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Kanban Metrics

Kanban is a popular project management method that emphasises continuous delivery, collaboration, and flexibility. To measure the effectiveness of a Kanban system, it is important to use metrics that provide insights into its performance. This article will discuss Kanban metrics, their significance, and how to use them effectively.

What are Kanban Metrics?

Kanban metrics are quantitative measurements that provide information about the performance of a Kanban system. They evaluate the Kanban process's efficiency and effectiveness and identify improvement areas. Kanban metrics are typically visualized on a Kanban board or dashboard to provide a clear and concise overview of the system's performance.

Lead Time

Lead time is the time it takes for a work item to move from the beginning of the process to completion. It is a critical metric because it provides insights into the overall efficiency of the Kanban system. By reducing lead time, teams can increase productivity, minimize waste, and improve customer satisfaction.


Throughput is the number of work items completed within a specific time period. It provides insights into the team's productivity and can be used to identify areas for improvement. By increasing throughput, teams can deliver more value to their customers and achieve their goals more efficiently.

Cumulative Flow Diagram

A Cumulative Flow Diagram (CFD) is a visual representation of the flow of work items through the Kanban process. It tracks the number of work items in each workflow stage and provides insights into the system's performance. A CFD can help teams identify bottlenecks and optimize their workflow.

Work In Progress (WIP) Limit

A Work In Progress (WIP) limit is the maximum number of work items that can be in progress at any given time. It is an important metric because it helps teams balance their workload and avoid overloading their resources. By setting an appropriate WIP limit, teams can optimize their workflow and increase their productivity.

How to Use Kanban Metrics

In order to use Kanban metrics effectively, teams should follow these best practices:

  • Define Clear Objectives.

  • Visualize Metrics.

  • Use Metrics to Drive Continuous Improvement.

  • Share Metrics with Stakeholders.

In summary, Kanban metrics are a critical component of any Kanban system. By measuring lead time, throughput, CFD, and WIP limit, teams can evaluate the effectiveness of their Kanban process and identify areas for improvement. To use Kanban metrics effectively, teams should define clear objectives, visualize metrics, use metrics to drive continuous improvement, and share metrics with stakeholders.

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