What is an Azure Burndown chart

Project management in software development requires robust tools and methodologies to ensure timely delivery and quality outcomes. One such powerful tool is the Azure Burndown chart, provided by Microsoft Azure DevOps. This guide will delve into what Azure Burndown charts are, their benefits, how to use them effectively, and frequently asked questions (FAQs).

What is an Azure Burndown Chart?

An Azure Burndown chart is a graphical representation that shows the amount of work remaining versus the time available in a sprint or project. It helps teams track their progress and predict whether they will complete their work within the given timeframe. The chart typically features two lines:

  • Ideal Burndown Line: Represents the ideal pace of work completion.
  • Actual Burndown Line: Tracks the actual progress of work completion over time.

Benefits of Using Azure Burndown Charts

Using Azure Burndown charts offers several key benefits for project management and team collaboration:

1. Visual Progress Tracking

Azure Burndown charts provide a clear visual representation of a team’s progress, making it easy to see how much work remains and how quickly it is being completed. This visualization helps teams stay aligned and focused on their goals.

2. Enhanced Predictability

By comparing the actual progress line to the ideal burndown line, teams can predict whether they are on track to complete their tasks within the sprint. This predictability helps in proactive decision-making and course correction if necessary.

3. Improved Accountability

Burndown charts highlight each team member’s contribution and progress. This transparency fosters accountability and encourages team members to maintain a consistent pace of work.

4. Early Detection of Issues

Regularly monitoring the burndown chart allows teams to identify potential issues early. If the actual burndown line deviates significantly from the ideal line, it indicates problems that need to be addressed, such as scope creep or underestimated tasks.

5. Motivation and Morale Boost

Seeing the burndown chart progress can be a great motivator for teams. Watching the work remaining decrease over time can boost morale and encourage team members to stay committed to their tasks.

6. Better Resource Management

Burndown charts help project managers allocate resources more effectively. By understanding the progress and workload, managers can make informed decisions about assigning additional resources or re-distributing tasks to balance the workload.

7. Facilitates Agile Practices

Azure Burndown charts align well with Agile methodologies, especially Scrum. They support iterative development, continuous improvement, and adaptive planning, which are core principles of Agile.

How to Create and Use an Azure Burndown Chart

Step 1: Set Up Your Project in Azure DevOps

  1. Create a New Project: If you haven’t already, create a new project in Azure DevOps.
  2. Define Your Sprint: Set up your sprint, including start and end dates. This is essential for the burndown chart to track progress over the correct timeframe.

Step 2: Add and Assign Work Items

  1. Create Work Items: Add work items such as tasks, bugs, and user stories to your sprint.
  2. Estimate Effort: Assign estimates to each work item. This could be in hours, story points, or any other unit of measure your team uses.
  3. Assign Work Items: Allocate the work items to team members to ensure accountability and ownership.

Step 3: Track Progress

  1. Update Work Items Regularly: Team members should update the status of their work items daily, marking them as in progress or completed.
  2. Monitor the Burndown Chart: Navigate to the burndown chart in Azure DevOps to monitor progress. The chart will automatically update as work items are completed.

Step 4: Analyze and Adjust

  1. Review the Chart: Regularly review the burndown chart during stand-up meetings or sprint reviews.
  2. Identify Deviations: Look for deviations between the actual and ideal burndown lines. Significant deviations may indicate problems that need to be addressed.
  3. Adjust Plans: Based on the analysis, adjust your plans and resources to ensure the sprint stays on track.

Best Practices for Using Azure Burndown Charts

  1. Keep Work Items Small and Manageable: Break down large tasks into smaller, manageable work items. This helps in maintaining a steady pace of progress.
  2. Update Status Regularly: Ensure team members update the status of their work items frequently to keep the burndown chart accurate.
  3. Set Realistic Estimates: Accurate estimates are crucial for the burndown chart to reflect true progress. Encourage the team to provide realistic effort estimates.
  4. Conduct Regular Reviews: Use the burndown chart in daily stand-ups and sprint reviews to keep everyone informed about the project status.
  5. Encourage Team Collaboration: Promote a culture of collaboration where team members support each other in meeting sprint goals.

FAQs About Azure Burndown Charts

1. What is a burndown chart in Azure DevOps?

A burndown chart in Azure DevOps is a graphical tool that shows the amount of work remaining versus the time available, helping teams track their progress during a sprint.

2. How do I access the burndown chart in Azure DevOps?

To access the burndown chart, navigate to your Azure DevOps project, go to Boards, select Sprints, and then choose the Analytics tab. The burndown chart will be available there.

3. What do the lines on the burndown chart represent?

The ideal burndown line represents the optimal pace of work completion, while the actual burndown line shows the real progress of work completed over time.

4. How can I customize the burndown chart?

In Azure DevOps, you can customize the burndown chart by configuring the start and end dates of the sprint, choosing the effort field, and selecting the team or project scope.

5. Why is my burndown chart not updating?

If the burndown chart is not updating, ensure that team members are regularly updating the status of their work items. Additionally, check that the effort estimates and sprint dates are correctly configured.

6. Can I use a burndown chart for multiple teams?

Yes, you can create burndown charts for multiple teams in Azure DevOps. Ensure that each team has its sprint defined and work items assigned accordingly.

7. What is the difference between a burndown chart and a burnup chart?

A burndown chart tracks the remaining work over time, while a burnup chart shows both the total work completed and the total work remaining. Burnup charts provide a clearer view of scope changes during the sprint.

8. How often should I review the burndown chart?

Review the burndown chart daily during stand-up meetings and at the end of each sprint to evaluate overall progress and identify any issues early.

9. What should I do if my team is consistently behind on the burndown chart?

If your team is consistently behind, review your sprint planning and effort estimates. Identify any blockers or issues and adjust your plans or resources to address these challenges.

10. Can I export the burndown chart data?

Yes, you can export the burndown chart data from Azure DevOps for further analysis or reporting purposes. Use the Analytics view to access and export the data as needed.

Additional Resource

For further reading and more advanced tips, consider visiting these resources:


Azure Burndown charts are an invaluable tool for tracking progress, predicting outcomes, and enhancing team accountability in project management. By following best practices and regularly reviewing your burndown chart, you can ensure that your team stays on track to meet its goals and deliver high-quality results. Whether you are new to Azure DevOps or looking to refine your use of burndown charts, this guide provides the insights and steps needed to maximize the benefits of this powerful tool.

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