Hello, and welcome back to Scrum 101. There are many ways of measuring
progress throughout the duration of a sprint. And one of the more common
ways is to draw a sprint burn down graph. I’d like to talk about that
With a sprint burn down graph, what we do is plot the total number of hours
remaining on a day by day basis. And if we do that, we’ll have a line graph
that looks something like this. You will notice that there is an initial
increase in a line graph. This is very common.
Let me draw the profile for this burn down graph, and you will notice that
it goes up before it comes down. Like this for example. Let me talk through
this graph so that you’ll understand the teams behavior throughout the
duration of a sprint. Initially the team will give you their best estimate
for the total number of hours remaining. They won’t know for sure, but they
will do their best. They will give you their best estimate.
Over a period of days, when we start actually looking at the code. That’s
when the team starts understanding the reality of their commitments. They
will find out that the code isn’t documented very correctly. They will find
out that the code may be uglier than they originally anticipated. Or it may
not behave in a very nice fashion.
So, usually what happens is the total number of hours remaining, increases.
And it’s typical for the total number of hours remaining to increase for a
period of two or three days. After about two or three days, the team will
have a much better understanding of what work is actually required to
achieve their commitments. And so, they will start then, burning down the
total number of hours remaining, until they’ve completed the sprint.
Occasionally, you will see a burn down graph that looks like this. A nice
predictable straight line. There is a common name for this graph, it’s
known as “A big fat lie”. And the reason why it’s a big fat lie, is because
this graph shows no understanding, no learning about the code.
So, be ware of straight line graphs. There are a number of other ways of
generating this straight burn down graph, they’re becoming very popular.
Instead of estimating the total of hours remaining on a day by day basis,
an alternative is to count the number of user stories or the total number
of tasks remaining, and plot that on a day by day basis.
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