Burn down Chart: An Easy Overview In 5 Points


Human Beings are indulged in various activities and works every day. It becomes very difficult for everyone to remember the tasks that they need to complete within a certain frame of time. For covering up this hindrance, Burn down Chart has been introduced. Burn down Charts are charts that help track the tasks that a person needs to complete within a limited time frame. This is set by the person himself so that he doesn’t go off the track. Burn down Chart helps the person to allocate the time according to the tasks to be completed.

  1. What is a Burn down Chart?
  2. How to Read a Burn down Chart
  3. Benefits of a Burn down Chart
  4. Limitations of a Burn down Chart
  5. History of the Burn down Chart

1. What is a Burn down Chart?

In simple words, the Burndown Chart is a graphical representation of tasks which has been assigned to the team. This helps in knowing and tracking the work’s progress, and necessary steps can be taken to complete it within a limited time frame.

In the chart, the vertical axis represents the quantity of work that needs to be completed, and the horizontal axis represents the time spent while doing the task.

There are two types of Burndown Chart, namely, Sprint Burndown Chart and Product Burndown Chart. A Sprint Burndown Chart is a chart that is created for the remaining part of the work. When the work remaining is elaborated, then it is called Product Burndown.  

2. How to Read a Burn down Chart

The Burndown Chart is very simple and easy to understand. It has two axes, X-axis and Y-axis. The X-axis represents the timeline of the project. It helps in positioning the current progress of the work. The Y-axis represents the remaining effort of the project. It helps in knowing the manager about the efforts required to complete the work in the time frame.

Two lines are formed while preparing the Burn down Chart.

  • Ideal Work Remaining Line

It is a line that joins the ends of the X-axis and Y-axis. This line is created on the assumption and it might not be accurate. This helps provide the project manager to estimate the number of efforts required to complete a project on or before the time frame. The end of the Y-axis represents the total amount of work to be done, while the endpoint of the X-axis represents that there is no work left.

  • Actual Work Remaining Line

This line represents the actual amount of work that is remaining in a project. While starting, both the lines ideal and actual work remaining lines start from the same point. The Actual work remaining Line fluctuates with time due to some circumstances. But in the case of ideal work remaining line is a straight line. Both ideal and actual work remaining lines end at the same point.

3. Benefits of a Burn down Chart

The benefits of the Burn down Chart are as follows:

  • It helps in allocating the current status of the work.
  • It helps in letting the manager know about the exact progress of work.
  • It also helps the manager in taking decisions regarding completing the project within the given time frame.
  • It helps in knowing the manager that there might be any hindrance in the progress which has resulted in a delay in the progress.
  • It helps in knowing the efficiency of the employees.
  • It is very helpful as it is very easy and simple to understand.

4. Limitations of a Burn down Chart

Along with benefits, Burn down Chart also has some limitations.

  • Burndown Chart let us know about the progress point of work, but it doesn’t show any changes as it cannot measure the actual progress in the work. So, it is very difficult to find out the reason for the change in the chart. These changes might occur because of an increase or decrease in the efforts, or this might be because of the backlog which has already been completed. 
  • Both burndown and burnup charts are not completely accurate until and unless there is no backlog left over after completion.
  • Another limitation is the ideal work line’s accuracy. The burndown chart is prepared to depend upon the ideal work line estimated by the manager, which might not be accurate completely.

5. History of the Burn down Chart

Fighter pilot Jeff Sutherland thought that he would not be able to complete his mission within one day, leading him to become the co-founder of Scrum. He was the part of inspiration while creating the Burndown Chart. When Jeff was ordered to gather information about a particular area, he got to know the only source window as a photo; this was transformed into a Burndown Chart. This was intentionally created to keep an eye on the agile development methods by the Scrum team.


Burndown chart is a simple chart that shows the amount of effort required to complete a task within a time frame. This chart is very easy to understand, and even a layman can understand the chart without any expertise. This chart helps the organizations allocate the progress of the work and act accordingly to complete the work on or before time. 

If you are interested in making a career in the Data Science domain, our 11-month in-person Product Management Certification can help you immensely in becoming a successful Data Science professional. 


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