What is a Jira burndown chart and how can it be created in Excel

In agile project management, tracking progress and managing workloads are essential for success. Jira, a popular project management tool, offers a powerful feature known as burndown charts to visualize team progress and forecast project completion. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the concept of Jira burndown charts, their significance in agile methodologies, and provide a step-by-step guide on creating them in Excel. Additionally, we’ll offer valuable external resources and FAQs to enhance your understanding.

Understanding Jira Burndown Charts

Jira burndown charts provide a visual representation of work remaining versus time during a sprint or project. They help agile teams track their progress, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions to optimize productivity. By plotting ideal and actual work completion lines, burndown charts offer insights into team velocity and sprint goals.

Key Components of Jira Burndown Charts

  1. Ideal Work Completion Line:
    • Represents the expected rate of work completion throughout the sprint. It assumes a linear progression, indicating how much work should ideally be completed each day to meet sprint goals.
  2. Actual Work Completion Line:
    • Reflects the actual progress made by the team during the sprint. It tracks the remaining work over time, allowing teams to compare their performance against the ideal completion line.
  3. Remaining Work:
    • Displays the total amount of work remaining in the sprint backlog. This metric helps teams gauge their progress and adjust their efforts to ensure timely completion of tasks.

Creating Jira Burndown Charts in Excel: Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Gather Data:
    • Collect data on daily work completed and remaining work for each day of the sprint. Ensure accuracy and consistency in data collection to generate reliable burndown charts.
  2. Open Excel:
    • Launch Microsoft Excel and create a new spreadsheet. Organize your data in columns, with one column for each day of the sprint and rows for actual work completed and remaining work.
  3. Plot Ideal Work Completion Line:
    • Calculate the ideal work completion line based on the total work planned for the sprint and the duration of the sprint. Plot this line on the Excel chart to visualize the expected progress.
  4. Plot Actual Work Completion Line:
    • Enter the actual work completed and remaining work data into Excel. Use this data to plot the actual work completion line on the chart, reflecting the team’s progress throughout the sprint.
  5. Format Chart:
    • Customize the chart’s appearance by adding titles, labels, and formatting options. Ensure clarity and readability to facilitate easy interpretation of the burndown chart.
  6. Analyze and Interpret:
    • Review the generated burndown chart to analyze team performance, identify trends, and make informed decisions. Use the insights gained to optimize workflows and improve sprint planning in future iterations.

External Resources and FAQs

External Links:

  1. Atlassian Jira Documentation on Burndown Charts
  2. Excel Burndown Chart Template


Q: How often should burndown charts be updated during a sprint?

A: Burndown charts should be updated daily to reflect the latest progress and provide real-time insights into team performance. Regular updates ensure accuracy and facilitate timely adjustments to sprint goals.

Q: What factors can influence fluctuations in the burndown chart?

A: Fluctuations in the burndown chart may be influenced by factors such as scope changes, unexpected obstacles, resource constraints, or changes in team velocity. It’s essential to monitor trends and address any issues promptly to maintain sprint momentum.

Q: Can burndown charts be used for long-term project tracking?

A: While burndown charts are commonly used for short-term sprint tracking in agile methodologies, they can also be adapted for long-term project tracking. However, additional considerations may be necessary to account for extended timelines and evolving project requirements.


Jira burndown charts are invaluable tools for agile teams to track progress, manage workloads, and make data-driven decisions. By understanding the key components of burndown charts and learning how to create them in Excel, teams can enhance their project management capabilities and achieve greater efficiency in sprint execution. Leveraging external resources and FAQs can further enrich your knowledge and empower you to leverage burndown charts effectively in your agile projects.

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