Determine the cycle time

ALM Octane tracks cycle time for features and epics, as well as other work items, such as user stories, quality stories, and defects.

This topic describes how the average cycle time is calculated.

Cycle time overview

By default, an item's cycle time is defined as the number of days it took the item to move from the In Progress to Done metaphase. An item's average cycle time implies the average time that all the work items spent in a range of phases included in the release cycle.

ValueEdge: ALM Octane also helps you track flow time for features. Unlike the cycle time, the feature flow time includes activities that are part of the In Delivery metaphase, in addition to the In Progress metaphase. This provides greater visibility of your delivery process, and helps optimize your workflow by tracking waste time and identifying bottlenecks in a feature timeline.

For details on the timeline, see Analyze release progress and quality.

If you use widgets for cycle time analysis, you can customize the phases to include in the cycle time separately in each widget.

For widgets that help you track the average cycle time for work items, see:

The cycle time widgets also include Insight cards that provide you with additional analytics. These analytics can help you identify correlations, anomalies, trend behavior, and bottlenecks. For details, see ALM Octane insights.

Cycle time tracking

The following factors affect the average cycle time calculation:

  • Phase completion
  • Moving back and forth between phases
  • Calendar events

Phase completion

The trigger for calculating and storing the cycle time for each phase is the transition out event of an item from the phase. For example, the number of days an item spent in the New phase is only calculated after the item moves to In Progress.


  • Items with the phase time of less than an hour are not included in the phase's average calculation. Also, if an item's phase is incomplete, the calculation of the average phase time will not be precise.
  • Items that have not reached their end phase or have skipped their start phase, as defined in the widget scope, are not included in the average cycle time calculation.
  • Items in the Done metaphase with zero cycle time are not included in the average cycle time calculation. This may happen when an item moves from metaphase New directly to Done, skipping the In Progress or In Testing metaphase.

Moving back and forth between phases

The cycle time includes a sum of all days that an item spent in each phase included in the cycle. For example, if a feature was in the In Progress phase, moved to the In Testing phase, moved back to In Progress, and out again, the cycle time will include all days of the In Progress phase, even though they were not sequential.

In summary, a work item's cycle time is the sum of all the days spent in each of the item's phases, from start to end phase.

Note: If an item moves back to the phase that is not included in the cycle, the time spent in that phase is not considered. For example, if a feature's start phase is In Progress, and it has spent some time in this phase, but then moved back to the New phase, the time spent in New is not included.

Calendar events

Cycle time measurements do not include non-workday calendar events configured for your workspace or team. For example, if your calendar events indicate a holiday on a certain day, and a weekend on Saturday and Sunday, these days will be subtracted from the sum total of days. They will not influence the actual cycle time of an item.

Cycle time calculation for cycles with missing data

When ALM Octane calculates cycle time in a given scope, such as a release, milestone, or sprint, it may encounter items that are missing data.

Missing data may be a result of:

  • Unfinished items, such as backlog items, that have not reached their final phase.

  • Backlog items that are missing measurements from some phases, due to the way the workflow was designed.

Note: If an item's phase time is missing, or the phase is incomplete, cycle time widgets will not consider this item for calculating the average cycle time.

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Feature average cycle time widgets

ALM Octane provides several Dashboard widgets to help you track the cycle time for your features and other work items, such as user stories, quality stories, and defects in a specific scope.

For details, see Dashboard widgets: general.

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