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Using the Done Column More Effectively

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Our summary and key takeaways

This article entertains a very interesting concept of replacing a burn-down chart with the “done” column. Normally, the “done” column is a collection of all items completed. What the author of the original post analyzed in Renee Troughton's article suggests is turning it into a kind of a graph with all the work done.

Burn-down chart on a Kanban board

His first tip is to divide the column into the working days within the sprint, this way you get an instant feed of what was done when. The immediate benefit of this is getting a grasp of how quickly the team can progress from one day to another. Although the same information can be read from a burn-down chart, having it on display for everyone (both the team and managers), has one advantage: speeding up the communication and cutting down the time needed for an analysis.

Cycle Time on a Kanban board

In a similar manner, you could create a Cycle Time indicator right in the “done” column, by simply adding a tag with the number of days a task has taken to complete. It's a simple – but very effective way to visualize how the team is doing. There is no argument here that this is something that could replace the graphs altogether, but as far as transparency and effective communication go – this is a great bonus.

Tracking demand over time with Kanban?

If you think about the possibility of long-term business analysis, you may want to consider tracking demand by following what happens on the Kanban board. An analysis of when most requests is coming in and what times of the year or month are less fruitful in new work can allow the manager to plan the team's assignments better. This also creates an opportunity for setting some time for reviews and training.

As demonstrated, although the “done” column doesn't normally see much activity, there is a lot of potential there in it. If you're going to use Kanban and take advantage of the visualization it offers, why not go this one step further and place some analytical info right on it?

Read our article on Kanban metrics »