Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Yes, you do need a “Dashboard” (a.k.a. Andon - Board)

And no, I don‘t like the terms “Project Dashboard”, “Lean Dashboard” or “Agile Dashboard”. I do like the concept of the andon-boards

But what is a(n agile) dashboard, and why do you need it?

Speed is nothing without control

Most lean and agile approaches include some kind of feedback mechanism to enable informed decisions. In Scrum for example some information is fed back into the loop in the sprint planning as the capacity for the next sprint. In flow based approaches the feedback is often build into the work organization. When a kanban approach to process control is in place it can at least be found in the capacity of the stations (a.k.a. WIP-Limits per column).

This may be enough for a while, but it is not enough for the long run.

How often is an autopilot ‘on course’?

Actually not much at all - if it would be possible to set the course once and then ‘just let go’ you wouldn’t need an autopilot. The main reason to have an autopilot is to counteract the little deviations off the course caused by internal or external disturbances. So the autopilot constantly correct to the target, but the target is only reached for very short periods of time.

You’ve got to know that you’re off course to make adjustments

To be able to auto-correct your course, you have to know wether you’re on or off course. And that is what a dashboard can tell you. By making the actual ‘course’ visible as early as possible. On a dashboard. That is updated as soon as the information is available. And this is where an automated dashboard can come in handy.

What should go on the dashboard?

Whatever you’re aiming for!

  • You want to spend a certain amount of your capacity on a specific project? Then the actually spent time per project has to go on the dashboard.
  • You want to increase the test coverage? Then the current test coverage has to be displayed.
  • You want to spend at least x% of your time on improvements? Then the time spent on diferent types of work has to go on the dash.
  • etc.

So, how do you navigate your project?

’till next time
  Michael Mahlberg

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