Configure a Burndown or Burnup widget

Azure DevOps Services | Azure DevOps Server 2019

The Burndown and Burnup widgets provide the flexibility to create burndown or burnup charts for any type of scope, worked on by any number of teams, within any defined period of time. Burndown charts focus on remaining work within a specific time period, while Burnup charts focus on completed work.

Both burndown and burnup charts help answer the question: Are we on track to complete this set of work by the end date?

Use this article to learn how to:

  • Interpret a Burndown or Burnup widget
  • Configure the Burndown or Burnup widgets
  • Use burndown metrics
  • Work with a burndown chart
  • Configure a sprint burndown

A burndown chart is a useful tool to track completion of a predefined scope of work over a predefined period of time. For example, a sprint burndown tracks the sprint backlog completion by end of the sprint. A release burndown tracks the release backlog completion by the end of the release. A bug burndown chart can also be used to track completion of a set of bugs by a certain date.

Burndown widget configured to display a Release Burndown Burndown Widget - Release Burndown Example

Burndown widget configured to display a Bug Burndown Burndown Widget - Release Burndown Example

Burndown and burnup metrics

Burndown and burnup charts provide an easy way to monitor progress across teams and sprints by showing work remaining over time. Work remaining is the vertical axis and time is the horizontal axis. You can define remaining work to be calculated as a sum of a particular field, such as Story Points, or count of a particular work item type. In addition, each chart calculates and displays the average burndown or burnup rate and added scope over the course of the project. The Burndown chart calculates a projected completion date for when the work is expected to be done based on historical burndown and scope increase. Using burndown, teams can stay on top of their progress and see the immediate impact of their work on their delivery date.

To help you answer the question: Are we on track to complete this set of work by the end date?, the widgets provide these useful metrics:

  • Percentage work complete
  • Average burndown rate
  • Total scope increase
  • Number of work items not estimated with Story Points (or whichever field you are burning down on)
  • Projected burndown, based on historical burndown rate
  • Projected scope increase, based on historical scope increase rate
  • Projected completion date, based on historical burndown and scope increase rates.

Interpret a Burndown or Burnup widget chart

Looking at the burndown chart, a team can not only get immediate insight as to their progress, but also learn about their rhythm and behavior. Most burndown lines are not straight lines. The team never moves at exactly one fixed velocity and scope might be added on the way. For example, if your projected completion date has moved, you may want to ask

  • Are we adding too much scope?
  • Is the average burnrate changing, and if so, why?

The burndown chart also helps the teams understand if the release is at risk. If the projected end date exceeds the release target date, you may need to reduce scope or lengthen your project. Burndown can also indicate that progress is greater than anticipated, providing the uncommon, but wonderful option of adding scope.

As the following diagram shows, charts based on the Burndown and Burnup widgets provide a number of calculated elements.

Burndown Widget - Release Burndown Example

Element Description
Date range The start and end date of the burndown. When burndown is plotted by iterations the end date is the end of the last iteration
Main metric Current remaining work based on the selected burndown method.
% Completed The percentage of work completed based on original scope. You may choose or press % Completed to see the full list of completed work items.
Average burndown Average work completed per interval or iteration.
Items not estimated Shows only when burning down on a Sum of a field. It represents the current number of items that do not have a value in the selected Burndown on field. You may choose or press the number to see a full list of work items without estimates.
Total Scope Increase show how much work was added to the original scope since the burndown started.
Projected completion Calculates the projected completion date based on the remaining work and historical burndown and scope increase rates. If the projected completion date is before the specified End Date, it will draw a vertical line on the interval/iteration when the work should be complete. If the projected completion date is after the specified End Date, then it will display the projected completion date and how many additional intervals/iterations are needed to complete the work.
Original Scope Original scope is all remaining work as of the specified Start Date. The chart burns down from the original scope. % Complete and Total Scope Increase are calculated based on your original scope.
Total Scope Represents to the total scope of the burndown. The plotted points include both completed and remaining work. The total scope line tells you how much scope change your project has. For past data points, the plotted total scope represents actual total scope as of the end of each interval/iteration. For future data points, the plotted total scope represents a projected scope change, based on past scope changes.
Burndown Represents the burndown. The burndown line tells you how fast you are burning down the work. For past data points, the plotted burndown represents actual burndown as of the end of each interval/iteration. For future data points, the plotted burndown represents a projected burndown, based on past burndown.

Prerequisites

  • You must be a member of a project. If you don't have a team project yet, create one.
  • If you haven't been added as a project member, get added now.
  • To add a widget to a team dashboard, you need to be a member of the team. You must have Basic access or greater, have dashboard permissions, or be a team admin or project admin. Default settings provide all team members with permissions.
  • Boards must be enabled. If disabled, none of the work tracking Analytics widgets will display. To re-enable it, see Turn an Azure DevOps service on or off.

Prerequisites

Add the widget to your dashboard

The Configuration dialog for the Burndown and Burnup widgets is the same. You configure these widgets for one or more teams. To learn more about teams, see Add teams.

  1. If you haven't yet added the Burndown widget to your dashboard, do that now.
  2. To open the configuration dialog, choose the   actions icon and select the Configure option.
  1. If you haven't yet enabled or installed Analytics], do that now.
  2. If you haven't yet added the Burndown widget to your dashboard, do that now.
  3. To open the configuration dialog, choose the   actions icon and select the Configure option.

Choose the teams and work items to chart

  1. Modify the Title of the widget and select your preferred Size. The Burndown widget can scale up to 10x10.

  2. Select the Teams you want to track.
    Select at least one Project and one Team.
    Burndown Widget - Configuration - Select team
    If you wish to track progress across teams, just add more teams using the team selector. You may also select teams from other projects.
    Burndown Widget - Configuration - Select multiple teams
    The Burndown chart will display the burndown of remaining work for all selected teams.

    Note

    While you can select teams from other projects, all of the available configuration options—Work items, Field criteria, and Burndown on will show selections from your current project.
    The list of selectable backlogs, work item types, and fields are based on your current project.

    For example, if you select a work item type that doesn't exist in another project, the burndown will not include work items from that project. If you select a field that doesn't exist in another project, that field will be considered blank for the burndown. Therefore, a burndown created across multiple projects will only work if the Process for those projects are the same, or at least very similar.

  3. Choose your work items. The burndown can include work based on items in your Backlog or by Work item type.
    You can select a Backlog, which include all the work items in that backlog.
    If you select the Stories backlog you are presented with an additional option: Include bugs on the Stories backlog. Place a checkmark in the box to include bugs along with user stories in your burndown.

    This option is presented for the PBI Backlog for Scrum projects, and the Requirements backlog for CMMI projects.
    Burndown Widget - Configuration - Select work item types

    Note

    If your project has been customized using a Hosted XML process and has created a customized bug work item category name, then the Burndown and Burnup widgets won't be able to query for work items within that category. To query for bugs, the customized bug work item type must belong to the default Bug Category, reference name Microsoft.BugCategory.

    You can also select Work item type to burndown on a specific work item type. In the list, you will find all the project's work item types including custom work item types.
    Burndown Widget - Configuration - Select work item types

    Note

    When setting filters in this step or the following step, it is important to understand how filters are applied to historical data. Read Filters applied to historical data for more information.

  4. (Optional) Select field criteria to limit the work items that appear in the chart.
    You can filter by any field available in your project, even a specific tag. For example, you can narrow your burndown to top priority items by adding a filter Priority <= 2.
    Burndown Widget - Configuration - Select field criteria
    You may add multiple field criteria, by selecting Add criteria. For example, you can also select a custom field such as Release, to create a burndown chart of only those items assigned to a specific release.
    Burndown Widget - Configuration - Select field criteria

    Note

    All field criteria are AND-ed together. That is, work items must match all the field criteria to be included in the burndown or burnup chart.

Choose how you want to calculate burndown or burnup

  1. Select how you want to calculate burndown or burnup, by a count of work items or a sum based on a selected field.
    Here, we choose to base the burndown on a count of work items.
    Burndown Widget - Configuration - Select burndown on count
    And, here we choose a sum based on Story Points.
    Burndown Widget - Configuration - Select burndown on field

    Note

    Burndown works best when aggregating size fields like story points. If you choose to Burndown on fields that change during the sprint, like Remaining Work for Tasks, the calculation of "Items not Estimated" will grow as items are closed.

Choose the time period and plotting interval

  1. Select the time period. You can select from one of the following options to define your time period:

    Option Purpose for burndown
    Start Date Determines the original scope baseline. The chart burns down from the original scope. % Complete and Total Scope Increase are calculated based on your original scope.
    End Date Specifies the target date of completion. Your goal is to burndown the original scope of work by the End Date.
    Plotting Interval Here you select the intervals to plot between the Start Date and End Date. Average Burndown is based on the selected interval. You can plot burndown based on daily/weekly/monthly intervals or based on an iteration schedule.

    Plot based on an iteration schedule

    After selecting the Start Date, set Plot burndown by to Iteration. You can select iterations from your current project.
    Burndown Widget - Configuration - select time period iterations

    Add multiple iterations by selecting Add iterations.

    Burndown Widget - Configuration - Select iterations

    The iteration selection box support search, so you can simply type a partial name of an iteration and it will find the closest match.
    Burndown Widget - Configuration - Select iterations search

    The selectable iterations are based on the current project, even if you selected teams from other projects. Since the burndown chart plots remaining work based on the end date of the iteration, it calculates remaining work across all teams/projects, based on that iteration end date. For example, if an iteration ends on 11/10/2017, the burndown chart calculates remaining work as of 11/10/2017, counting or summing all work items for every team/project. Therefore, a cross-project burndown will work when plotting by iterations, as long as you are OK with having all the teams reporting on the same iteration schedule.

    The burndown chart uses the end date of each iteration to plot the remaining work for that iteration.

    Note

    The Average Burndown assumes that every iteration is the same length. It does not consider iterations that are different lengths. Additionally, it assumes that the interval between the Start Date and the first iteration is a full iteration, even if the length of time between Start Date and the first iteration's end date does not match your typical length of iteration. For best results, enter a Start Date that is the same as the first iteration's start date.

    If you select to plot based on an iteration schedule, you will not be able to select End Date. The burndown assumes the End Date is the last iteration's end date.

    Plot based on a daily, weekly, or monthly interval

    After selecting the Start Date, set Plot burndown by to Date. Specify the End Date for your burndown. You can set Plot interval to Days, Weeks, or Months.
    Burndown Widget - Configuration - select time period daily

    If you select Weeks, then you'll be able to select the Last day of week. The remaining work for each interval will be calculated based on that day.
    Burndown Widget - Configuration - select time period daily

    If you select Months, then burndown will be calculated based the last day of each month.

    Note

    The Average Burndown assumes that every interval is the same length. It does not consider months that are different lengths. Additionally, it assumes that the interval between the Start Date and the first month is a full month, even if the length of time between Start Date and the first month's end date does not match your typical length of a month. For example, a Start Date of 11/15/2017, would plot the first month as 10/31/2017, but would be counted as a full month for your Average Burndown. For best results, enter a Start Date that is the same as the first month's start date. This is also true when plotting by weekly intervals.

Choose additional options

Check the boxes of the following options that you want to add to your chart.

  • Show burndown: Displays both the historical and projected future burndown
  • Show total scope: Displays both the historical and projected scope increase
  • Show completed work: In addition to remaining work, it also displays completed work as stack bar
  • Plot remaining using work item type color: Displays remaining work based on the work item type color, rather than the default blue color. If multiple work items are included, then it stacks colors by work item type.

Example: Configuring the Burndown widget to act as a Sprint Burndown

One of the most common burndowns is the sprint burndown. A Sprint burndown is useful to determine if your team is on track to complete their sprint plan. You can use the following example on how to configure your Burndown widget to represent a sprint burndown. For this example we'll choose to show burndown for the Fabrikam Fiber - Website team for Sprint 120. The sprint starts on 10/30/2017 and ends on 11/19/2017.

  1. Select a single team that you want to burndown for.

    Sprint-Burndown - Configuration - Select team

  2. Choose your work items. For this example choose the story backlog.

    Burndown Widget - Configuration - Select work item types

  3. Select the iteration path you want to create the sprint burndown for. Add a field criteria on "Iteration Path" to match your sprint. You can also choose to add other field criteria like Priority to filter your burndown.

    Burndown Widget - Configuration - Field criteria

  4. Select how you want to calculate burndown. You can use Count of work items, or sum of any field.

    Sprint Burndown Widget - Configuration - Select plot by

  5. Set the start date to be the first day of your sprint. For example, 10/22/2017.

  6. Set Plot burndown by to Date.

  7. Set the end date to be the last day of your sprint. For example 11/9/2017.

    Sprint Burndown Widget - Configuration - Dates

  8. Save your configuration. This widget now shows a daily burndown of the Fabrikam Fiber - Website team for Sprint 120. The burndown shows a count of work items completed per day. To change the sprint this widget is monitoring, for example Sprint 121, you will need to manually change the dates in the widget configuration.

Configure the Burnup widget

Configuring the Burnup widget is exactly like configuring the Burndown widget, except that it plots work completed, rather than work remaining.

Burnup Widget displaying a Stories Burnup

Burnup Widget - Stories Burnup Example

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