Cumulative Flow Chart

The Cumulative Flow Chart provides project managers a timeline. To me, it is an invaluable asset for teams that want to stay on top of their projects. Keeping a good track of project progress gives us numerous benefits. The most important of these are being one step ahead of potential problems, reaching goals, being aware of deadlines and budget constraints. Once having this awareness everything will be easier.

By following this diagram, project teams will have an idea of how many tasks have been completed and how and at what pace progress has been made. With this knowledge, project teams are better equipped to achieve their goals and ultimately the ultimate goal of success. By using this data, the project team can predict potential obstacles or the project schedule can be revised as needed. The cumulative flow diagram is especially useful when using agile project management approaches that use several sprints or iterative processes. This is why i like this diagram very much.

Whenever you complete a task, the number in your 'process is done' stage will rise permanently. Each stage has an arrival and a departure line. The vertical distance between them visualizes the number of tasks that were in this stage of your workflow at the 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. Let's take a look at the workflow of an example software development team. Their process involves five stages. A quick look at the chart tells you more about their approximate average cycle time of two weeks along with the number of tasks completed during that period.

In order to determine whether their process is stable, we need to monitor how the chart progresses in time. If the distance between the arrival and departure lines grows in parallel, then most likely we've got nothing to worry about. However, if it starts to expand rapidly, then tasks are arriving faster than they can be processed and we need to take action. Remember, a properly built cumulative flow diagram always flows upward or sideways. If you ever see a line going down, then the chart is incorrect since tasks should never disappear.

By using cumulative flowcharts, project teams gain a deeper and more robust understanding of their operations. This makes it possible for teams to quickly identify where changes need to be made. This may include long assignments, unnecessarily repetitive, or out-of-the-ordinary tasks. By improving workflow, teams can increase project results and reduce the likelihood of delayed results or overspending.

See also: Flow Diagrams

Scatter Diagram

Influence Diagram

Tornado Diagram