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Release Burndown Chart in Scrum: Example & Overview

Instructor: Olga Bugajenko

Olga is a registered PRINCE2 Practitioner and has a master's degree in project management.

Will the project team be ready to release the product to the customer in time? Learn to track the progress of a Scrum development team towards a product release with the release burndown chart.

Release Burndown Chart

A burndown chart is a popular Scrum tool for monitoring team performance and project progress. There are several different burnchart chart types: sprint burndown chart, release burndown chart, product burndown chart. In this lesson, we will focus on a release burndown chart.

In Scrum, a release is a transition of a product from the development to the customer. A released product should meet the functionality requirements and the quality expectations of the customer. A release usually consists of one or several equally sized sprints. A release burndown chart provides an overview of the release progress by plotting the remaining workload, often referred to as the remaining effort in Scrum, at the end of every sprint against the ideal workload (or effort). The sprints are plotted on the x-axis, and the remaining effort - on the y-axis. The effort can be measured in hours, days or story points. It is the responsibility of the Scrum master to update the release burndown chart with the actual progress at the end of each sprint, before the next sprint starts.

Examples

A development team at Pear, Inc. is creating a new operating system for the company's best-selling smartphone, iPear. The work is split into two-week long sprints. It has been estimated that 4 sprints, or 8 weeks of effort, are required before the first version of the operational system will be ready for releasing to customers.

There are three people on the team. With each team member producing 6 hours of effort daily (equal to 30 hours weekly), the total ideal effort per week is 3 x 30 = 90 hours. This equals 180 hours per two-week long sprint and 720 hours for the release. Estimating the daily effort as 6 hours per person instead of traditional 8 hours allows each team member to spend some time on their other organizational commitments and communication without impacting the project progress.

The release burndown chart can be displayed as a line or a bar chart. Below you are two different types of release burndown chart, conveying the same information about the project progress. The red line plots the ideal effort, assuming the same amount of work is accomplished during each sprint. The blue line or bars show the remaining effort. In case the blue line or bars are below the red line, the team managed to complete more tasks during the sprint than planned. If the blue line or bars are above the red line, the team is behind the schedule and the tasks are taking more to complete than planned. Alternatively, new tasks might have been added to the sprint.

Release burndown bar chart

Release burndown line chart

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