The Kanban Flow Simulation aims to help understand the principles of flow. It’s nearly impossible to implement a real-world simulator for a Kanban process. This is only an approximation and a visual representation of it.
You can find the Kanban Flow Simulation on our website: https://kanbanize.com/simulation
By default, the simulation is based on a kanban board, with 5 stages – Backlog, Analysis, Development, QA, and Deployment. You have a team at your disposal that you can configure as you will. You can manipulate headcount, productivity in each activity, WIP limits, new tasks strategies, multitasking, and many more.
The Simulation consists of a few sections:
(1) The top bar, with start/pause/stop and speed controls on the left and help and settings buttons on the right.
(2) The main board, where the tasks are visualized according to their current placement on the board.
(3) The tabs at the bottom, show the real-time analytics of the board. These analytics let you see how the system behaves over time and give you example data for what your work process may look like.
Configuring the Settings
There is a window with settings available by clicking on a wrench in the upper right corner. The window consists of the following tabs: Backlog, Rules, Team, Board.
You can configure the way in which cards are created in the “Backlog” tab.
There are two types of settings to configure here:
- Task creation strategy – when tasks will be created.
- If Limit Allows – create as many tasks as the limit allows. The limit for the backlog column is 1 for the purposes of the simulation running smoothly.
- Constant Push – a new task is created according to the demand, that is configurable. Tasks are created in regular time periods that you configure on a per-day basis.
- Random Push – a new task or a batch of new tasks is created at random moments, but according to a demand level and expected batch size that you can configure.
- Scrum – create a batch of tasks every set number of days. The number of days and the batch size are configurable.
- Task size strategy – how complex the tasks will be.
- Constant – each task has the same size and you can configure it.
- Normal – each task has a size generated according to a set of values you configure and a variation is processing time you can also configure.
- S/M/L/XL – 4 types of tasks are created – small, medium, large, or extra-large. You can configure the effort needed for each of the task sizes and the probability of a task of each size to be created.
The rules panel contains the following configurations:
- Max WIP for a single person – how many tasks one person can work at a time.
- Max no. of people working on a single task – gives the possibility to set more than 2 people working per task.
- Warmup time before working on a task (around) - the downtime between tasks a person can take on.
You can configure your team by navigating to the Team tab in the settings window.
You can add and configure as many roles and team members. The table consists of rows, that represent roles in your team. You can define as many roles as you want. Each role is defined by:
- Headcount – how many team members there are in the role.
- Columns represent the team member’s productivity in each process. A process is defined by a column in a board, that is not a queue. Productivity is represented in %. If you set productivity to zero for a process, people in this role won't be allowed to work on the cards in those columns.
You can design your desired board layout before running your simulation here. You can choose which columns are a queue and which process/activity columns.
Important: Changes in board layout will reset your simulation! Also, you will need to save the changes by pressing the Save button at the bottom
Setting and changing the WIP limits
You can change the WIP limits for columns from the main view in the textbox next to the column name.
Removing the number from the textbox means there is no limit set for that column. Users must be careful when not setting limits, as it can make the simulation ‘hang’, meaning cards won’t be moving to the right as it is expected.
Limits can be set for groups of columns as well as separate columns. When setting a limit for Backlog, if the demand is high and there are more tasks to do than actual throughput, tasks over the limit are dropped and counted.
Starting the simulation
The controls for the simulations are available in the upper left corner:
The start/pause/stop buttons let users run the simulation. The simulation speed can also be toggled using the slider next to them.
Note: When stopping the simulation from the red stop button you will not be able to continue it, but you will still be able to take a look at it's analytics. The cards will be wiped from the top window of the simulation.
Important: The maximum time of the simulation is 365 days.
Looking at the Analytics
The bottom part of the simulation is dedicated to our Analytics module. This module lets you analyze the flow of cards through the simulation's board layout, process efficiency, and much more. To learn more about our Analytics Module, visit this article.