Measure waste

ALM Octane helps you track waste time for features, epics, and other backlog items. You can analyze the scope of waste per work item, release, or team.


Waste tracking is based on a work item's phases or specific conditions associated with waste. Depending on an item's phase or condition, the business rule associates the item with a category from the Waste category list. ALM Octane then decides whether to track waste based on the waste category.

You can track waste time for items in the In Progress, In Testing, and In Delivery (ValueEdge) metaphases. Waste tracking is not available for items in the New and Done metaphases. For details on the item workflow, see Workflow phases and transitions.

The following rules apply to tracking waste for backlog items:

Item Details
Duplicated item When a backlog item is duplicated, waste tracking for a new item starts from scratch.
Converted item

When a backlog item is converted, waste tracking for a new item starts from scratch.

For example, when a defect is converted to a feature, the defect's waste time is reset, and waste tracking for the feature starts from scratch.

An item moved to another workspace

When an item is moved to another workspace, the item's waste time remains unchanged, and continues being measured in the target workspace.


  • An item's source workspace phases are available in the target workspace timeline, even if the phases do not exist in the target workflow.
  • Waste is not tracked for phases that are not associated with waste in the target workspace.

    If an item's phase was associated with waste in the source workspace, but not in the target workspace, waste tracking for that phase stops when the item moves to the target workspace.

    Any waste associated with this phase, already recorded in the source workspace, is transferred to the target workspace. No extra waste time in the same phase is added after the item moves to the target workspace.

Note: Waste time of an item, such as feature or epic, is not an aggregation of its child items' waste time. In some cases, a parent item may not have waste, unlike its child items.

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To be able to track waste, ensure that your admin has defined the following:

  • Waste categories
  • Business rules that associate items with waste categories

For details, see Waste management - admin tasks.

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Analyze waste

ALM Octane helps you analyze waste with the help of the following views:

Views Details
Grid view

In the grid view, add specific columns to analyze waste. For details, see Fields to analyze waste.

Timeline view

In the Gantt chart, the waste time is displayed as a red line under the item timeline bars. If an item moves between phases that are not associated with waste categories, a break in the red line is displayed.

Dashboard widgets

In the dashboard, you can add a custom summary widget and configure it to display:

  • Work items waste time across releases
  • Work items waste time per team or category

ValueEdge: You can also use the following widgets from the Value stream management category:

  • Flow efficiency trend - waste over time
  • Waste time grouped by category over time

For details, see Dashboard widgets: VSM category.

Note: In the widget, a work item can be listed under different categories if it has waste associated with those categories.

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Fields to analyze waste

The following fields are available to help you track and analyze waste. You can include the fields in the document view or add them to the grids.

Field Description
Cycle time / Flow time

Displays the total time spent on an item in days. Use the data in these columns to consider an item's waste time in relation to the item's overall cycle or flow time.

An item's cycle and flow times are calculated as follows:

  • By default, time calculation starts when an item moves to the In Progress metaphase. If the item is in the New metaphase, the time displayed is 0.
  • If an item moves back to metaphase New after being In Progress for some time, the overall time spent in the New metaphase is excluded from the item cycle/flow time.
  • Non-working days are excluded from the cycle/flow time calculation.

Note: Flow time tracking for features and backlog items is only available in ValueEdge. Flow time tracking is not available for epics.

For details, see Cycle and flow times.

Waste category

Displays the category defined in the Waste category list. The category displayed depends on an item's current phase and whether the item meets the condition of a relevant business rule:

  • If an item's phase is associated with a waste category specified in the business rule, the waste category is displayed.
  • If an item's phase is not associated with any waste category, the default category of None is displayed.

Note: The waste category is automatically updated every time an item is saved.


Displays the time an item spent in a phase associated with a current waste category, as specified in the business rule condition.

Non-working days are excluded from the waste calculation.

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See also: