Lean Scrum Analytics
A valuable lesson I have learned in helping teams with flow based measurement is that Scrum teams are often challenged to connect the dots between what they do day to day, sprint to sprint and how that relates to improvement in WIP, cycle time, and throughput. The concepts are not necessarily the challenge, but more so not having measurements they can see daily and directly related to there sprints.
With that in mind I decided to create a version of the LAD that would be Scrum specific making it easier for teams to relate flow metrics to their sprints and daily execution. My brilliant name for the new tool is Lean Scrum Analytics Dashboard(LSAD). Shocking I didn’t pursue a career in marketing right? Lame branding aside, from what I have seen so far with the teams using the tool is that it definitely seems help bridge the aforementioned gap in understanding.
For those that have used or seen the LAD the LSAD will look fairly familiar. There is a Simple Dashboard and a Detail Dashboard displaying various metrics with key indicators. There are also two dashboards that are unique to the LSAD. The first is a Sprint Burndown WIP dashboard that provides teams a tool for monitoring their day to day progress along with their daily WIP. Second is a Sprint Report that provides detailed information regarding the planned sprint issues that provide teams significant insight into their active sprint as well as past sprints. The tool queries the team’s Jira Scrum board based on the date range that is set in the configuration to pull in all the sprints and related issues.
Sprint Burndown WIP Chart
The Burndown WIP Chart provides a convenient single view for teams to monitor their day to day progress as well as their WIP levels relative to whatever WIP limit they may have set. The chart defaults to the team’s current sprint and updates every hour so it is a great tool to display as an information radiator. The WIP limit is indicated by the green dotted line. If WIP exceeds the WIP limit the columns are colored red to help draw the team’s attention. Additionally the chart can display any past sprint so it can also be used as an analysis tool.
The Sprint Report provides detailed information regarding each sprint backlog item. Like the Jira sprint report it provides basic information regarding the sprint such as the sprint start and end dates, sprint goal, and complete/incomplete/planned/unplanned sprint backlog items. In addition the sprint report provides some unique information you won’t see in the Jira report:
- Was Blocked- Indicates that the issue was blocked(flagged) at some point
- Started Date- The date the issue was moved to an in-process status
- Completed Date- The date the issue was moved to a closed status
- Cycle Time- The amount of time the issue spent in in-process statuses
- Cycle Work Time- The amount of time the issue spent in working statuses
- Cycle Wait Time- The amount of time the issue spent in waiting statuses
- Hidden WIP- Indicates if an issue was closed, but never moved through the workflow. This excludes issues resolutions such as Duplicate, Will Not Fix, etc
- 100% In Sprint- Indicates if the issue was started and completed w/in the sprint
- Assignees- All the team members who were assigned to the issue at some point
Having this detail for each sprint backlog item allows teams to gain a deeper understanding where they have potential opportunities for improvement. It is an excellent tool for use in sprint retrospectives and reviews. Like the Sprint Burndown WIP chart the Sprint Report defaults to the current sprint, but can display any past sprint as well.
The Simple Dashboard helps the team to understand the progress they are making on whatever areas of improvement on which they have chosen to focus. In the example above the team wants to bring down their cycle times and be more predictable so they are tracking % of completed issues, median sprint cycle times, median WIP, and issues that are 100% started and completed in the sprint. The arrows indicate the direction of the trend of each metric and the color of the arrow indicates if the trend is moving the right direction or the wrong direction. As you can see cycle time is currently trending down, but WIP is trending up. WIP is a leading indicator of cycle times so they will want focus a bit more on their WIP. They have a quite a bit of room for improvement with the 100% issues. Improving on that metric will contribute to bringing cycle times down as well as making them more predictable.
The Detail Dashboard is intended for more in depth analysis of the team’s behavior rather than something you would display on an information radiator. Like the Simple Dashboard it can display any of the 20+ metrics contained in the LSAD. There are a number of metrics that you may not have seen in other metric tools that I think are worth pointing out.
Story Point Cycle Time Distribution Charts
The two different style charts are displaying the same data, but in different forms. The area charts show how spread out cycle times are for each story size along the x-axis. The scatter charts show the distribution of times along the y-axis for each size with a trendline. The R-Squared value at the top of the chart indicates the percentage of the variance explained by the relationship between story size and cycle time. In this case it is clear there is a very poor relationship because of the amount of overlap in the areas and the very low R-Squared values. This means that sizing is not providing the team much value from a quantitative standpoint. Here is what these charts might look like with a strong relationship between size and cycle time.
You can see that with the lower sized items there is only a small amount of overlap between the sizes. As sizes increase there is more overlap because there tends to be more error in those sizes. The R-Squared value is up around 90% indicating a strong relationship between size and cycle time.
WIP Ratio Charts
The WIP ratio charts help you to understand WIP relative to number of issues planned and team size by dividing WIP by each respectively. Both of these metrics help you understand the degree to which the team is swarming. If the team is doing a reasonable job of swarming these metrics will both be well under 100%. Over 100% there is probably very little swarming by the team.
Hidden WIP Chart
The Hidden WIP chart indicates the number of issues that were completed, but never moved through the workflow thus artificially lowering the WIP metric. For instance an issue that went straight from In Backlog to Closed is an example of hidden WIP. Issues that have Resolved status of Duplicate, Will Not Fix, ect. are not counted as hidden WIP. The cycle time metric is not artificially lowered by Hidden WIP because any cycle time of less than 10 minutes is not counted in the aggregate cycle time stats.
Continuous Delivery Index Chart
The CDI Chart is a measure of how well the team is completing their sprint backlog items relative to the ideal burndown rate. The index is calculated by dividing the area under the burndown line for the sprint by the area of the ideal burndown line for the sprint. The closer the index is to 1 the better the team is continuously completing their SBIs. The closer the index is to .5 the more the team is waiting until the end of the sprint to complete their SBIs or not complete them at all.
I will be making the LSAD available in the next 1–2 weeks. I don’t have the documentation done yet and I still have a couple of additional features I want to add to the tool. If you are familiar with the LAD then the LSAD set up will be very familiar, in fact almost identical. I will create another post when it is available.