Visualising is essential in the practice of Kanban. It might seem obvious but it is important to understand why.
The human brain analysis images 60,000 times faster than text and Kanban uses this to make your team more efficient. When it comes to metrics it is easy to go down the rabbit holes with fancy graphs and numbers. Metrics are key in Kanban as probably know but they are not to be used every day to assess how the team is performing. Just look at your flow.
By looking at the board, even someone who doesn’t know the team, the project or the context can tell how things are going. They don’t even need to read the cards. Is the team busy? Are there some idle devs? Is there an obvious bottleneck? Displaying the flow publicly enables anyone to grasp how your team is doing in a blink of an eye. This obviously applies to any type of team or organisation, from start-ups to the biggest corporations.
Flow visualisation is also the first improvement you’ll get when transitioning to Kanban, without the need to take out any other tools from the box. Simply map the Value Stream, move your Work Items to the right columns and you’re done. You don’t even need to set up WIP limits to start seeing the value added by Kanban at this stage (even though you should eventually set WIP limits).
Finally, the visualisation of the flow is an amazing communication tool. During your daily stand up or just as a one to one catchup, it becomes easy for developers, designers, testers, Ops, leads or product owners to assess the situation and take decisions.