R Utilities for Software Kanban

April 12, 2010

I've started a set of R utilities for software kanban at GitHub. I've been using the R environment more lately, and I really like how easy it makes visualizing and working with data. It has a bit of an "old-school" environment feel as well and it is functional and efficient. If you are an R guru (I'm not really, though I'm learning) and you have utilities, please contribute!

The utilities expect data to be stored in a data.frame. The first column must be named "Date" and have "Date" class. The second column is currently ignored; however, the intention is that it indicates the ticket category (usually represented on the board by ticket color), and so it should be a factor. Columns three onward (as many as you have flow steps) are tallies of each work flow step for the day, in reverse chronological order - starting with "Done" and ending with "Backlog", in other words.

The easiest way to get this data into R is to store it in a CSV file and use read.csv to load it. Here is some sample data:

Date,Category,Done,QA,Development,Ready,Backlog
2009/10/20,Project,0,2,2,0,0
2009/10/20,Urgent,0,0,1,0,0
2009/10/22,Project,1,2,1,0,0
2009/10/22,Urgent,0,0,2,0,0
2009/10/23,Project,1,2,2,0,0
2009/10/23,Urgent,0,0,2,0,0

Load this into R with:

> my.data <- read.csv("my_data.csv")

An alternate method for maintaining your data within R is to use the fix() function on a daily basis, which is what I do. Two warnings, however:

  1. Make sure to save your workspace so that you don't lose your stats.
  2. fix() will strip the "Date" class from the Date column.

To re-add the Date class after using fix(), do this:

> my.data$Date <- as.Date(my.data$Date)

Plotting your CFD

Check out the rkanban sources into the "rkanban" directory under your R working directory and source the kanban.R file.

You can then plot your CFD from within R like so:

> source("rkanban/kanban.R")
> PlotCFD(my.data)

Example CFD

Tags: fixme r