One of our teams had issues with long cycle times.
In an effort to reduce cycle times, Luke Smallwood, a colleague of ours devised the babyzombie sticker to visualise the problem:
Every day, for every `in progress` card, someone replaces the previous sticker with the next sticker. This is a simple, yet effective measure of cycle time. In practice, this turns out quite a pain to manage. Lot’s of replacing stickers:
Rather than replace the babyzombie sticker, the team tried to split their ‘in progress’ column in 5: each headed by the babyzombie.
Every day, cards move along one slot. Immediate visualisation of cycle time:
We’ve been moving towards short, even cycle time and flow for a while now. The benefits of short, even cycle times are clear and simple:
- Process and practices have to improve to continually achieve short cycle time
- Normalised working practices emerge
- Predictability in delivery
- Guesstimation becomes a thing of the past
For more on the importance of cycle time, flow and cadence see this article from Karl Scotland.