Burndown Chart: What Is It & How to Use one for Agile?

In this tutorial, we’ll explain how to monitor your sprints and epics using burndown charts in Jira Software. “The disadvantage of a burndown chart is that it often distracts teams from understanding what is going on under the surface as they focus on improving the chart itself. It leads to wrongly-prioritized backlog, unclear requirements, unrealistic expectations, and deadlines.” — Thierry defect burndown chart Tremblay, CEO & Founder at Kohezion. In this case, the next sprint’s capacity should be “burned down” or decreased, so the team can have time to complete tasks or story points from the previous sprint. A burndown chart consists of a vertical Y-axis and a horizontal X one. The latter displays the timeline whereas the previous shows the amount of work.

Your actual work line will most likely not be a perfectly straight line once plotted on your burndown chart. It’s normal to see ebbs and flows of effort, as most projects run into some deviations along the way. The estimation statistic is important because it’s used to calculate team velocity. For each sprint, the velocity is the sum of the Estimation Statistic for completed stories.

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Remember this article is only on the Sprint Burn Down chart. The Epic and Release burndown can be plotted using Story Points. Consider talking with your PO, to act out the worst-case scenario, and identify the lowest priority story and most critical stories. Keeping in mind individual capacity from the tester and development perspective.

defect burndown chart

This report shows the amount of work to be done in a sprint. It can be used to track the total work remaining in the sprint, and to project the likelihood of achieving the sprint goal. By tracking the remaining work throughout the sprint, a team can manage its progress, and respond to trends accordingly. For example, if the burndown chart shows that the team may not reach the sprint goal, then they can take the necessary actions to stay on track. The burnup chart’s vertical axis shows the amount of work, be it story points or work hours.

Maintain a balance (and a connection) between business and agile metrics

Most project management training focuses on processes and workflows over data analysis for a good reason. Hygger’s kanban boards come with time tracking, swimlanes, work in progress limits, burndown reports & charts. Stories are typically larger than tasks and take longer to complete. Try to break your stories into smaller tasks and put those on the burndown chart. Big stories lead to a stair-shaped line that is inaccurate and ugly. In this scenario, the team might have overestimated the project’s timeline.

  • It shows that the team started slowly but eventually caught up.
  • If you’re hoarding reports or only sharing them with a select few project stakeholders, you’re doing yourself and your team a disservice.
  • The project starting point is the farthest point to the left of the chart and occurs on day zero of the project or iteration.
  • After all, it’s embarrassing to admit that you just spent six hours on a task, but the number of hours remaining has only been reduced by two.
  • The downside is that management may construe it as slacking off.
  • Use this free Project Plan Template for Word to manage your projects better.
  • The latter displays the timeline whereas the previous shows the amount of work.

It’s not uncommon for them to do so by reducing it by the amount of time they worked on it, not by the amount they honestly think remains. After all, it’s embarrassing to admit that you just spent six hours on a task, but the number of hours remaining has only been reduced by two. As a result, the discovery of problems is significantly delayed since the chart shows a distorted view. Draw a straight line for the estimated tasks remaining from the highest point on the y-axis to the lowest point on the x-axis. You can estimate the time required to complete a project successfully through story points and project scope. Take into account your team’s historical project performance analysis.

Limitations of burndown charts

Tracking refers to using those estimates to ensure work is on-track for completion. The ideal line is a projected slope that depicts how the team progress would look like in a perfect world. If you are presenting project progress to the same audience on a regular basis, for example weekly customer progress meetings, you are probably better off with a burn up.

defect burndown chart

However, scope change is not indicated in the Burndown Chart for the subtask. Learn more about the difference between company-managed and team-managed projects. Taking charts and metrics out of context is a quick path to alienating your teammates. If you’re hoarding reports or only sharing them with a select few project stakeholders, you’re doing yourself and your team a disservice.

Step 2: Estimate your issues

However, if the actual work line is below the ideal work line, there is less work left than originally predicted and the project is ahead of schedule. Here is an example of what your burndown chart would look like with this example. Use our sprint planning template to keep your next sprint on track.

defect burndown chart

The Atlassian Community can help you and your team get more value out of Atlassian products and practices. If you notice that the actual line is touching the ground much before the ideal line, that means one or more of these. Refer to the below picture to get a visual of the capacity burn down the line. Click How to read this chart at the top of the report to view a short description of the report. Story points are values you agree on as a team that represent the relative investment of a task. However, there are some small yet critical errors you can make when using them.

Components of a Burndown Chart

Team B paid attention to sprint burndown and Team A focused on delivering value. But as you move up the project management ladder, it’s time to move on to more significant, better, more powerful tools. Agile metrics and kpi’s are just one part of building a team’s culture. They give quantitative insight into the team’s performance and provide measurable goals for the team. Use both quantitative and qualitative feedback to drive change.

defect burndown chart

The «ideal» line represents the ideally spread closing of issues within the chosen time frame and takes your non-working days into account. That’s how we’re going to approach agile reports–as purposeful and valuable representations of your team’s work. Here are five of them you should know, why they’re important, and how you can make them in your project management tool of choice. Don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar with most of the terms we just used. The idea is to understand the purpose of using data in project management before diving into the actual charts and reports that illustrate them. ClickUp’s burndown charts illustrate a third line, a project progress line highlighting how your progress would look like if you were to continue at the same working pace.

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It can be measured either in issues, story points, or hours. Burnup charts are useful in that they give you a quick view of your scope and how/if it’s changed. There’s no hiding additional requests or scope creep as it’s clearly displayed as a line across the top of your chart. A burndown chart is a fantastic tool for quickly seeing how your project is progressing. However, it has limitations when it comes to context and knowing why you’re not moving the way you want to. As a project manager, you might not be totally comfortable analyzing data.

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