An example of a Burndown Chart created using Jira

If you’re not using burndown charts for project management, you might want to consider adding them to your repertoire.

Visual tools are great for managing projects, as they can quickly and easily communicate status and timelines to the project team.

They can also be very useful when presenting updates to stakeholders, particularly those at the C-level.

Let’s take a look at what a burndown chart is and how you can create one.

What is a Burndown Chart?

A burndown chart is a graphical representation of the work that has been done vs. the work that remains to be completed in a project.

It is used in agile development and project management as a tool to track the progress of the project and determine whether it is on schedule. Scrum Masters and Scrum Teams employ burndown charts frequently in agile projects and particularly in software development.

The burndown chart shows how much work remains at any given point in time, and can help identify potential problems early on so that they can be addressed quickly.

This completed vs. remaining representation can also help tremendously if you need to generate an updated timeline estimate for finishing the current sprint or the project as a whole.

  • RELATED: How Agile Project Managers Lead Software Development Teams To Success


    How to Create a Burndown Chart

    To create a burndown chart, you will need to first determine the total amount of work that needs to be completed in the project.

    This can be done by estimating the number of hours or days required for each task.

    Once you have this information, you can create a graphical representation of it using a software program like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. The image at the top of this article is of a burndown chart created in Jira.

    Elements of a Burndown Chart

    There are four key elements of a burndown chart:

    • 1. X-axis
    • 2. Y-axis
    • 3. Ideal timeline
    • 4. Actual timeline

    The X-axis is the chart’s horizontal axis, and it typically signifies the time in a given sprint or project.

    The Y-axis is the vertical axis of the chart, and it is used to denote the work that must be done within the sprint or project.

    The ideal timeline is essentially the guide that connects the start to the finish, encompassing all the work that must be done within that time. This line is the baseline to indicate where the project team should be at any given point along the way.

    The actual timeline is the line that shows where the project actually is at the current moment. This line will generally fluctuate above and below the ideal timeline as the project progresses. Comparing this line to the ideal one can tell the project team at a quick glance whether they are on track or need to make adjustments.

    Conclusion: Using Burndown Charts in Project Management

    The burndown chart is a valuable tool for project managers and agile development teams, as it provides a clear picture of the work remaining to be done and can help identify potential problems early on.

    By using a burndown chart, you can ensure that your project stays on track and avoid any costly delays.