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Burndown Chart

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  1. 1. Burndown Chart vs Burnup Chart
  2. 2. Benefits of a Burndown Chart
  3. 3. Related Terms/Concepts
  4. 4. Conclusion
  5. 5. Frequently Asked Questions About Burndown Chart

Definition: A Burndown Chart is a graphical representation of work left to do versus time. It is a key tool in Agile and Scrum methodologies for tracking the progress of a Sprint or release.

The Burndown Chart is a powerful visual tool in Agile project management that helps teams understand how much work remains and whether they are on track to complete their tasks within the desired timeframe.

It is an effective way to communicate progress and potential challenges to team members and stakeholders, fostering transparency and accountability.

Burndown Chart vs Burnup Chart

Both Burndown and Burnup Charts are used to track project progress, but they display information differently:

  • Burndown Chart shows the amount of work that remains over time. It starts with the total scope of work and measures downwards as work is completed, thus, “burning down” to zero.
  • Burnup Chart, on the other hand, tracks the amount of work completed over time against the total scope of work. It shows two lines: one for the work completed and another for the total work scope, indicating how much work has been “burned up.”

Each type of chart offers different insights, and project teams may choose between them depending on which visualization is more helpful for their specific project needs.

Benefits of a Burndown Chart

The Burndown Chart provides several advantages for managing Agile projects:

  • Visual Measurement: It offers a clear, visual measure of the team’s progress against a timeline, which is easy to understand at a glance.
  • Predictability: Teams can use it to predict whether the work can be completed within the Sprint or project deadline.
  • Transparency: It exposes any deviations from the planned work rate, allowing for early detection of potential issues that could impact the deadline.
  • Motivation: Seeing the remaining work decrease over time can provide a sense of accomplishment and motivation for the team.

By utilizing a Burndown Chart, Agile teams can maintain an accurate understanding of their progress and manage their time effectively to meet deadlines.

  • Sprint Tracking: Monitoring completion of sprint tasks.
  • Velocity Measurement: Gauging team speed and efficiency.
  • Scrum: Burndown charts are used to track the progress of work during sprints, helping teams stay informed and adapt their strategies as needed.
  • Sprint Backlog: Items selected for completion in a sprint, tracked using a Burndown Chart to visualize progress.


The Burndown Chart is a fundamental tool in Agile project management that assists teams in visualizing and managing their work progress.

Its simplicity aids in communicating the project status across the team and to stakeholders, supporting effective decision-making and ensuring the team remains focused on meeting the project’s timelines.

Frequently Asked Questions About Burndown Chart

What Does It Mean If the Burndown Chart Line Is Not Going Down as Expected?

If the line on the Burndown Chart is not going down as expected, it may indicate that work is not being completed as quickly as planned. This could be due to various reasons, such as underestimated tasks, unforeseen complexities, or interruptions to the workflow.

Can Burndown Charts Be Used for Multiple Sprints?

Yes, Burndown Charts can be extended to represent multiple Sprints, providing a longer view of progress across a release or project. This is commonly referred to as a Release Burndown Chart.

Is a Burndown Chart Only Useful in Scrum?

While Burndown Charts are particularly common in Scrum, they can be useful in any Agile methodology or indeed in any project management context where visualizing the amount of work remaining against time is beneficial.

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