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Burn up vs Burn down chart in Jira

Within an agile environment, Scrum is the most popular collaboration framework used to convert complex problems into valuable products and services. In scrum methodology, a complex work is broken into goals/tasks to be completed within time-boxed iterations, called sprints. 

The goal /tasks completed or remaining in the sprint can be visualized in form of charts to understand and track the progress of a development sprint.

Burn down and burn up charts are two types of charts or graphical representations that project managers use to track and communicate the progress of their projects.

Following are 2 types of sprint charts. – burndown, burnup.


Burndown chart

 Burndown charts are a great visual way to find out or track the remaining work or the number of tasks in sprint on a Scrum project.

The vertical axis is amount of work, and is measured in units customized as per the project. Some common units are number of tasks, estimated hours or story points (in agile project management methodologies).

The horizontal axis is time, usually measured in days.

Each point on the chart shows how much work was left to do or incomplete at the end of the sprint.

The remaining number of tasks or the actual rate at which the work is being completed is plotted in blue that is the actual burndown line.

The green dashed line is the ideal burn down line represents the rate at which work should be completed to finish on time or the required burndown to reach the goal. It runs diagonally from the top left to the bottom right corner.

The actual burndown line can be compared against this line to provide a simple measure of the progress of the project. If the actual line is above the ideal line the project is behind schedule. If the actual line is below the ideal line the project is ahead of schedule. The distance above or below the line shows how much the project is ahead or behind.


Why use a burndown chart?

1] A burndown chart is a tool used by Agile teams to gather information about both the work they have completed on a project and the work that is yet to be done within a given time period or a Sprint.

2] The burndown chart helps to understand a trend from the data and the see probability of the goal reaching in time or not.

3] The burndown chart useful to explain and demonstrate the progress of a project.

4] The burndown chart is a simple concept to see that the number of tasks must reach to zero by a defined date.

5] It is possible to track story points (a unit of measurement for expressing an estimate of the overall effort required to fully implement any other piece of work

6]The burndown chart is a visual representation of the team's progress toward completing the planned work used in presentations and demonstrations to clients and non-technical management.

7]Sometimes the burndown chart also is considered as to have a motivational value. Seeing the actual work flow line getting closer to zero clearly demonstrates that progress is being made, that may encourage and motivate project participants. 

8] As the burndown chart tracks the remaining work to be completed over time, it helps to estimate how much more work is required in terms of time, efforts to complete the task.  It shows how close you are to completion of the project,  

9]The burndown chart identifies any deviation from the ideal completion rate allowing for early detection of potential issues that may come up in near future.

10] It facilitates the necessary adjustment of sprint or project goals based on actual performance to avoid further delay in completion of the tasks.

Burn up chart

A burn up chart tracks progress towards a project completion.

The vertical axis is amount of work, and is measured in units customized as per the project. Some common units are number of tasks, estimated hours or story points (in agile project management methodologies).

The horizontal axis is time, usually measured in days.

A burnup chart clearly shows both- a work completed line (red in following chart) and a total work line or the project scope line (blue in following chart). At each day, the amount of work completed and the total amount of work can be seen.

The distance between the two lines is thus the amount of work remaining. When the two lines meet, the project is seen completed.

Although a typical burn up chart only has two lines, other line may be sometimes included that is an 'ideal' line. This shows the completion necessary at each day to meet the deadline.

It helps to know whether the project is ahead of or behind schedule by whether it is above or below the ideal line, and the distance gives you an idea as to how far ahead or behind schedule it is.

The total work line (the project scope line) clearly tracks when work has been added to or removed from the project which will affect the completion date. The scope line also tracks where work is being removed to meet a fixed deadline.

It also allows you to visualize a more realistic completion date for the project, by extending both the lines. Where the two lines, meet is the estimated time of completion.


Why use a burnup chart?

1] The Burnup chart is widely used to monitor projects with a fixed date or simply to forecast when a number of tasks will end up based on the speed of delivery of past items.

2] The burn up chart provides a clear picture progress by showing both completed work and changes in scope.

3] It helps in managing the expectations of the stakeholders regarding project scope and delivery dates.

4] It allows teams to adapt to changes in scope during the project.


Comparison between burndowns and burnup chart: -

Common uses of the burndown and burn up charts: -

·      Regular review of progress charts such as burndown charts or burn up charts for the project is an important part of project management, agile, scrum because it helps immediately identify any problems and allow to control or remove them early.

·      Both charts help teams and stakeholders track progress throughout a project or sprint providing a visual representation of work completed and remaining work, making it easy to understand the current state of the project.

·      These charts can allow you to instantly identify certain types of problems, such as scope creep or a deviation from the planned project path. These problems can then be discussed and corrective action can be taken at an early stage, rather than when it is too late.

·      These charts assist in making data-driven decisions by highlighting trends and potential issues early in the project.

·      Sharing these charts with customers can also build confidence and trust in both your management, and the progress of the project as a whole.

Conclusion: - The burnup and burndown charts are valuable tools in project management, offering different perspectives on progress of any project or sprint. They help teams stay on track, adapt to changes, and make informed decisions throughout the project lifecycle. Each of these charts is used differently and serves a specific set of requirements.

References: -

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