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Burndown Chart: What Is It And How To Use It?

As per the PMI 2018 Pulse of Profession Report, poor project execution results in a 9.9% loss for every dollar. Finding enough time in the team’s schedule to finish your projects can be difficult. A burndown chart is useful in this situation. In general, burndown charts are commonly implemented by teams that use agile project management. Stakeholders, managers, and sponsors can easily visualize the progress of the project by using a burndown chart.

Read this article to get a basic understanding of the burndown chart, the components you need to know to read the chart effectively, benefits and limitations of the burndown chart.

How can you define a Burndown Chart?

Most people consider charts as distracting until they learn that charts and graphs illustrate everything you experience daily. Eventually, charts become visual representations and insights into basic project management abilities, such as time and project tracking, planning, risk reduction, and quality management.

A burndown chart is a graph that shows how much work has to be done and how long it will take to do it.

It can be beneficial for teams who operate in sprints because it can demonstrate whether your deadlines can be fulfilled as you move forward with your work.

Instantly tracking the status of your projects and the amount of time left to complete your product backlog is a valuable feature of the Burndown chart. You can quickly assess whether everything is progressing as expected and decide whether you’ll be able to complete your task by the deadline using this chart.

Basic terminologies you must know to Read A Burndown Chart

A burndown chart is made up of numerous elements. To correctly read and design your own burndown chart, it’s essential to know each component.

Typically, a burndown chart contains the following:


The X-axis, often known as the horizontal axis, indicates how much time remains to finish the job. This is typically displayed in days.


The Y-axis, also known as the vertical axis, shows how much work is still needed to finish the project.

Ideal work remaining line (estimated work):

The amount of work left to do in an ideal situation is shown on the ideal work remaining line. Compared to the actual work line, it is frequently shown as a straight line.

Story points:

Agile teams generally estimate the amount of work left to do using story points. The story points in a burndown chart are shown on the X and Y axes.

Sprint goals:

The overall sprint target will also be included in a successful burndown graph. Even if your real work may not exactly achieve these goals, having a goal will help you keep going with your activities.

Actual work line:

The actual work line shows how much work is left to do. This frequently deviates from the original estimate as problems develop and the amount of time needed to do the work increases.

How to measure performance in a Burndown Chart?

If the actual work line is higher than the ideal work line, there is more work than was anticipated, and the project is running behind schedule.

It also means less work is left in a project completion than initially anticipated if the actual work line is lower than the ideal work line. It indicates that the project is moving ahead of schedule.

Benefits of a Burndown Chart

A burndown chart is an excellent tool for monitoring team workload, effort, and production. It’s ideal for people who like to visualize their duties and the actual project goals.

Here are some of the significant advantages of the burndown chart:

Adds Simplicity

The simplicity of a burndown chart is one of its primary advantages. The chart makes it easy for your team to monitor team members’ progress on their tasks.

Team Booster

Burndown charts can be a brilliant team booster. The team can perform better when they see their daily progress on the chart. As a result, you are free from concern regarding the performance and success of your projects.

Offers Quick Solution

The project manager quickly spots the challenges and frequently predicts their solution by updating the chart. If the scrum master spots a problem, they can work on a solid solution while consulting the team members.

Drawbacks of a Burndown Chart

The burndown chart may not provide all the information. For instance, it merely displays the total amount of finished story points. As determined by the total points in the backlog, the scope of work is one change that the burndown chart does not represent.

It might be challenging to determine whether changes in the burndown chart are brought by finished backlog items or by an increase or drop in story points. An additional line in the graph representing the total backlog size on a burnup chart can solve this issue.

How can Agile team members use a Burndown Chart?

Agile project management uses agile sprints to plan and carry out projects. These sprints are short work cycles in which a team completes particular tasks that were previously established during a sprint planning meeting.

Burndown charts are perfect for agile project managers because they let them monitor the amount of work that needs to be done, compare performance to a baseline, and rapidly assess whether they are on time or not. The management of an agile project using a burndown chart is shown in the following examples;

  • You can create a baseline for task management to compare planned and actual work.
  • It helps you to finish the gap analysis based on the disparities.
  • You can learn more about upcoming sprint planning meetings.
  • It assists you in managing tasks and reallocating resources to finish sprints on schedule.

Wrapping Up

Now that you know how to utilize and read a burndown chart, you can create your own. You can provide your team members access to a single source of information by creating your burndown chart. This can significantly lessen the guessing involved in tracking the unfinished work for Scrum teams working on Agile projects. offers expert team and project management tools for businesses of all sizes, increasing the speed of the overall production of new products. provides specialized tools and solutions to manage R&D processes, encouraging staff from all areas of the product development lifecycle to work together more effectively.

Originally published at on December 26, 2022.

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