Track your performance.
As one of the Kanban metrics, throughput measures the number of cards that get Done within a certain frequency (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc…). By establishing your throughput you can understand what your Kanban board (process or team) is producing. This is how you start building more predictability to plan your work.
For example, if your team produces an average of 10 cards per week. You can expect that you will continue to produce 10 cards per week unless something significant changes with your process or team. Since you are using an average, you can track if it’s stable, going up or down, but you will always have an average. This throughput average can be used to plan your week by always identifying the 10 cards you want to produce every week. If you are asked to deliver 50 cards for a specific project, then you can inform the project manager that if you only focus on these 50 cards, then it will take 5 weeks, or 7 weeks to be safe.
But what if all the cards are not the same size?
This is the question we always get. Although it’s ideal that all your cards are roughly the same size and Kanban teams usually find ways over time to achieve this, it’s ok if they are not exactly the same size because you are using an average over at least 4-6 weeks.
Based on the chart above showing 6 months, this team produced an average of 31 cards per month. The expectation for next month should be around 31 cards. Please note that the data never showed a month producing exactly 31 cards. This is why you must use an average and set expectations “around” 31 cards and not state exactly 31. The team might be slightly over or under and we don’t want the team to stop at 31, we need the team to produce as much as they can while providing some predictability.
Learn more about this Throughput report in this knowledge base article.