Track the current state of your work. Observe the pace you start and finish your issues. Analyze your average delivery times.
In the Cumulative Flow Diagram for Jira (CFD), each colored area represents a status from your board in Jira. The diagram’s horizontal axis shows a timeline, while the vertical axis displays the number of issues in a certain status. The size of each area indicates how many issues currently exist in each status.
The key to achieving a stable process is to keep the number of issues within the WIP limits for each status.
By hovering over the graph, you can immediately see the number of work items in progress on a particular date. The ‘Done’ area indicates the accumulated number of issues completed in a particular time frame.
Try switching between 'process' and 'states' in your WIP tooltip. This will enable you to evaluate your total WIP or the WIP of each status from your board in Jira.
The horizontal distance between the top and the bottom line of a CFD area at any point along the graph indicates your approximate average cycle time. It tells you, on average, how long it took for issues to be completed on a selected day.
By comparing the approximate average cycle time from your CFD with the exact average cycle time from your Cycle Time Histogram for Jira, you can analyze your process performance. If you find that these values are roughly equal, you are successfully maintaining a stable system.
The bottom line of your CFD represents the ‘Done’ state from your process. By monitoring that line on the CFD, you can measure the amount of work your team has completed. The slope of that line between any two points shows your average throughput. If your team is productive and self-organized, they will be delivering results quickly and the ‘Done’ area will grow rapidly.
Watch out for a flattening gradient in your ‘Done’ area - slower growth is a red flag for long delivery times.
The top line of the graph shows the arrival rate of work items, and the bottom line shows the rate of their departures. These are the rates at which you start new work and finish outstanding work.
You need to monitor how these lines move over time. In order to maintain a stable system and achieve a predictable workflow, you must keep your WIP as consistent as possible. If the WIP is consistent, your arrival and departure rate lines will grow in sync and the distance between them will remain equal.
The ‘Arrival and Throughput Rates’ widget on the Cumulative Flow Diagram for Jira enables you to track the progress of your arrival and throughput rates over time. Ideally, you should see these lines overlap with each other.
If the arrival line is on the rise, you are starting new issues faster than you are finishing outstanding issues. This means that your team is working on more tasks than they are able to handle at a time. A higher arrival rate translates to increased WIP and usually leads to increased cycle times, reduced team efficiency and potential delays.
The Cumulative Flow Diagram for Jira enables you to evaluate the stability of your system and identify problem areas to achieve a predictable flow of work. In a stable system, the average arrival rate is close to the average throughput rate. This denotes that your issues are arriving into 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. If the math breaks down for you there’s no time like the present to take a closer look at your management practices.
The Cumulative Flow Diagram for Jira gives you instant insight into the exact number of issues in each state of your process. If one or more of the WIP areas start expanding, this signifies a bottleneck in that state and a problem affecting your performance.
Don’t forget to account for any changes such as team members leaving or any public holidays that would explain the spikes in your chart.