Visualize Project: Product Burndown Chart

In traditional waterfall projects, monitoring tools such as Gantt Charts and EVM (Earned Value Management) Charts are used to monitor and visualize progress.

When relative estimation and the concept of story points are introduced for the first time, stakeholders are concerned on how to monitor and track progress in Agile. Story points have no direct translation to cost and schedule, how can we monitor progress then?

In Agile, all requirements of the product are recorded in the Product Backlog. The Product Backlog Items, usually called User Stories, are prioritized depending on the balance of value-risk-dependency factors of each User Story. Each User Story is estimated in Story Points. Story Points are numbers that represent the relative size/difficulty of the Product Backlog Item in comparison to other backlog items.

A Product Burndown Chart depicts the Story points added, removed, and DONE in each Sprint. DONE will depend on the Definition of Done set the by the Agile Team. Using the team’s Velocity, average rate of completed Story Points per Sprint, one can forecast when the project is delayed or advanced. See the example below:


The Product Burndown Chart visualizes the Project Story. When the Red Line (Projected Completion from Velocity) is above the Ideal Line (Blue line), it means the project is delayed and below the line means advanced. On the example above, the project is delayed by 7 Story Points overall. The team should work on closing the gap.

The Product Burndown Chart is updated every Sprint Review by the Product Owner (or the Project Manager for traditional teams). The Product Owner can annotate each point in the graph to highlight significant events to explain changes in the trends. In the example above, there was an increase in features introduced in Sprint 3.

I am attaching a FREE TEMPLATE: Product Burndown Template in MS Excel for you to use and improve on. Please do leave some comments to improve this article or the template.

– Agile Pinoy


Published by agilepinoy

We are Agile Pinoy. We believe that Filipinos can build globally competitive Products, one team at a time.

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