What is burn-up chart in agility

Burndown chart in agile project management (Scrum)

In agile (e.g. in projects) it is almost the order of the day that plan and reality go their separate ways. Therefore, agile teams need control to keep an eye on their project progress.

The Burndown chart serves as a visual planning, control and control tool. In this article you can read how to use the graphic in your project work and what benefits the burn-down chart will bring you.

Burndown Chart Features and Uses

In February 2001, seventeen people met in Snowbird, Utah to discuss their understanding of agile working methods. After this meeting, the agile manifesto was created in which the participants documented the values ​​of the agile way of working. This declaration of principle provided the basis for agile work.

However, the Scrum Guide (PDF) is used for practical implementation. This framework, for the development and maintenance of complex products, describes artifacts to which the Burndown chart heard as follows:

“Artifacts from Scrum represent work or value to create transparency and opportunities for review and adjustment. The artifacts defined in Scrum were specially designed in such a way that they maximize the transparency of the essential information in order to create an equal understanding of the artifact for everyone. "

The Scrum Guide provides information on the Burndown Chart as follows:

“Various planning practices are used to forecast progress, such as burndown or burnup diagrams. These have proven useful, but they do not replace the importance of the empirical approach. In complex environments, future events cannot be predicted. Only what has happened gives clues for future-oriented decision-making. "

Like much else in agile, it is up to the agile project manager to do the select the appropriate method for his project and use.

There are no rules as to whether and how they do that Burn-down chart for progress monitoring is to be used. However, since countless teams consistently use this in their day-to-day business to monitor progress, the added value is obvious.

Burndown Chart - Advantages and Benefits

Burndown charts have established themselves in several fields of application: As sprint burndown or product burndown or release.

In this article, I'll focus on using the burndown chart in a sprint.

  • The burndown chart provides the product owner, scrum master and developer team timely information to the following questions: What workload, measured in story points, can the developer team handle in the time available? Can you manage to complete the planned requirements on time? Are the planned milestones being met?
  • The daily work status is the basis of one thing Early warning system. Are we on schedule or are we just drifting away? The people involved perceive difficulties earlier when Actual values ​​from plan values differ. This gives them more time to prepare suitable measures.
  • Risk management: Problems arising in the progress of project work become visible immediately.
  • Communication: Information from the graphic can be used in condensed form for the Stakeholder management be used. It is a Indicates good project workif the team can provide information at any time. Answers to questions about tasks still to be done signaled: We have the project order under control.
  • The burndown chart itself outlines the number of story points or number of hoursremaining until the end of the sprint. It does not provide information about the type and content of the workthat have been completed.
  • In agile software development supports the Scrum Master the team to develop the chart for first use. The team is responsible for daily use and maintenance of the content.

Project example

In previous posts I used the as a practical example Development of a fictitious e-learning portal. It offers seminars to future project managers as they prepare for certification with professional support.

A registration interface for existing customers must be created for the portal, as well as a registration option for new customers and a billing and information system. Tasks 1 to 12 stand for these activities, although they are not specified in detail below.

On the X-axis is the number of estimated working days worn away. The Y-axis shows the total hours worked by the teamThe blue curve visualizes the hours actually worked. The red curve reflects the original planning.

(Figure 1: example)

The graphic shows the Downward movement, with which every working day the work still to be done burns to zero. Ideally, both curves are on top of each other and intersect the X-axis at the same time at the end of the sprint.

The diagram curve in provides a series for the master and team valuable information:

  • The status of work for the current day
  • The history of the past few days
  • The remaining work until the end of the sprint
  • The statement as to whether the team will finish the work on time

Three tips for using the burndown chart effectively

  • The burndown chart shows the remaining effort in relation to the time axis. Use the graphic for your own Progress control. Communicate the progress to your stakeholders. But don't let management put pressure on team members by demanding faster development.
  • Use the graphic as a Motivatorwhere you can post them as a shared notice at any time visible to all actors and visitors do. Attach the chart to a wall in the team office. Every employee, every visitor can see how their work is going (or not). Take advantage of the public presentation for joint discussions - ideally while standing.
  • Take care of that Topicality of information. Ask the team to add their current status to the overview immediately before the Daily Scrum Meeting.


Template: Burn-Down-Chart for download

You can find one in a post by Capterra Burndown chart template for free download.



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About the author

Werner Plewa

Project manager, expert in professional development and personnel development. Contact request also at XING: