Agile Burndown Charts

June 7, 2010 Robert Holler

A burndown chart is an incredibly powerful, and maybe even more important, simple agile tool for measuring and managing project progress.  Visually, a burndown chart is nothing more than a line chart representing remaining work over time.  Burndown charts are used to measure the progress of an agile project at both a micro and macro level.

  • Micro – Iteration/Sprint burndown charts measure remaining work each day, typically represented in hours, through the life of a single iteration.
  • Macro – Release/Project burndown charts measure the remaining estimate of incomplete product backlog (or user stories) for the entire project or release.  Release burndown charts typically measure remaining points, ideal days, or hours.  A product backlog item/story is considered complete when all of the remaining work has been completed and the tests have passed.

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