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How to Create a Burndown Chart in Google Docs

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How to Create a Burndown Chart in Google Docs

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A burndown chart can be used by an agile team to track their progress against a release plan. In its simplest form, the chart consists of time on the X axis and the amount of work on the Y axis.

You can choose to burn down on whatever metrics that are relevant to your team. Since I prefer burning down on story points against iterations, that is what we’ll use for this tutorial.

It only takes a Google Account, a few minutes of your spare time and best of all it’s free.

Create a Google Spreadsheet
Burndown Chart in Google Spreadsheets

Enter 3 columns labeled Iterations, Ideal and Actual
Burndown Chart in Google Spreadsheets

Enter the number of planned iterations in the Iterations column
Burndown Chart in Google Spreadsheets

Enter the ideal number of points to complete per iteration in the Ideal column. (we’re using a velocity of 10)
Burndown Chart in Google Spreadsheets

Enter in the actual number of points completed by the team per iteration in the Actual column
Burndown Chart in Google Spreadsheets

Click the Insert Chart icon
Burndown Chart in Google Spreadsheets

Click select data range and select your rows of data
Burndown Chart in Google Spreadsheets

Select line chart type
Burndown Chart in Google Spreadsheets

Check both “Use row 3 as headers” and “Use column A as labels”
Burndown Chart in Google Spreadsheets

Customize it with a title of Release Burndown, an X axis label of Iterations, a Y axis label of Story Points and a Point Style of Tiny
Burndown Chart in Google Spreadsheets

Click the Insert button
Burndown Chart in Google Spreadsheets

I’ve shared the burndown chart I created in this demo if you wish to get a better idea of how it is structured. It is only a guide, and there are many different ways you can change the data to suit your needs. These variations range from burning down, burning up and accounting for changes in velocity to predicting optimistic / pessimistic completions and so on.

If you continue to find these quick tutorials useful, such as the Virtual Story Wall in Google Docs, let me know in the comments and I’ll continue to create them.

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Published at DZone with permission of David Bland, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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