Sprint Burndown within Agile Projects with Scrum

The Sprint Burndown Chart enables the Development Team to view its progress and monitor the probability of achieving the Sprint Goal. The Sprint progress can be viewed visually in the Sprint Burndown Chart. The chart displays the work left to be done against the time that is remaining in the Sprint. This chart typically shows two plots, firstly a chart of the scheduled Effort which reduces proportionally during the entire Sprint, and a second chart of the actual Effort.  This then shows the quantity of work still to be done for each day of the Sprint.   Similarly to the Sprint Burndown Chart, there is a Sprint Burnup Chart.  The burnup chart shows the amount of work completed, rather than the amount of work remaining in the sprint.

59 Seconds Agile - Sprint Burndown within Agile Projects with Scrum
59 Seconds Agile – Sprint Burndown within Agile Projects with Scrum

Sprint Burndown Chart Accuracy

Updating the Sprint Burndown Chart should occur on a daily basis as tasks are completed.  Frequently updating the chart enables the scrum team to accurately analyze progress, and also allows for detecting incorrect estimates.  The Scrum Master can also detect if all of the sprint tasks are likely to be completed in time.  Identifying performance issues early results in the Scrum Master identifying and removing any impediments early. 

Sprint Burndown Effort

The actual Effort should roughly follow the scheduled Effort, however it is unlikely however that these would follow perfectly. If these two plots begin to deviate then this indicates that there may be an issue with the scheduled work. An issue would be observed when the actual Effort lags behind the scheduled Effort, whereas work may be ahead of schedule if the scheduled Effort lags behind the actual Effort.  If the actual plot observes large steps compared with the scheduled Effort then this may indicate that the Sprint Stories have not been split into small enough Stories.

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