A burn down chart is a graphical representation of work left to do versus time. It is useful for predicting when all of the work will be completed.
A burn down chart immediately shows the progress of a project at hand. The progress is expressed in the total estimated time to complete (also called ETC), and displayed over time. This chart are considered to be one of the most useful information overviews on agile teams. It's simple to implement and easy to understand.
A typical burn down chart
In Smart projects the total estimated time to complete is expressed by summarizing the estimated time to complete for the individual use cases, plus the hours left to spend on project activities, such as writing the project proposal or creating an estimate.
In the current release of the ADP Agile Dashboard (see ADP Agile Dashboard 1.3
) the burn down chart is calculated and displayed real-time.
Establishing estimated time to complete (ETC)
The estimated time to complete for an individual smart use case is set as follows:
- Initial. Initially, the estimated time to complete for the individual use cases is established by either multiplying the number of smart use case points with the project velocity, if work on this particular use cases has not started yet.
- Working. When work on a particular use case has started, the team members involved in realizing that use case estimate the remainder by hand, independent of what the original estimate might be.
- Done. When the use case is realized, or when it has been dropped by the customer, the estimated time to complete is set to 0.
Notable is that because the methodology Smart allows for changing, new and even dropped requirements, all modeled in smart use cases, the burn down chart may fluctuate. The graph not only goes down, but might go up, if more new use cases were added then were realized.
During a large project were we covered the realization of about 40 to 50 forms and underlying business processes, each process was modeled out in one or more use case diagrams. Thus, a number of smart use cases contributed to the realization of the form. Moreover, new forms and processes were added as the project progressed.
In this project we decided on creating a burn down chart per form, to express the progress of the individual processes. This appeared to be very useful, especially since the end users for the forms differed.
Robert de Wolff
This also applies to business intelligence projects, were the end goal is to realize a number of reports or analysis reports, and each report is modeled using smart use cases for extraction, transformation and load. Again, a fair amount of smart use cases contribued to realizing the individual reports, again with different groups of end users. In this case we had burn down charts per report.