Getting started with Collecting Kanban process metrics


How much work is it really to get started with collecting Kanban process metrics?

Not that much at all!

This is how I usually starts.

1. Take a photo


Take a photo of the Kanban board at least every day. Having a photo of the board is very valuable for future analysis. The Photos are also great for sharing status information with people that can’t go to the board and take a look for them self.

If you take the photos from the same spot with the same angles you can create a stop motion movie of your board and really show how work moves in the process.

2. Count the board


Count how much work is in every state on the board.

Remember that the end state (done state) is a cumulative number of you remove old work from the board

3. Note the dates

Note dates on every post-it when work enters the board and when it arrives at the end state (done state).

4. Collect blocked time

When ever work is not worked on. Put a blocked post-it on it. State the reason for the blockage, work identifier(so you can reference back to what work was blocked), start time and end time when the blockage is cleared.

This information is very valuable for you process improvement work.


That’s it!

You often don’t need more to get started. With this data you can create:

Cumulative Flow D

Run Charts/Control Chart

Lead Time Histograms

Don’t throw away the post-it’s as they are taken off the board. They are a very valuable source of information for future analysis.


You can for example build a Pareto chart of different types of blockers using the resolved blocker post-it’s

6 thoughts on “Getting started with Collecting Kanban process metrics

  1. Paul Klipp (@agileactivist) 2012-11-04 / 15:43

    From what I’ve seen talking to Kanban practitioners, team members, and from the feature usage statistics in, any kind of metrics tracking is rare among new adopters of Kanban (I mean, since it became trendy in Agile circles). You can even have a tool that puts metrics right in a team’s face, and it’s uncommon that they use them. There’s no doubt that visualizing work is a terrifically helpful. I wonder if perhaps it’s too helpful, in that it feels so good that teams think they’re done with their Kanban adoption once they have a task board, hopefully with WIP limits. Thanks for showing how easy actionable metrics can be to gather and understand. I hope everyone with a physical kanban board at least tries this for a month and then follows up with your posts on how to convert those metrics to useful models.

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