I have been looking around for the right digital tool that will support my physical project wall. I want something that allows me easily to back up information for reference, but more importantly outputs the useful metrics that are important for continuous improvement.
A lot of people I know use Trello, which is not bad as a tool that creates a visual representation of the cards, but it doesn’t give me the data I want to be able to plan or improve the team’s flow. I also had a quick look at KanbanTool, which does offer cycle time and cumulative flow diagrams, but again is more of a replacement to a wall rather than a tool to support one and it’s not the prettiest of designs.
My solution was to create my own tool in Google Docs, this is a first pass at something that will do what I need and I’ve started testing it out with my own project already. I’ll change it as I need to as I go.
I’m sharing it here for anyone to take a look under this Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licence (full terms of usage are here, by creating a copy of the speadsheet you are agreeing to these). If you want to use it, you can create your own copy and edit to make it suitable for your needs. You may will need some knowledge of formulas and scripts (ask me if you need some pointers). I’d love to know if you find it helpful and do actually use it for your own project(s).
** disclaimer: this was the original blog post that went with the tool, the tool has changed a bit since then **
How to use it:
Add your work items in the tab called “Work items”
When a card on your physical wall moves into a new column, update the sheet to reflect the date by adding it into the relevant column. (This automatically updates the stage column and the count of cards in each column at the top)
Every time you want to record the data in the current state, go to the “data over time” sheet and press the “backup stages” button (you will want to schedule the script for this to automatically backup if you are using it regularly, I haven’t done this here as the sheet is not in use). This will build your data and feed your graphs over time. Doing this will update the cumulative flow diagram, the WIP / delivery rate chart, the lead time data / curves, the forecasting tool and the process control chart.
To hide done stories from your view on the “Work items” sheet to make it easy to read, use the menu item “kanban scripts” and “hide done items”
Once you have some data, to see how adding stories will change your forecast, change the numbers in the blue boxes on the “forecasting tool”
Adding new dates also updates the Lead Time sheets, which will record how long things take from being committed to, which gives us averages to plan with and charts to review to see how process improvements help (see the lead time charts)
There is also a “blockers” sheet, so you can have a single view of what the current issues are and what has happened in the past.
To keep this post neat, there is a change log here
Big Thanks to….
Hakan Foss http://hakanforss.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/getting-started-with-collecting-kanban-process-metrics/ for the maths behind the confidence graphs
Dan Brown (aka @kanbandan) for pairing with me on the forecast tool
If you have any questions, please ask