Visual Management – Part 5 – Zombie Cycle Time

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.

This entry was posted in Visual Management and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Visual Management – Part 5 – Zombie Cycle Time

  1. Pingback: 14Roundup: Lean Kanban Benelux 2011 | 14principles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>