Control Charts in Silver Catalyst

Posted on March 16th, 2010 in News & Updates, Silver Catalyst by siddharta || 4 Comments

If you’ve logged into Silver Catalyst recently, you may have noticed a new feature – Control Charts.

The above screenshot is an example of the Lead Time SPC Chart. The lead time is the time from when the work item was placed on the backlog to the time when it was deployed live. The chart shows the lead times for all the completed features over a 9 month period. The blue line is the mean lead time over the time period. The red line is the upper control limit for the process. This data has a mean lead time of 12 days and the upper control limit at just under 50 days.

Interpreting the SPC Chart

You will notice a few features above the red line. This indicates that something abnormal in the process has occured during the development of these features. Maybe there was a blocker, or the team strength was reduced, or some other such special cause. These features can be investigated to figure out what exactly happened and it can perhaps be discussed in the retrospective.

Features under the red line are “in control”. So we should not look for feature specific causes to explain the lead times. Instead they are affected by the normal variance of the process. Therefore, we will need to look at the process as a whole when deciding how this variation can be reduced.

Interacting with the chart

Clicking on any point on the chart will bring up a popup with more details on the feature that the point represents. Click the link to be taken directly to the feature information page that corresponds to that point on the chart.

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4 Responses to “Control Charts in Silver Catalyst”

  1. David J Anderson Says:

    Wow! This is awesome!

    Who would have believed that an Agile project management tool would embrace and support a quantitative method like SPC? This will prove a big enabler for people using Kanban as a catalyst to a Lean approach and kaizen culture in their organizations. This will really encourage more organizations to pursue high maturity behaviors. More higher maturity agile teams and organizations can only be good for our profession and industry. Thanks for showing leadership and making this happen.

  2. David Joyce Says:

    Great addition, and a first. Are you planning on enabling the user to split the data? For example if a team makes a big change they can split the data on the SPC chart to see the effect. This would then recalculate a new UCL and mean post split. An example of this is shown here http://www.vanguardcapchart.com/SplittingTheData.aspx

  3. siddharta Says:

    Thanks David & David :)

    Re: splitting the data, its something that we thought about implementing. It is on the roadmap, but we aren’t going to do it immediately.

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