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Kanban Board explained with Metrics and web3 Applications

Kanban Board Explained Web3 Projects PSHQ

Let us check 'What is Kanban'? before getting to Kanban Board

Kanban is a lean, agile, lightweight framework for visualizing and managing the flow of work through its different stages, from To Do to Completed. Originating in the industrial sector, it subsequently gained popularity among Agile software development teams and has recently begun to be acknowledged by business units in a variety of industries. Read more about Kanban here from the Kanban Guide by Kanban University

Kanban Board explained

The Kanban board is a tool for the visualization of workflow that helps to provide clarity to the work process and boost productivity by restricting the amount of work that is currently in progress. Because of this additional level of transparency, bottlenecks in the phases may be rapidly discovered, and by addressing those issues, the team's overall productivity can be increased.

Pulling work from left to right through the board is practices with Kanban boards i.e., having a pull system where cards are taken only when there is enough bandwidth to work upon in any lane. On the left, fresh work items enter the board from the Input buffer / To Do Lane. When they exit to the right, customers receive value in the Done Lane. A feedback mechanism is implemented in each lane for built in quality.

The series of activities represented by lanes that these work items pass through is known as workflow. The goal of teams utilizing Kanban would be to achieve a state of flow where work items move from left to right seamlessly with minimum stoppages or wait times in between. Basic Kanban boards use Cards, Columns, and WIP Limits to help teams to better view and manage their workflows.

How to measure the efficiency of a Kanban board?

There are many metrics used for Kanban boards of which below few are used widely and for their simplicity and effectiveness.

  1. Lead Time: Time taken for a new work item (Kanban card) from the time its added to the backlog (requirement identification) till its moved to done.

  2. Cycle Time: Time taken for a work item from the time its started to work upon (In progress) till its moved to done. This is a subset of lead time and shows only the development time.

  3. WIP Limits: (WIP) limits set the maximum number of work items that can exist in each lane of a workflow. This ensures focus and in line with single piece flow concepts.

  4. Control Chart: This is a handy tool to quickly identify outliers and any work items being in the system for longer durations to analyze the blockers and take corrective actions

  5. Cumulative Flow Diagrams (CFD): Lead time and cycle time can be easily visualized on a CFD, plotted over time to take corrective actions.

Kanban Board applications in web3

In web3 projects especially in DAOs, a Kanban board more suitable where you can take up work items at any point and move them to done. Work items can move independently from To Do to done in a continuous delivery mode. Kanban boards can also be integrated in scrum teams to visualize work and manage the flow. Each enabler or platform team can have their own board like for Crypto Research or DevOps or DevRel who might not require a tight coupling with the development scrum team to better self-organize and self-manage.

In recent years Kanban boards are being widely used by both engineering and non-engineering teams. I hope that the next time you view the Kanban board, you will appreciate it more than just a task board with a list of backlog cards.


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