The analytics in Kanbanize work per board. Click the Analytics icon on the top of each board to access the Analytics page.
The Analytics screen presents 5 categories: Cycle Time, Throughput, WIP, Flow, Forecasting, each available as a tab item on the page. Click on a tab button to view the charts for each of the respective metrics. The Cumulative Flow Diagram belongs to the Flow category.
Note: Before start using the analytics make sure that you have configured the Cycle time tracking for the respective board. To learn how to configure cycle time per board, please check the dedicated article.
Introduction to the Cumulative Flow Diagram:
The Cumulative Flow Diagram aims to show the stability of your process over time. It tracks and accumulates each task that has ever entered or progressed to any stage of your workflow.
Using the diagram, you can get an idea of how your work in progress, throughput, and cycle time change over time.
- The "X" axis represents a timeline
- The "Y" axis is the actual number of the work items. This could be tasks, projects, or anything that you measure on the selected workflow.
How to set up the Cumulative flow diagram?
From the left side of the panel, you can control which data you can see on the chart within a predetermined time frame.
First, you define the timeframe ("Requested After" date and "Finished Before" date).
Important: The chart will visualize only cards that have entered your flow after the "requested date" that you define. In case that the cards were in your flow before the requested date and are completed within the "finished before" date, they won't be displayed.
Then you select the workflows that you want to analyze using the Cumulative Flow.
The chart takes into consideration all cards from the selected workflows. Note that you can add single or multiple workflows.
In addition, you can apply extra filters (Add cards filter). For example, you may want to see only cards with high priority or cards that are of a certain type.
What's this diagram telling us?
The cumulative flow diagram shows the accumulation of work overtime. Every stage of the workflow is represented by a differently colored band. Whenever you complete a task, the number of cards in your "Done" stage rises permanently.
In the example below, you may see that the respective workflow has accumulated more than 500 work items since the selected date. If you ever see a band going down, then the chart is incorrect, since tasks should never disappear.
In general, you can spot whether your process is stable in just a single glance by looking at how the top and the bottom line of each band in your cumulative flow diagram are progressing.
Approximate Average Cycle Time:
The horizontal distance between your first and last stage shows the approximate average cycle time for your tasks meaning the time it took you to progress a task from being Requested to Done. When all the bands are progressing in parallel, this means that your cycle time is consistent.
Work In Progress:
The diagram visualizes the number of work items that are in progress at each stage of your flow. This can be measured using the vertical distance between the lines of each band.
If any of the bands start to expand, it means that the stage holds more work items that are in progress i.e tasks are arriving faster than can be processed. This immediately increases the cycle time and we need to take action. This is why the Kanban method implements Work in Progress (WIP) limits.
The WIP limit improves your throughput and reduces the number of unfinished tasks. It helps you to establish an effective pull system, rather than applying push behavior.
Having bands that are progressing in parallel also means that your average throughput is stable and new tasks are entering your workflow in parallel to those that are leaving it. This is the ideal outcome and shows that you can focus your efforts on shortening the cycle times of your assignments.
The bottom blue line of your diagram visualizes the number of deliverables within a certain date.
The slope of that line between any two points shows the average throughput. This metric is average because not all of the tasks that have entered the stage necessarily leave it at that time frame.
They might be moved to the next stage later in time.