Knowledge Base


Cumulative Flow Report

In this article

Access this report

  1. Click the Metrics icon Options in the top/right navigation.
  2. Click on the section Flow in the Metrics menu.

Generate this report

The Flow report is extremely useful to track your progress, with the following options to display the data:

Flow Report

Track your cards flow over time

As you flow cards on your Kanban board, each column is associated with a stage of your overall process. Over time you can see how all your cards flow across these stages of your process. This report is very useful in Kanban because it provides the ideal way to track your progress by seeing how each stage evolves over time. Here are tips to help you read this report:

  • The Backlog, To Do, and Buffer stages can grow over time, but if they keep growing faster than your Done stage, then your work is not moving fast enough within the In Progress stage. This can mean that you are creating work faster than you can deliver it, or that you don’t have enough processing power (people or machines) to deliver your work on this board, and therefore the work is getting bottle-necked.
  • The In Progress stage should stay within a certain size based on the Work In Progress (WIP) limits on your board. Don’t forget that having WIP limits is one of the Kanban properties that helps you flow your work more efficiently. In our example below, the In Progress stage has grown over time because we increased the WIP limit due to new members joining this board. Ultimately the size of this flow on this report should match your WIP limit and this is the report you need to confirm that.
  • The Done stage should always be growing. If it stops growing then you are no longer completing any new work. The angle of the line for each period should also inform you about the trend for that period.

Under the board editor in Kanban Zone, you can assign each column of your board to one of the following states:

  • To Do – cards that are not ready to be worked on yet
  • Buffer – cards that are ready to be pulled
  • In Progress – cards that are actively being work on
  • Done – cards that are done
  • None – cards that you want to exclude from the metrics

Board Editor - 5 column states The other two states (Backlog and Cancelled) show on the Cumulative Flow Diagram but they can’t be selected under the board editor. These two states can’t be assigned to the columns that you manage on your board, because they are associated with the two default columns that are always available on all boards in Kanban Zone (Backlog and Archive).

  • Backlog – cards in the backlog column, which is the first column on the left of every board where every new card starts on your board
  • Canceled – cards in the archived column that never touched a Done column. If you want to prevent cards from being marked as canceled, then make sure that your cards move into a Done column prior to being archived. Once you archive a card that never touched a Done column, it will be set as canceled.

Show Detailed Data

Click on the “Show Details” button below the chart to display extended card data related to this chart. You can sort, filter and export this data.

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