Need some help in order to decrease "cycle time" and "average age" KPIs in a team.

Last post 09:01 am July 12, 2018
by Julian Bayer
8 replies
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07:11 am July 10, 2018

Hi everyone,

I have a problem with decreasing cycle time and average age in our team. Actually their trends keep going with a very little change and it's like a straight line. We expect that our trend should change and decrease sprint by sprint, day by day...but I don't know what should I do, as a scrum master in our team to optimize these KPIs. Please share your experience in this regard.

Regards,

Maryam

09:43 pm July 10, 2018

I need more information about the kind of work your team is doing. Is it product development, Product support, or DevOps?

Focus on prioritization. May be there are high value but easy issues that are unnecessarily delayed that can be fixed right away. Also if the team is too satisfied with just the assigned work and no enthusiastic to win the customer goodwill they won't try to pick new items.

04:14 am July 11, 2018

Hi Uma,

Actually our work is product development. 

08:46 am July 11, 2018

My 2 cents : Take it to the team.

Doesn't the whole Scrum Team use the Sprint Retro for these subject ?

12:15 pm July 11, 2018

We expect that our trend should change and decrease sprint by sprint, day by day...but I don't know what should I do, as a scrum master in our team to optimize these KPIs.

It's always a good idea to start with some questions, especially "why?".

As in:
- Why were those KPIs selected? To what end are they monitored?
- Why do you expect the trend to decrease? What assumptions have been made to reach that expectations? have you validated those assumptions?
- Why is the trend not decreasing? What does it tell you about the way the team works? What would a decrease in the trend indicate?
 

Some other questions to ask:
- Is the team aware that these metric are gathered?
- Has the team been informed what the metrics indicate?
- Does the team understand why you find a decrease in the trend desireable? Does the team agree?
- Is the metric transparently made available for the team?

01:22 pm July 11, 2018

"What" or "How" is more powerfull and more solution-focus than "Why".

With "Why" the chance is they stick to their 'problems', they got stuck in analysis-paralysis.

With "What/How", you open their mind toward positive options.

Why is the Cycle time not reducing => How can we reduce Cycle Time ? What else do we want to reduce ?

 

Try to limit the use of "closed" question, where they can just answer "Yes" or "No" without a true reflexion.

 

02:54 pm July 11, 2018

Are the team looking at (and discussing) where there may be issues in the cycle?

For example, if the team identify that a lot of time is spent on items waiting to be tested, it may highlight an inefficiency in the process; and if the team are committed to reducing cycle time, they may choose to address this inefficiency. 

06:38 pm July 11, 2018

I have a problem with decreasing cycle time and average age in our team.

Where is the pull or demand coming from for improved cycle time and throughput?

Also, are WIP limits higher than they could be, and if so why? Is work being pushed? Is work languishing because “Done” is unclear? Are there bottlenecks around skill silos which encourage team members to start new work rather than finish what is in hand?

09:01 am July 12, 2018

"What" or "How" is more powerfull and more solution-focus than "Why".

With "Why" the chance is they stick to their 'problems', they got stuck in analysis-paralysis.

With "What/How", you open their mind toward positive options.

To be clear. I didn't mean to never move on to "what" or "how". But I find it important to create a shared understanding of an issue first, before moving on to solutions. Hence, some why questions may be in order. But that is an abstratc discussion that should maybe be held somewhere else.