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Scrum Artifact: Burn Down Chart

The Burn Down Chart

Definition

A burn-down chart is a graphical representation that shows the progress made during the development cycle.

The Burn Down Chart can be used to show outstanding work for a release or for a sprint and in both cases, the chart represents the amount of work remaining for the completion of the release or sprint versus time.

How the Burn Down Chart works?

The vertical axis (Y-axis) of the chart presents the work remaining to complete the release or sprint while the horizontal axis (X-axis) represents the time.

Scrum Burn Down Chart

Scrum Burn Down Chart

The chart typically presents 2 lines going from the top left section of the chart towards the bottom right.  While the first line presents an estimate of work delivered over time, the second line shows the actual values. As such, the Burn Down Chart is useful for predicting when the work scheduled for the current release or sprint will be completed.

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7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Hi There – This is a nice, concise blog – I look forward to reading more of your posts!!

    We are currently building an Agile Development Solution and the burn-down chart will be core functionality. Do you find that you use burn down charts both at a Release and an Iteration/Sprint level?

    Adam Feldman
    http://brightgreenprojects.com

    July 2, 2009
    • Most projects I have worked with use the burn down chart at the Sprint level as it provides them timely information on the health of their sprint. Using the burn down chart at the release level provides you information on the performance of your team over time but since many factors can impact the team’s performance, the release level chart may not always be as meaningful.

      July 2, 2009
  2. Hi Martin – I agree, the chart is much more meaningful at the sprint level. As a first release, we are just going to use it at this level.

    I have never used a Release Burn Down chart myself, but I do hear a load of people talking about them. Thanks for bouncing this idea around.

    Adam

    PS. Happy Canada Day!

    July 3, 2009
  3. Generally, I prefer the burn-up to the burn-down.

    Here’s a nice post on the subject: http://niksilver.com/2008/01/19/burn-up-and-burn-down-charts/

    These charts are used for planning and should always reflect reality. They are not intended to measure team performance. They do motivate, but they can also inform management of the need to cut (or sometimes even increase) scope.

    August 17, 2009
  4. Igor #

    We’ve been searching for a good tool to create burndowncharts and finally found http://www.burndownchart.nl
    It’s free and very easy to use

    November 12, 2010

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