Cumulative Flow Diagram (CFD)

A Cumulative Flow Diagram (CFD) is a graph to visualize the flow of value through a system. A CFD is a valuable tool to Inspect - visually, the value delivered, work in progress and the amount of work in the backlog.

The X-axis represents Time / Timeline.

The Y-axis could represent multiple variables simultanously such as - Number of Work Items Completed, Work-In-Progress and the amount of work in the backlog.

These different variables are represented using different colors in a graph that either goes up or stays stable throughout the duration for which the graph is plotted.

It helps to visually 'inspect' inconsistencies in the workflow / process, built up of work in the backlog, and to help adapt processes.

The CFD helps identify the:

  • Cycle time
  • Throughput and
  • Work in Progress.

The CFD may also be used as a complimentary practice for Scrum Teams to reveal their planning, execution and value delivery cadence.

Also see: Burn Down Chart, Burn Up Chart