Configure a cumulative flow chart

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You use cumulative flow diagrams (CFD) to monitor the flow of work through a system. There are two CFD charts, the one viewed from the Kanban board and the one you access by adding the CFD widget to your dashboard.


Feature availability: The CFD widget is available only for VSTS at this time.

The CFD widget provides more configuration options than those supported by the default CFD charts shown on the backlog and board pages. With the CFD widget, you can monitor the count of work items as they progressively move through various states which you define. You can configure the CFD chart to monitor the flow of epics, features, user stories, product backlog items, or requirements, depending on the process (Agile, Scrum, or (CMMI) you've selected.

Use this topic to learn how to:

  • Install and configure the Cumulative Flow widget (Analytics service)
  • View and configure the built-in Cumulative Flow chart (work tracking datastore)

For usage guidance, see Cumulative flow, lead time, and cycle time guidance.

Configure the CFD widget


Feature availability: For VSTS, you can add the CFD widget to your dashboard. You need to first install the Analyics Marketplace extension. You can then add the widget(s) to your dashboard. You must be an account owner or a member of the Project Collection Administrator group to add extensions.

You will need to be a team administrator or a member of the Project Administrators group to perform these tasks. See Manage team assetsto get added as a team admin.

  1. If you haven't yet configured your Kanban board, do that now. Define the columns and swimlanes that support your workflow processes.

  2. If you want fixed scope CFD charts, make sure that you've defined the sprint iterations for those sprints of interest.

  3. To add a CFD chart to your team dashboard, see Add a widget to a dashboard. Add the Cumulative Flow Diagram widget.

    Cumulative flow diagram widget

  4. Click the Actions icon actions icon and choose the Configure option to open the configuration dialog. Modify the title, and then select the team, backlog level, swimlanes, and time period you want to monitor.

    Configure CFD chart

  5. For a continuous flow diagram, select Rolling period and specify the number of days you want to view on the chart.

    Or, for a fixed scope view, choose and specify the Start date. Choose this view if your team employs a Scrumban process or follows a standard sprint process.

    The main difference between these two types of CFD charts is that the fixed scope CFD will provide information (in most cases) of scope change.

  6. Choose the color. You can distinguish the CFD for different teams by choosing different colors.

  7. Click Save when done. The following image shows an example CFD chart showing 30 days of data.

    Example CFD chart, rolling 30 days

View the built-in cumulative flow chart

You open the built-in (work tracking datastore) cumulative flow chart for your backlog or portfolio backlog by clicking the image in the upper-right corner of your Work>Backlogs page.

Open the cumulative flow diagram

The CFD shows the count of items in each Kanban column for the past 30 weeks or less. From this chart you can gain an idea of the amount of work in progress and lead time. Work in progress counts unfinished requirements. Lead time indicates the amount of time it takes to complete a requirement once work has started.

Kanban board, cumulative flow diagram

Configure the built-in cumulative flow chart

Each team can set their preferences for the built-in cumulative flow charts.

  1. Open the backlog level for which you want to configure and then open the common configuration dialog. Click the gear icon gear icon.

    Kanban board, open common configuration settings

    If you're not a team admin, get added as one. Only team and project admins can customize the team Kanban boards and CFD charts.

  2. Click the Cumulative flow tab and specify the team's preferences.

    Kanban board, Common configuration dialog, Cumulative flow

  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for each backlog level you want to configure.

For the CFD chart to reflect useful information, you'll want to update the status of work items to reflect progress as it occurs. The quickest way to make these updates is through your Kanban board.

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