When will it be done?

There is a dream for every project manager – to know the date when things will be done. It is one of the most stressful questions in all forms of collaborative efforts. So, we took a bold move and tried to answer it by employing Kanban flow metrics, as well as some smart logic on top. But smart can be complicated and opaque. Hence we are openly describing how this thing works.

when will it be done layer kanban

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How does it work?

Teamhood leverages three Kanban flow metrics – cycle time, age in progress, and throughput. These fundamental pieces of information are enough to provide probabilistic forecasts when an item can be expected to be done. We also leverage the Teamhood board structure to identify progress and priority.

kanban priorities and progress

User configuration

  • Period – defines how many days are back in time to look for completed items for the calculation of the cycle time.
  • Accuracy – defines how many % of completed items to take (items are ranked, this is percentile).
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Data points

  • Item Cycle time = {finish timestamp} – {start of work timestamp}
  • Item Age in progress = {timestamp now} – {start of work timestamp}
  • Throughput period = if (cycleTime < 1 day) = day else if (cycleTime < 7 days) = week else = month
  • Throughput = completed items per throughput period (average of last x periods)
kanban cycle time, age in progress, throughput

Data sets

  • Completed items – used for historical data points
  • In Progress items – used to forecast based on current data points

Data logic

  1. All completed items in scope are grouped by color and sorted by their cycle time
  2. Based on the accuracy level, a sample set from each color group is taken, and the maximum cycle time is found
  3. Based on cycle time, each color’s group throughput period is defined (day/week/month)
  4. Based on the throughput period, each color group item throughput is calculated
  5. All in-progress items are grouped by color and sorted by the location on the board. Then placed into a queue.
  6. The queue is sliced into 6 pieces based on throughput
  7. If there are more items in the queue than 6 throughput periods can fit, the last items are added to the last slice
  8. Inside each slice, we calculate the remaining time to completion: TTC = batchNumber*periodLengthageInProgress
  9. Teamhood colors all 6 slices. Red being hotter and sooner to delivery (or even overdue), blue being colder and later to delivery (or not even started)
kanban item queueing

The end result

After all metrics have been calculated, all items have been measured, and the board layer has been drawn. Users should see a heatmap over items with forecasted time to completion as a label.

when will it be done kanban

💡 Key ideas

  • We group items by color because in most cases, color symbolizes a type of work. Users leverage colors to separate different types of work. Hence, the flow is most likely different/specific per each color
  • Start of work and completion of work are affected when an item enters a certain type of status. There are 3 types of statuses in Teamhood: New, In Progress, and Completed.
  • Right most and top most items end up at the start, while left most and bottom most at the end of the queue.

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