Monitor sprint burndown

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Throughout your sprint, you can monitor the sprint burndown chart to determine if your team is on track to complete its sprint plan. The Analytics in-context sprint burndown report supports tracking a burndown of the number of Tasks or sum of Remaining Work, or other numeric field. If you want to track progress using other work item types, then you can use the Analytics-based burndown and burnup widgets which provide more configuration options.

Throughout your sprint, you can monitor the sprint burndown chart to determine if your team is on track to complete its sprint plan. The in-context sprint burndown report supports tracking a burndown of Remaining Work. If you don't track Tasks or Remaining Work, then you can use the Analytics-based burndown and burnup widgets which provide more configuration options.

Throughout your sprint, you can monitor the sprint burndown chart to determine if your team is on track to complete its sprint plan. The in-context sprint burndown report supports tracking a burndown of Remaining Work.

Note

You can't add an in-context report to a dashboard. However, you can add the Sprint burndown widget to a dashboard.

Use this article to learn:

  • How to view current and past sprint burndowns
  • Required and recommended activities to support sprint burndown

For usage guidance, see Burndown guidance.

The in-context sprint burndown report is based on either a count of tasks or Remaining Work estimates, or other numeric field that you define and update throughout the sprint cycle. For details, see Sprint planning and taskboard. To open the sprint burndown chart, jump to the section Open sprint burndown chart.

A healthy sprint burndown chart will look something like the image shown on the right. Typically, there will be a stair-case burndown as individual team members may only update their work items once a week or every few days. The Total Scope line indicates the number of work items added after the sprint starts. The Projected Completion Date is calculated by considering the average burndown and total scope of tasks added to the sprint.

Each blue bar indicates the number of tasks active or in progress each day of the sprint. While at the end of the sprint, the blue bar indicates 4 tasks are still active, since that day those tasks have been reassigned to another sprint, so the Remaining tasks is 0.

Healthy sprint burndown chart

The in-context sprint burndown report is based on the tasks and Remaining Work estimates you define and update throughout the sprint cycle. For details, see Sprint planning and taskboard. To open the sprint burndown chart, jump to the section Open sprint burndown chart.

A healthy sprint burndown chart will look something like this. The Ideal Trend line connects the two points:

- (1) Team's total capacity at the start of the sprint
- (2) 0 Remaining Work at the end of the sprint.

The slope represents the rate at which the team needs to burn down work to finish the sprint on time.

The actual graph, the blue area, represents the total amount of planned sprint work and how it changes throughout the course of the sprint. The blue area corresponds to the sum of all Remaining Work set for all sprint tasks, and possibly bugs, that have the current sprint as their iteration path.

Healthy sprint burndown chart

Open the Sprint backlog for your team

  1. From your web browser, open your team's sprint backlog. (1) Check that you have selected the right project, (2) choose Boards>Sprints, (3) select the correct team from the team selector menu, and lastly (4), choose Backlog.

    Open Work, Sprints, for a team

    To choose another team, open the selector and select a different team or choose the home-icon Browse all sprints option. Or, you can enter a keyword in the search box to filter the list of team backlogs for the project.

    Choose another team

  2. To choose a different sprint than the one shown, open the sprint selector and choose the sprint you want.

    Choose another sprint

    The system lists only those sprints that have been selected for the current team focus. If you don't see the sprints you want listed, then choose New Sprint from the menu, and then choose Select existing iteration. For details, see Define iteration paths (aka sprints).

  1. From your web browser, open your team's sprint backlog. (1) Check that you have selected the right project, (2) choose Boards>Sprints, (3) select the correct team from the team selector menu, and lastly (4), choose Backlog.

    Open Work, Sprints, for a team

    To choose another team, open the selector and select a different team or choose the home-icon Browse all sprints option. Or, you can enter a keyword in the search box to filter the list of team backlogs for the project.

    Choose another team

  2. To choose a different sprint than the one shown, open the sprint selector and choose the sprint you want.

    Choose another sprint

    The system lists only those sprints that have been selected for the current team focus. If you don't see the sprints you want listed, then choose New Sprint from the menu, and then choose Select existing iteration. For details, see Define iteration paths (aka sprints).

  1. From your web browser, open your team's sprint backlog. (1) Select the team from the project/team selector, choose (2) Work, (3) Backlogs, and then (4) the product backlog, which is Backlog items (for Scrum), Stories (for Agile), or Requirements (for CMMI).

    Open the Boards>Backlogs page

    To choose another team, open the project/team selector and select a different team or choose the Browse option.

    Choose another team

    The set of sprints selected for your team appears in the left pane. If you don't see any sprints listed, you can add sprints or select existing sprints for your team's use. To learn how, see Define sprints.

  2. Choose the sprint whose burndown chart you want to view.

    Choose another sprint

    The system lists only those sprints that have been selected for the current team focus. If you don't see the sprints you want listed, then see Define iteration paths (aka sprints).

View the sprint burndown in-context report

  1. To open the Sprint burndown report, choose Analytics.

  2. Use the interactive controls to choose the start and end of the sprint and count or sum field to use in the burndown. By default, the dates are set to the selected sprint. Changes to the start and end dates don't change any sprint date definitions.

  3. If you don't track Remaining Work in tasks, you can view burndown based on a count of work items/tasks. Hover over a column area to show a summary.

When you choose to view the Sum of Remaining Work, the blue bars show the sum of Remaining Work per day for those tasks which are still active or in progress. As the Remaining Work is updated, the chart indicates the average rate of burndown. Projected lines indicate expected capacity for the team and scope increase.

Burndown trend based on Remaining Work

Note

The options for the sum fields depend on the numeric fields defined for task and requirement category work item types. The most common fields used to show the burndown trend are:

If you don't track work using Tasks, you can use the Burndown widget to track sprint burndown based on a count of other types of work items.

The selections you make are only set for you, and persist across sessions until you change them.

Add the report to a dashboard

  1. To add the report to a dashboard, choose the  actions icon and select Copy to Dashboard.

    Analytics in-context report, Copy to dashboard

  2. Select the dashboard and choose OK.

Choose the chart to display it in a larger view.

Open sprint burndown chart

Open sprint burndown chart

Open sprint burndown chart

You can review sprint burndown in-context reports to show the team patterns in execution. The burndown charts maintain a record of the team's ability to plan and estimate.

May June July
May burndown June burndown July burndown
Sprint 1 Sprint 2 Sprint 3
Sprint 1 Sprint 2 Sprint 3

Teams may find it useful to review this record periodically during their sprint retrospectives. It may spark useful discussions and lead to setting one or more sprint goals, such as:

  • How does our projected velocity match up to our actual velocity?
  • How can we more accurately determine how much we will be able to accomplish in a sprint?
  • How can we complete work at a more regular pace throughout the sprint?

In order to access the sprint burndown chart and use it to monitor your sprint progress, your team must perform the following actions.

Required activities:

  • Define tasks that take a day or less to complete to lessen the impact of poor estimates.
  • Don't divide tasks into subtasks. If you divide a task into subtasks, specify hours only for the subtasks. These hours are rolled up as summary values for the parent task.
  • Update Remaining Work daily or several times within a week to support monitoring and achieve a smoother burndown chart.
  • At the end of the sprint, update the task status of completed tasks and determine how to handle incomplete tasks.

Empty sprint burndown chart

If your sprint burndown chart appears empty, check the following:

  • Have you assigned tasks to the sprint associated with the chart?
  • Have you assigned remaining work to the tasks assigned to the sprint?
  • Are the parent work items of the tasks assigned to the same sprint? If not, the tasks may appear in another sprint associated with the parent item.

Current and past sprint burndown charts

As you complete each sprint, the system maintains a history of your activity.

To view a past sprint and its burndown chart, select the sprint from the Sprint selector.

Select a past sprint from the sprint selector

To view a past sprint and its burndown chart, choose the sprint listed under the Past section of the sidebar.

Past sprints provide historical record

To view a past sprint and its burndown chart, choose the sprint listed under the Past section of the sidebar.
Past sprints provide historical record, tfs 2013, 2015

Try this next

In addition to the sprint burndown chart, teams can review the velocity at which they work sprint over sprint. The velocity chart tracks how many backlog items your team works on in a sprint.

You can use your team velocity as input into the forecast tool to help plan your sprints.

You can learn more about defining, planning, and executing your sprints from these topics:

And, from these industry resources: