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Cumulative Flow Diagram

Cumulative Flow Diagrams are a wonderful tool to see trends and find bottlenecks in your delivery process. They are often used in Kanban environments. We adapted the 1-pager from images by Paul Klipp and Pawel Brodzinski. If you’d like to know how to spot various problems with CFDs, check out Pawel’s article.

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  1. James 2013/12/20

    I followed instructions on setting CFDs on Excel. For my sample data set it showed up nice and pretty but this one for my team looks downright ugly. My head hurts trying to make sense of this and wondering if you can provide your input. http://imgur.com/saThhkf

    maybe because we already have items in done? and some have 0 work in them? The numbers simply represent how many cards are in that phase for the given date.

    Would love your advice on how to tackle CFD’s for my team.

    Thank you!

    • corinna 2013/12/21 — Post Author

      Hi James!

      Disclaimer: My experience with CFDs is limited. I’ve plotted them long-term on 3 occasions AFAIR. Maybe someone else can provide more insight.

      For what it’s worth:
      I’m not sure what you mean by “ugly”. The disconnected orange lumps? I’ve plotted CFDs like that and as long as the represented numbers are small I don’t see a problem. I.e. if something goes 1 – 0 – 2 – 0 – 1 that’s okay. 10 – 0 – 14 – 0 indicates lumpy workflow and could be a problem.

      If it was my team I’d be more curious about why the backlog is growing.

      HTH, Corinna

      PS: Have you already checked out Pawel’s article? http://brodzinski.com/2013/07/cumulative-flow-diagram.html

  2. Paul Klipp 2014/01/22

    I just noticed that when you copied my CFD, you made a mistake. The lead time arrow is not accurate. Compare it’s left side to mine: http://paulklipp.com/images/cfd.jpg

    • corinna 2014/01/24 — Post Author

      [x] Fixed! Thanks for the hint, Paul!

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