Also called: BurnUp Graph, BurnDown Chart, BurnDown Graph, Velocity Chart, and Velocity Graph
Relevant metrics: Cycle Time, Lead Time, Throughput, Velocity, and Quality
What is a Burn-Up Chart?
A burn-up chart is a type of chart used to track the progress of a project or task. It is typically used to track the progress of a project or task over time, and can be used to identify areas of improvement or areas of concern. The chart typically includes a timeline, with the progress of the project or task plotted against it. The chart can also be used to compare the progress of different tasks or projects.
It is similar to the Burn down chart in many ways.
Where did the term “Burn-Up Chart” originate from?
The term “burn-up” is derived from the idea that the chart is a representation of the “burn rate” of the project, or the rate at which the project is progressing. The term “burn-up chart” was first used in the early 2000s, and has since become a widely used tool in the software development industry.
Tracking progress and identifying issues
Burn-up charts are a useful tool for tracking progress and identifying issues in a project. They are used to visualize the progress of a project over time, and to identify any potential problems that may arise.
The chart is composed of two lines:
- One representing the total amount of work that needs to be completed
- The other representing the amount of work that has been completed.
The chart is updated regularly to show the progress of the project, and any potential issues that may arise.
Burn-up charts are useful for communicating progress to stakeholders. They provide a visual representation of the progress of the project, and can be used to demonstrate the progress that has been made. This can be used to show stakeholders that the project is on track, and that any potential issues have been identified and addressed.
Burn-down vs Burn-up charts: understanding the difference
The two charts differ in their focus, but they are both interlinked and essential to understanding the overall status of a project.
A burn-down chart is a simple, straightforward tool that displays the remaining effort required to complete a project, whereas a burn-up chart focuses on the work that has already been done and the total scope of the project.
The line in a burn-down chart descends as the team makes progress, while the line in a burn-up chart ascends. Both charts use the same axes, but the burn-down chart is typically easier to understand because it only displays a single line, or two lines if the ideal development velocity is added.
On the other hand, a burn-up chart provides more detail, with separate lines showing the total work achieved and the work done in previous increments. This extra level of detail can help expose scope creeps in your project and provide stakeholders with a more accurate view of your progress.
Why use burn-up charts rather than burn-down charts?
One of the key benefits of burn-up charts is their ability to clearly display changes to the scope of a project. Consider the following scenarios:
- A goal requires more work than was originally planned
- A client requests additional features unexpectedly
In a burn-down chart, these changes to the project’s scope will go unnoticed, making it appear as though the team is getting less done. With a burn-up chart, however, the increase in scope is clearly visible, and the actual progress of the team can be accurately tracked.
Using the burn-up chart to manage Scope Creep
Scope creep is a common issue in agile development teams, where additional work is added during a sprint, disrupting the project’s estimation and processes. In a burn-down chart, this added work will not be reflected, giving the false impression that the project is progressing normally. In a burn-up chart, however, the increase in scope is clearly visible, making it easier for product owners and teams to adjust their sprint and release plans.
When changes are made to the budget or scope of a project, they are clearly visible at the top of the chart, making it easier to communicate the impact of these changes to stakeholders and clients. Additionally, having a total effort or milestone line can help teams effectively communicate their progress and keep stakeholders informed.
Creating a burn-up chart
The burn-up chart is created by plotting the amount of work completed against the total amount of work to be done. This allows project managers to easily identify areas of progress and areas of improvement. The chart can be used to track progress over time, as well as to identify areas of improvement. For example, if the amount of work completed is not increasing over time, the project manager can identify areas of improvement and take corrective action.
By plotting the amount of work completed against the total amount of work to be done, product managers can identify areas of risk and take corrective action. For example, if the amount of work completed is not increasing over time, the project manager can identify areas of risk and take corrective action.
A Step-by-Step Guide
Follow these steps to create a burn-up chart that will help you track project progress, manage scope creep, and communicate with stakeholders more effectively.
- Define project scope. Start by identifying the total scope of the project, including all of the tasks and objectives that need to be accomplished.
- Determine completion criteria. Clearly define what completion of a task or objective will look like, and make sure everyone on the team understands this criteria.
- Track progress. Establish a system for tracking progress on each task and objective, either through regular check-ins or by using software tools.
- Plot the data. Plot the total amount of work completed against the total scope of the project on a chart, using a line graph.
- Add milestones. If your project has any major milestones or deadlines, add these to the chart as well, so that you can track progress against them.
- Review and adjust regularly. Regularly review the chart and make any necessary adjustments based on changes to the project scope or completion criteria.
- Share with stakeholders. Share the burn-up chart with stakeholders and team members so that everyone can see the project’s progress and understand the impact of any changes to the project scope.
- Use the chart to make informed decisions. Use the information displayed on the burn-up chart to make informed decisions about the project’s progress, such as adjusting the project timeline or changing the project scope.
What is the purpose of the burnup chart?
Hint The purpose of the burn-up chart is to track progress towards a goal.
What data will be used to create the chart?
Hint Data used to create the chart will include the total amount of work completed and the total amount of work remaining.
What timeframe will the chart cover?
Hint The timeframe covered by the chart will depend on the goal being tracked.
What is the expected outcome of the chart?
Hint The expected outcome of the chart is to provide a visual representation of progress towards the goal.
How will the chart be used to measure progress?
Hint The chart will be used to measure progress by tracking the amount of work completed and the amount of work remaining.
What are the key metrics that will be tracked?
Hint The key metrics that will be tracked are the total amount of work completed and the total amount of work remaining.
How often will the chart be updated?
Hint The chart will be updated as progress is made towards the goal.
What are the potential risks associated with using the chart?
Hint Potential risks associated with using the chart include inaccurate data or misinterpretation of the data.
How will the chart be communicated to stakeholders?
Hint The chart will be communicated to stakeholders through presentations, reports, or other forms of communication.
How will the chart be used to inform decisionmaking?
Hint The chart will be used to inform decision-making by providing a visual representation of progress towards the goal.
- Dr. John Sullivan @DrJohnSullivan
- Agile Estimating and Planning by Mike Cohn (2005)
- Scrum: A Breathtakingly Brief and Agile Introduction by Jeff Sutherland (2010)
- Agile Project Management: Delivering Successful Software Projects with Scrum by Amit K. Ghosh (2018)
- Agile Metrics in Action: Measuring and Improving Team Performance by Daniel S. Vacanti (2017)
- Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process by Kenneth S. Rubin (2013)
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