One thing about software projects is that they never go as planned. Change is bound to happen along the way and this was the reason why agile development principles were created back in 2001. Ever since then, agile philosophy has grown to include other project management techniques and one of the most efficient is the Kanban board.
What makes Kanban a very effective management tool is that it limits the number of things that your team can have in progress at any point in time. This means that ones you hit the set limit, no new work will be taken on until the clog has been cleared. It is a system that manages workload.
Here are three reasons why you should be tracking the time your programmers spend working on their tickets.
Time Tracking Teaches You Your Team’s Pace
Your software development has a deadline and it is best to keep up to it. Cycle time is known as the total time a programmer spends working on a particular ticket. This is a vital metric that you should keep very close eyes on if you are to finish in time.
It will ensure that your team is not overburdened. It will also eliminate the lack of urgency which when present, hampers the growth of your software development. Tracking cycle time will give you an accurate overview of the time each ticket takes to be completed. For sure, the programming can be unpredictable but that is the reason why it is important that you start collecting data on your team’s overall speed and pace. By measuring the pace, it will be easier for you to improve on it.
Time Tracking Teaches You how to have a better Plan
This another reason why Kanban should be incorporated into your software development plan. It is a common knowledge that software development is a very tricky business and at some point, the only guarantee you can get is that unexpected problems will definitely spring up. How then do you prepare for those problems before they come up?
It can be done by factoring in the unexpected during your planning stage. It is called business intelligence and is far better than business guesswork (which most of the time leads to failure). Here is where the use for agile development comes into play. The development facilitates active change and encourages it, which will allow you to predict things based on previous experiences.
With Kanban development included in your software development, you will be able to have time tracking data about your developers’ work, sorted into several categories – like “prototyping,” “bug fixes,” “code review,” etc. — you will have a wealth of recorded data about different kinds of problems that might come up, and how long your team might take to solve them. This will allow you to have actual facts rather guesses and this is something that clients want.
Time Tracking Teaches You when to scale
This is very useful for those that run a small software consultancy firms. It will effectively allow you to manage your cash flow during projects. Once you are able to do that, then you can make sure that the workload and the cash flow is kept on the positive. The reality is that developers are expensive and it is very hard to hire too many of them at once. Time tracking makes the hiring decisions much easier for you.
These three points discussed above all stem from the same problem, the inability of humans to effectively keep track of time. We can guess but we can never be accurate. In business though, unaccounted errors are very harmful. It is therefore very important that you should use Kanban during your software development stage.
To learn the Kanban 101 at team-level, enroll in the IBQMI® Approved Kanban Professional.
If you want to apply Kanban to any environment at an advanced coach level, you should enroll in the Certified Kanban Coach®.