Cumulative Flow Diagram is an analytical tool, fundamental to Kanban method. It allows teams to visualize their effort and project progress. When there's an impediment about to occur within the process - the CFD is where you'll see it first. Instead of the graph staying smooth and rising gently, there will be a bump, a sudden ascend
or descend. So, where being able to predict problems is concerned, this is the very graph you need.
What does it show?
The Cumulative Flow Diagram visualises how tasks mount up over time, together with their distribution along the process stages. The graph is built from different colored bands of tasks gathered in various columns. One color represents one column - so that each band shows how many tasks sit at what stage of the process, in a given time - the horizontal value.
How should it look?
The ideal diagram you want to see is an evenly rising one, with bands staying more-less even, except for the "completed tasks" band, which should continuously be getting taller, just as the number of done tasks is hopefully always getting higher.
What to look out for?
What you don't want to see is a sudden rise or descent within any band of tasks. This will undoubtedly point to an issue. A successive accumulation of tasks in a given band is indicative of a bottleneck - and for as long as you notice it in time, you may be able to counteract it, by addressing the issue with the team. Another thing you don't want to see is the band related to tasks "in progress" getting suddenly very tall, since it shows, that the number of tasks being handled at present is too large, and therefore the whole project will likely get delayed.
Who can benefit from it?
The CFD only requires 3 basic things from the process - a Backlog, an In Progress column and a Done section - using this type of division allows you to read valid and usable information from the diagram. Therefore, any team, that utilizes this kind of workflow division, can benefit from Cumulative Flow. Whether you use Scrum, Kanban or any other custom project management method, for as long as you organize it in task groups, the CFD will be of great help.
How to get access to a Cumulative Flow Diagram?
Get Kanban Tool, a flexible and easy to use visual management online software, that will enable you to foresee and neutralize bottlenecks and impediments, predict project completion time and the actual number of team members needed on it.
Apart from CFD, Kanban Tool gives you the most effective task visualization, greatly customizable boards, informative Kanban cards, adjustable Work In Progress limits, seamless Time Tracking, Process Automation and even more Analytics - Breakdown Chart, Lead and Cycle Time and a Time Report. So, not only will you be better informed about the project, but you will also improve your overall productivity. Try this method now for free, and see how much more you can learn about the project, before it's even half-way through.