The analytics in Kanbanize work per board. Click the Analytics icon on the top of each board to access the Analytics page.
The Analytics screen presents 5 categories: Cycle Time, Throughput, WIP, Flow, Forecasting, each available as a tab item on the page. Click on a tab button to view the charts for each of the respective metrics. The Flow Efficiency chart belongs to the Flow category.
Note: Before start using the analytics make sure that you have configured the Cycle time tracking for the respective board. To learn how to configure cycle time per board, please check the dedicated article.
Introduction to the Flow Efficiency
The chart will automatically gather data from every card that passed through your Kanban board during the time frame of your choice to accumulate the overall flow efficiency for the period.
The higher your flow efficiency is (%), the faster tasks flow through the process. Tracking flow efficiency over time helps teams evaluate their improvement efforts.
The Flow efficiency chart shows you what percentage of the time your team was actively working on versus how much time the work items were waiting.
Kanban boards are meant to reflect the value stream. Value streams map both activities and the queues between activities.
How do we know if a work item is waiting? There are columns on the Kanban board, which were marked as "queue" ones, during the Board customization. When cards are waiting in these columns, they generate non-value-added time.
Some examples of "Queue" Kanban columns may be:
- Waiting for Approval – This type of Kanban queue column is appropriate for tasks which require approval to be processed (e.g. payments, promotional sales, etc.)
- Waiting for Review – This Kanban queue is a relevant stage of the workflow where work items wait to be evaluated. It is like a filter before tasks receive feedback and move forward to completion stage or go back for improvements. It plays a crucial role in product/service’s quality (e.g. product development, content writing, design, etc.)
- Waiting for External Activity – This kind of Kanban column is applicable for tasks waiting for third party actions in order to be completed. It happens often when a team communicates with other units outside of the company. (e.g. partnerships, affiliate programs, etc.)
On the contrary, all columns where tasks are actively worked on towards completion of a given goal generate value-adding time. Such columns fare usually named “Development”; "Verification", etc.
For example, when cards are in the "Development" column, team members are working on implementing the code. Cards in the "Verification" column indicate that the senior team member is reviewing the code.
Kanbanize accumulates the time each card has spent along the workflow: from the initial phase until delivery and separates value-adding time and non-value added time.
With a single glance, this graph tells you how efficient your process is (for example 74.9 %).
Measuring flow efficiency is done with the help of this simple formula:
Flow Efficiency[%]=Value-added Time/Lead Time*100
How to set up the Flow Efficiency graph?
From the left side of the panel, you can control which data you can see on the chart within a predetermined time frame.
First, you define the time period ("Requested After" date and "Finished Before" date).
Important: The chart will visualize only cards that have entered your flow after the "requested date" that you define. In case that the cards were in your flow before the requested date and are completed within the "finished before" date, they won't be displayed.
Then you select the workflows that you want to analyze using the Flow efficiency chart.
The chart takes into consideration all cards from the selected workflows. Note that you can add single or multiple workflows.
In addition, you can apply extra filters (Add cards filter). For example, you may want to see only cards with high priority or cards that are of a certain type.
From the right side of the module, you select the Queueing stages in your process in order to distinguish the work activity from inactivity (stages where cards are waiting).
Once you select your Queue stages the chart will produce the result.
- Improving flow efficiency starts with visualizing your Queue columns. Identify the stages and the tasks that accumulate more time and try to understand why this happens.
Managing queue columns helps you reducing waste in your process. When you define the queue stages in your process, you will see where cards spend time waiting and you can track how much time you actually spend working. Reduction of your inactive time directly impacts your overall cycle time. You have to investigate your workflow and eliminate the causes that block or delay your work.
- Measuring and tracking the efficiency metric helps you analyze performance, identify bottlenecks, and improve your workflow. Track the flow efficiency metric over time to evaluate improvement efforts.
- Take a look at the Process Efficiency chart at least once a month. If your process efficiency is below 35% -40%, you have a lot of grounds for improvement.
- If you set a "Work in Progress" limit in the Queue columns and thus force the system to resolve cards faster, you could achieve significant improvement in cycle time and respectively your efficiency metric.
- It is a common misunderstanding that if you start working on more tasks, you will boost your efficiency result. More work in progress means more context switching and multitasking, which increase your queue time.
In Kanbanize, you can monitor flow efficiency directly on the Main dashboard with the help of a specifically designed widget that is highly customizable. To learn more about the Efficiency widget, please check the dedicated article.