Interpreting Cumulative Flow Diagrams

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For our May event, Mark Grove presented on Interpreting Cumulative Flow Diagrams.


The Cumulative Flow Diagram (CFD). Perhaps you’ve heard of it. Maybe you’ve been told it can help you better understand the flow of work, identify bottlenecks, and get a sense how long work items will take to complete. It sounds intriguing, but…how exactly do you read it? What is it trying to tell you? How can you use it to improve your team’s flow? Perhaps you’re a Scrum team using a traditional burndown chart. Could the CFD be more helpful?
In this part lecture, part workshop presentation, we’ll take a closer look at what a CFD is, how it’s constructed, and, most importantly, how to interpret what you’re observing. Being able to identify patterns in your CFD is a valuable skill to better understand how work is flowing across your Scrum or Kanban board. We’ll then examine several CFD patterns you might see with your teams while addressing three key questions: What are you observing? Why might it be happening? and What actions might you suggest for improvement?