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Cumulative Flow Diagram: A valuable tool for improving workflow

An excellent guide that can be read quickly and will be useful in the search for continuous improvement of work processes.

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“Flow is essential to managing modern work and enabling customer satisfaction. The Cumulative Flow Diagram (CFD) is very efficient as it provides a lot of information in a single image. People often struggle to interpret and master the use of CFDs, but Paulo’s book provides step-by-step guidance to maximize your understanding and demystify this important tool.” – David J. Anderson, author of Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business and several other books.


“This book easily teaches you how to build and interpret a CFD over a period of time. Caroli, once again, shows us that it is possible to approach a new subject in a playful way.” – Andrea Pinto, translator of Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business and co-author of Lean Delivery Training and Book: Guiding Building the MVP with Scrum and Kanban.


Can you imagine how great it would be to have a tool to optimize your work?

It was with this in mind that author Paulo Caroli wrote this practical and objective guide in which he shares his knowledge about the Cumulative Flow Diagram (CFD). The content of this book will be another ally in your search for efficiency and continuous improvement! In addition to being simple, CFD is a very valuable and effective tool to see your workflow and then improve the efficiency of your process.

What are the main functions of CFD?

The Cumulative Flow Diagram has two main functions for project management. The first is to track and predict the completion of work items; the second is to indicate the need to act on the flow and process of improvement.

How do I know if the CFD will work for my project?

By learning the content in the book, you will be able to adapt the Diagram for all types of workflows, from the simplest to the most complex. Especially for projects with several stages, it is very important to have a tool to assist in the management and monitoring of each one of them.

And what am I going to use the CFD for?

Among other functions, you’ll be able to use Diagram to contribute to the control of your projects, no matter how complex they are; calculate the flow parameters of your system and each step; systematize all project items and control the input and output of work items to detect instabilities and act on them.

Examples of flow parameters

  • Work in Progress is the number of work items in progress in the system at the current time.
  • Lead Time is the period between the work item being added and it leaving the system.
  • Throughput is the throughput or time quantity of work items passing through the system.
  • Cycle Time is the frequency or time interval when work items are completed.

About the Author

Paulo Caroli

Paulo Caroli is a passionate professional. Yes, passionate about innovations, entrepreneurship, digital products, projects, people, challenges, solutions and transformations.

The book Lean Inception brings together all his years of experience as a facilitator of inception workshops for several companies, as a Thoughtworks Principal Consultant.

Since 2006, he has focused his experience on Agile & Lean processes and practices, which is why his method has won many readers around the world. Lean Inception has already been released in four languages, in addition to being a best seller on Amazon!

As a software engineer, author, speaker and facilitator, Caroli has helped many people and companies make their projects come to life!

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What others have said about this book

Great book, I thought it was very good value for money. It cover all the topics I needed at the level I required.

Mark Parkes

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