Newbee to the agile world, we are practicing kanban in our organization and we use Jira to manage our flows. I am trying to understand the CFD Jira generates for us, but the whole CFD idea confuses me. enter image description here

Can anyone give me an overview of this CFD, this is generated with real data so I will be able to understand it clearly.

Thank you.

  • 1
    Your review queue is growing, but very little is “done.” If this isn’t expected, it’s likely showing you a slowly-increasing flow problem over the covered 7-day period.
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Commented Dec 19, 2020 at 20:59
  • 1
    For an explanation of such diagrams, you might look at articles like this one. Note that the article is tied to some product named Zepel, but I couldn't find a more agnostic reference on Wikipedia. You might also research Kanban, which often leverages CFD diagrams with greater regularity than Scrum, which more often tends to use burn-down charts. CFD and burndowns aren't tied to either framework, though.
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Commented Dec 19, 2020 at 23:06

2 Answers 2


The CFD shows where you have a potential road block in your workflow. The width of each of color represents how many work items are in each step of your flow, from backlog through done. What you are looking for, and what you want, is generally a steady width of color for each of those steps, except for the first and last step. Eventually, as backlog diminishes, then the color will decrease while the color in done will increase. The middle steps all should have generally the same width across time until work begins to lessen. What you don't want is the width of one or more steps to increase.

Interpreting your data here, generally, your work steps appear to be flowing nicely, except for "review." You can see the width steadily increasing. Is it a problem? It's unknown at this stage because you need to see if it there is a steady state in the review step of your process. The growth in the width may stop now and remain steady throughout your work period. But it requires watching closely to see if there is something going wrong with your review step such as not enough staff or other performance issues.


In addition to the tips above:

  1. Vertical distance across or between color bands represents the amount of WIP in those stages at that time.
  2. Horizontal distance across or between color bands represents the average lead time across those stages at that time.
  3. The slope of the lines represents the rate at which something happens (which should be more or less the same across all stages or you will have queues building up.) At the top it is the creation rate of items. At the bottom it is the throughput.

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