Reporting may not a major feature of Scrum or Agile however it is good for the Scrum Team to see their progress to be able to adapt accordingly. It speaks to the Scrum values of openness and respect (for the Scrum Team as well as stakeholders), as well as the Scrum Pillars of transparency, inspection and adaptation.
Below we show some key reports that can be used to track progress and for communication to stakeholders. The Burn Down Chart and Sprint Velocity will inform the Scrum Team on their commitment at the Sprint level. Whilst a Burn Up Chart and a Defects Trend Chart will help to adjust key decisions on upcoming commitments.
BURN DOWN CHART
The Burn Down Chart is a chart which shows the daily progress of completed Story Points during the Sprint (these Story Points were determined during Sprint Planning and added to the Sprint Backlog). It is a count down from the total of points the team committed for this Sprint. The x-axis is days and the y-axis is story points. Exclude weekends and public holidays and any non-working days for readability.
After each Daily Scrum, the Scrum Master or a Developer will mark on the chart how many story points were completed that day, and draw a line from the previous day. Start from the top left and move towards the bottom right corner (hence burn down). The closer to the diagonal representing a flow state, the better.
Some situations might and will occur when the trend of the Sprint is less than ‘optimal’. This is a great time to reflect and adjust.
Burndown Chart Example 1: Sprint Backlog Change
In Example 1 below, it shows where the Sprint Backlog was modified and therefore you can see a spike outwards where an item was added to the Backlog. The team can therefore see how they need to complete the Sprint with this change.
Burndown Chart Example 2: Overcommitment
In the example below, you can see where the Scrum Team is struggling to complete their commitment on the Sprint Backlog and may need intervention, or just overcommitment on Sprint Backlog items which can be reduced for the next Sprint.
Burndown Chart Example 3: Early Completion
This example shows an early completion which may be due to not committing to enough items in Sprint Planning, or completing items faster than expected. The Scrum Team should add more items to the Sprint Backlog for the next Sprint, or add another item to this Sprint Backlog if there is time to complete it.
The committed Sprint Velocity is determined by the Scrum Team during Sprint Planning. It’s calculated by adding up all the Story Points in the Sprint Backlog over the Sprint duration.
The actual Sprint Velocity is calculated at the end of the Sprint by adding up all the Story Points completed.
Teams can look at the velocity from previous Sprints to work out how many Product Backlog items will make it into the Sprint Backlog during the planning exercise. It is sometimes called “looking at yesterday’s weather”.
In comparison, if the next Sprint has fewer work days or team availability days then this will need to be taken into account. That is, just calculate velocity on actual work days. If it is your first Sprint, then there will be less data to determine an accurate velocity, however, the team may be able to determine a rough velocity from previous projects.
BURN UP CHART
Similar to the Burndown Chart, the Burn Up Chart determines the work completed, but across all Sprints. It also differs by running diagonally, starting from the bottom left at zero, working up to the top right as Story Points are completed. Data is taken from previous Sprints to build a projected trend, to reach either a certain number of points or a certain time.
The line across the top will show the velocity of all the Sprints, which is optional. If it is a straight line, all Sprints have the same velocity. When it moves, there is either an adjustment to velocity, scope creep, or scope change; which in Agile can be common, but good to track. If your scope changes regularly, then this chart is the one for you.
The example below also shows the projected ‘best case’ and ‘worst case’ variance in blue.
DEFECTS TREND CHART
The Defects Trend Chart plots Total Defects, Open Defects, and Fixed Defects. The X-axis is time (ie. Sprints), Y-axis is the number of defects.
This chart is used to check whether your technical debt is increasing or decreasing by looking at spikes in Total Defects (you can read more about Technical Debt in Chapter 8 of Essential Scrum). You would expect most defects to occur early which should prevent defects down the track as new features are built. If Total Defects are peaking later, it may mean that the original code or build needs to be investigated or fixed, or a platform upgrade may be required.
It’s also good to see whether testing is encroaching on development time by looking at the Fixed Defects line. When it is flatlining, there are lots of defects to fix. This might also correlate with your Burndown Chart and Sprint Velocity if you are not meeting the velocity. Or it may be to do with your team capacity.
Where To Store Your Charts
If Your Team Is In-Person: Add charts to your task board along with the Sprint board on the wall near the Scrum Team. The Scrum Master manually updates the charts after every Daily Sprint meeting.
If Your Team Is Virtual: All good Agile software has charts, so use the in-built ones with the software that you use. However, an Excel chart is a simple way to start if you don’t have other tools or need to create one quickly. We recommend including your charts in communications and Scrum Events, and on your Wiki or virtual whiteboards.
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