The Burndown chart shows you the amount of work done in a time period or sprint and the total work left. Burndown charts are used to predict when your team is likely to complete its work in the allotted time. In other words, the Burndown chart is a tool that will be used by agile teams to gather information about the work done on a project and the work that needs to be done over a period of time. In this article, we try to examine this important tool and consider its types and limitations.
What is a Burndown Chart?
As mentioned, the Burndown chart is a measurement tool that shows how much work is left over a given period of time. The name “Burndown” comes from reducing the number of jobs left as you progress. Burndown creates a slope with a slope that indicates how much work is left before the deadline. In an ideal world, this would be a straight line. This means that no obstacles are created during development. Of course, this is not the case.
The Burndown diagram consists of a vertical Y-axis (workload) and a horizontal X-axis (timeline). Typically, the slope starts at the top of the graph attached to the Y-axis and is so-called “burns” until it hits the ground and everything is done.
Types of Burndown chart
Two types of Burndown charts are available:
- Burndown Sprint Chart: Focus on Repetition
- Product Burndown Chart: This shows the remaining tasks for the entire project.
During a sprint planning session, all tasks are defined and placed on the vertical axis of the chart. Instead of work, you can also inject story points or hours into the chart. On the other hand, if you use a product variable diagram, the product backlog items are displayed on the Y-axis and the number of sprints on the X-axis.
Why is it important to use the Burndown chart?
One of the main reasons for using prominent charts among agile teams is that it clearly shows the speed of work progress. Speed of progress means team efforts related to User Stories or dedicated tasks during the project repetition process. To calculate the speed of teamwork, it is enough to divide the amount of work done by the number of days. Encourage team members to attend scrum meetings to improve work speed.
How to read a Burndown chart?
Look at the X-axis. Specify whether days, weeks, or months are shown on the X-axis.
Now, consider the Y-axis. Does it indicate tasks? Story Tips? Or working hours?
Specify the ideal line. The ideal line is a predicted slope that depicts how the team is progressing in a complete world. This line serves as a guide for you.
Follow the real line. Based on the ideal line, by comparing it to the actual effort line, you can tell if you are behind or ahead of time.
Here are some examples of Burndown charts for four sprints:
The image above shows a performance chart of a fully organized team. The team is neither behind nor ahead of schedule. This team completes the final task on time. There is no need to adjust in this case.
This idea is a very common chart for experienced agile teams. This chart shows that the team started slowly but eventually got caught. During the Retro session, the team must find the right way to start late so that this Burndown chart looks like the first chart.
This chart shows that the team has started slowly and is moving backward from the program. However, the team was able to complete its work in a timely manner. During the retro scrum session, changes must be made to this team. Whether transferring low-priority tasks to a future sprint or returning to a product backup session.
In this chart, it is clear that the team has missed the deadline. In this case, the capacity of the next sprint must “burn” or decrease, so the team can have time to complete tasks or story points related to the previous sprint.
In this chart, the team may have overestimated the project timeline. Scrum Master should help the team to correct incorrect estimates.
What is the average Burndown chart rate?
The average Burndown rate, also known as the ideal line, guides the team during project development. It starts at the top of the Y-axis and ends at the far right of the X-axis. It is worth noting that not all tasks may be recognized at the start of the sprint. The backlog program may change, which will also reflect the individual chart. However, the team needs to focus more on how well they deliver than what they have done. There are scenarios in which teams just spin their wheels. Try to avoid such cases.
The result of Burndown chart
Burndown charts are one of the best ways to track your team’s progress and make workflow adjustments as needed. If the creep phenomenon occurs frequently in your work, you can also use Burnup diagrams. Burnup charts keep your customers informed.