - The Heatmap Chart shows the total/average cycle time aggregated for the chosen period in the configured columns and lanes.
Note: It is important to note that the graph will only show the times that have been accumulated between the FROM and TO dates you set as a period. This means that if a card is started on the 1st of the current month and finished on the 30th of the current month, but the FROM and TO dates are 10th and 20th respectively, the cycle time would be considered 10 days and not 30 days.*
- Logged time - The Heatmap Chart shows the total/average logged time aggregated for the chosen period in the configured columns and lanes.
- Blocked Time - The Heatmap Chart shows the total/average logged time aggregated for the chosen period in the configured columns and lanes.
- Stagnation time - The Heat Map Chart shows the total/average stagnation time. This metric defines how much time a card remains in a specific column. Measurement of stagnation time starts in a moment a card enters a given column. This metric acts as an indicator when a card remains stuck for too long at a certain stage of your process flow. It also provides a good estimate for the average time you need to complete the tasks at a certain stage.
- Stagnation (weighted) metric shows the average time cards spent in a certain stage (for a chosen period), multiplied by the number of cards that were there at the end of the period.
For example: if the average stagnation time for the stage is 1 day and currently there are 10 cards within it, then the “Stagnation (weighted)” time will be 10 days.
For proper assessment of this metric, we recommend you to select a time range not shorter than a 3 month period. This will produce more accurate average results.
“Stagnation (weighted)” metric provides a valuable estimation of how much time is needed to complete certain cards in a given stage from your process.
6) Define the units of time: seconds, minutes, hours, days.
7) The results could be measured for working hours only - tick it off the "Calculate for working hours" box and define the Start and End Hour.
8) Add Advanced filter to narrow down your search. You can get results for the selected Assignee (s), Card Priority(s), etc
Practical Tip: using the Advanced filter is an easy way to generate a Heat Map and compare the average cycle time of cards with Critical priority to the average cycle time of cards with Average priority.
The cells in the Heat map are made up of the intersections between a column and a swim lane (this is a reflection of the board view) and you can select/deselect them from the configuration panel.
9) Select the columns you wish to display in the matrix.
10) Select the lanes you wish to display in the matrix.
3. How to interpret the Heat Map results?
The image below is an example of a Heat Map matrix, which represents a development process.
It shows us that the average cycle time in the "Coding stage" is 1.44 days, 0,03 for testing, etc.
Why colored cells?
The Heat map uses different colors, which helps to distinguish the collected data. The blue scale stands for lower time values and the red one stands for higher time values.
The graph can tell you exactly which cards are causing fluctuations or anomalies that might be acting as bottlenecks in your process. If there is an intersection on the heat map colored in red, it signals that the cycle time of the tasks there is longer and that stage of your process needs attention.
Just click on any of the cells that have value and the system will produce a list of all cards that have passed through this process stage, so that you can review and analyze cards easily.
This data can help you to make decisions that will improve your process, decrease your delivery time and boost your efficiency.
- Note, that you can download your results in an Excel format.