Definition

The Burndown Chat is when the team arranges, in the project room (somewhere on a wall) a extensive chart where it is fixed the quantity of work remaining (on the vertical axis) and the time elapsed since the beginning of the project (on the horizontal) showing the future of the project as well.

This constitutes an  information radiator provided,which is updated frequently. There are two variants “sprint burndown” or “product burndown” it depends if the quantity graphed is for the work remaining in the iteration, or more commonly the entire project.

Also Known As

The term Burndown chat can be also called “burn up chart” but It’s not that usual.

Expected Benefits

This method ends up in up-to-date project status not only visible, but shoved into the faces of everyone who’s involved in the project.

The result is a team encouraged to face down any complications sooner and more easily.(The consequence is that the chart’s effectiveness it depends on either being large enough or situated in places that can lead to discussion. For example, at the bottom of a drawer, or somewhere that isn’t a good place, common sense right?)

One factor of their effectiveness is the simplicity of all burndown charts (can be created on the basis of velocity history alone)

 

Common Pitfalls

The basic error is that they only display the number of story points completed, not the changes in the scope of work (as measured by total points in the backlog).

That makes thing difficult to understand whether changes in the burndown chart can be associated to backlog items completed, or simply and increase (or much less likely) a decrease in story points. The burn up chart resolves this issue by showing a separate line for overall backlog size.

Neither the burndown or burnup chart provides any indication of which product backlog items have been completed. This means that a team can have a burndown chart that shows continued progress, but it does not indicate whether the team is working on the correct things.  For this reason, burndown and burnup charts can only provide an indication of trends rather than giving explicit indication of whether a team is delivering the right product backlog items.