Fostering Continuous Improvement and Reducing No Value Add Work using Blazemetrics and Github

I recently read Chapter 6 of Lean Enterprise: How High Performance Organizations Innovate at Scale, and I found a really interesting case study that I wanted to share.

Lean Enterprise Cover

If you haven’t read it, the authors outline how HP’s Firmware team were struggling to meet the demands of the business due to their bloated and complicated infrastructure. HP’s devs were spending most of their time porting code around to different branches, i.e. doing “no value add” work instead of “innovation” work.

So HP performed an “activity accounting” exercise to better understand the problem.

Here is what they discovered:

% of Costs     Activity
10%     Code Integration
20%     Detailed Planning
25%     Porting Code between version control systems
25%     Product Support
15%     Manual Testing
~5%     Innovation

How Teams Can Quantify the “No Value Add Work”?

For HP only 5% of their costs were spent on “Innovation”. That’s pretty bad.

I think for teams that struggle to live up to business expectations, it can be difficult to quantify exactly how much time they spend on the no value work vs. the innovation work, and as a result, they get zero support from management to implement continuous improvement processes and target waste.

Enter Blazemetrics

Blazemetrics has a great way to perform activity accounting right out of the box.

How it Works

By connecting Blazemetrics to your Github repo, and assigning labels to all your tasks and issues, Blazemetrics will automatically calculate how the team spends their time and what it’s costing the business based on your Github commits.

Github Project Dashboard by Blazemetrics

In this example, you see that “Bugs” are consuming 39% of the current Work in the Progress (left chart) and 33% of the backlog as well.

More telling perhaps, is that only 5% of the teams time was spent on “Enhancements”.

Armed with this data, could the dev team make the case for the business that they need to spend some time on refactoring and technical debt?

Perhaps. At the very least, it can provide the dev team with some data to support why they haven’t released as many features as the business would like.

Ideally, this type of data will support an initiative to foster continuous improvement and waste reduction like HP.

If you’re interested in finding out more on this topic, or how Blazemetrics can help your team, reach out to me or follow us on Twitter