Burnup Chart

A burn up chart, or burnup chart, tracks project progress, including changes in scope to enable the chart audience to predict completion dates or time. A burnup chart is a clear depiction of the completed work against the overall scope. A burnup chart helps in tracking progress. Such a chart has two lines on the chart: project scope line and work completed line. Once both the lines meet, the work would be completed. Thus, a burn-up chart helps you in predicting the time by which a piece of work would be completed. The Scrum Master, Delivery Manager, or Project Manager is usually responsible for collecting the required data and turning it into a burn-up chart. Some teams opt to update their burn-up chart at the end of every sprint. Solutioneers recommend teams update their burnup chart daily. Scope can change daily, and work items complete should continually flow through the delivery stream. It therefore makes sense to update the chart daily to get more frequent insight into progress. An important consideration is to look carefully at your definition of done. The definition of done is critical to calculating the work completed line on the burn-up chart. Calculating the work complete line from when dev is complete, but not tested, is too early. In some instances, calculating the work complete line for when work hits your live environment may be too late if you only make two live releases per year. You need to find the sensible point at which you can consider the work done. Burn-up charts are useful to demonstrate progress against several different goals. Scope completion rate is a common example. Others include budget burn rate, output completion rate, and outcome completion rate. The outcome completion rate is a very important metric for when the team are looking to achieve a certain business or commercial outcome. It’s not just all about output but more important to focus on outcomes of work completed. There are many tools out there for creating burn-up charts, usually embedded within vendor tools such as Mingle, Jira, VersionOne, etc. Solutioneers we prefer to export required data from said tools and generate our own burn-up charts in MS Excel. The required data points are simple to extract – overall total amount of work to be completed, and total amount of work completed over time. You can get more advanced views by incorporating multiple goals into your chart in the form of stacked scope lines. For more information of the use of burn-up charts attend our Lean Agile Boot Camp one day workshop which covers this and many other techniques such as Kanban.

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