Monitor the current state of your work. Track your average delivery times. Measure how much work your team delivers.
Each colored area in the Cumulative Flow Diagram for Asana (CFD) represents a column in your board in Asana. The horizontal axis acts as a timeline and the vertical axis accounts for the number of work items in your columns. The size of the different colored areas indicates how many work items currently exist in each column.
Apply WIP limits. Strive to keep the number of work items within the limit of each process state, this is the first step to achieving a more stable process.
By hovering over the graph, you can immediately see the number of work items that each process state has on any given date. Plus, you can also keep tabs on the accumulated number of items completed in this time frame, by observing the diagram’s ‘Done’ area.
By switching between 'process' and 'states' in your WIP tooltip, you can see both your total WIP and the WIP in each column on your board in Asana.
At any point along the graph, the horizontal difference between the top and the bottom line of a CFD area exposes your process's approximate average cycle time. It shows your approximate average cycle time taken for your team to complete their tasks.
Compare the approximate average cycle time from your CFD with the exact average cycle time from your Cycle Time Histogram for Asana. Monitoring both of them can give you a good understanding of your process performance. By aiming to keep these values equal, you are effectively working towards maintaining a stable system.
The bottom line of your CFD represents the ‘Done’ state from your process. Observe this line to measure the amount of work your team has delivered. Your average throughput can be calculated by measuring the slope of the line between any two points. A productive and self-organized team will be able to complete tasks quickly, which will be represented by a rapidly growing ‘Done’ area.
Watch out for a flatter gradient in your ‘Done’ area - this is a warning that your delivery times are getting longer.
The graph’s top line represents the arrival rate of tasks, and the bottom line shows task departures. These are the rates at which you start new work and finish outstanding work.
Monitoring the movement of these lines is essential when it comes to maintaining a stable system. To achieve a predictable workflow, strive to keep your WIP as consistent as possible. A consistent WIP is illustrated by the arrival and departure rate lines growing in sync, with the distance between them staying equal.
The ‘Arrival and Throughput Rates’ widget on the Cumulative Flow Diagram for Asana enables you to track how your arrival and throughput rates move over a selected time frame. These lines should, ideally, overlap with each other.
If the arrival line is rising, this denotes that you’re starting work faster than you finish it and your team is working on more tasks than they are able to handle at a time. The downsides that come with a higher arrival rate include increased WIP, increased cycle times, reduced team efficiency and potential delays.
With the CFD, you can evaluate the stability of your system and quickly identify any problem areas in your process. If your system is stable, the average arrival rate will be roughly equal to the average throughput rate. This means that the tasks are arriving in the process at the same speed as they are leaving it.
Based on Little's Law, Average Cycle Time = Average Work In Progress / Average Throughput. This equation and the assumptions behind it are the cruces to establishing a healthy process.
The Cumulative Flow Diagram for Asana gives you an instant insight into the exact amount of work in each state of your process. If one or more of the areas that represent WIP start expanding, this is a sign pointing to a bottleneck in your workflow.
Remember to account for changes like a team member leaving or any public holidays before jumping to conclusions, these factors could provide explanations for an unexpected spike in your CFD.