Burndown and Burnup Charts

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Burndown chart is the most important tracking tool for Agile projects. ScrumPad provides both Burndown and Burnup charts. You can see burndown chart in either remaining hours/days (a.k.a., track remaining), if you are tracking actual time, or in remaining points (a.k.a, track done), if you are only tracking points.

Burn-down charts


A burn-down chart tracks how much work remains on your project and whether you’ll hit your deadline. The vertical axis measures work remaining. The horizontal axis marks your iterations, and you should mark which iteration is your target end date for the project. After each iteration you mark your progress on the chart and you can project forward to see whether or not you’ll hit your target end date.

In the 'Burn-Down Chart' diagram above we’ve gone four iterations, and the dotted line (the projection) suggests we’ve fallen quite badly behind schedule. After the first iteration you can see we were making good progress, but things changed in the second iteration and alarm bells should have sounded. The project manager should have started doing something then.

Burn-up charts


A burn-up chart tracks how much work is done. But it shows more information than a burn-down chart because it also has a line showing how much work is in the project as whole (the scope as workload), and this can change. On the burn-down chart it is harder to show a changing goal.

In the 'Burn-Up Chart' the bottom line is the work done and the top line is the total scope. Dotted lines show projections. We can see that the scope remained steady for the first few iterations, and we would have expected to make the deadline. But scope increased around the fifth iteration. Even this wouldn’t have been too bad if that had been the end of it, but it continued to increase after that. The projections show that we won’t make the target deadline at our current rate of scope creep. In fact we probably won’t even make it if the scope remains steady.


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