Learn Burndown Charts With Jira Software

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Last updated on
06th Aug, 2021
06th Aug, 2021
Learn Burndown Charts With Jira Software

There are several tools available in the market to make our Scrum projects smoother and our work more streamlined and easier to track; these tools have been designed to help us, as a Scrum team, to concentrate on effective and efficient delivery of quality products to our end-users.

One such tool is the Jira software from Atlassian that helps deliver value by offering tools for agile project management. Jira burndown charts help teams track epics and sprints and make decisions that positively impact the future and quality of the project. In this blog, we attempt to help you understand Jira burndown charts and monitor sprints with them.

Burndown Charts

Introduction to burndown charts in Jira

Jira burndown charts are like project trackers. They are visual aids that help to visually represent a project’s progress and help to plan and track sprints. It shows the amount of work that has already been completed in a sprint and the amount of work that is yet to be completed.

Burndown charts can be used by teams to understand if they will be able to reach their milestones and complete the work in the time allocated. Burndown charts also help the team in identifying scope creeps that may have occurred during the sprint.  

They help in: 

  • Collecting project data and helping teams understand how they should proceed through the sprint 
  • Communicating project goals clearly 
  • Allowing teams plan their sprints better 
  • Breaking down tasks more accurately

Jira Burndown Chart Tutorial

Let’s start off with the Jira burndown chart tutorial by first understanding about some of the basics: 

  • What is Scrum? Scrum is an Agile project management framework that is iterative and adaptive. It is the most used Agile framework and lays emphasis on collaboration, self-organization, and communication. 
  • What is an Epic? Scrum works by breaking down large projects into smaller chunks. Each such smaller chunk is called an Epic, which may be further broken down.  
  • What is a Sprint? Epics are broken down into Sprints, which are short, time-boxed periods allocated for finishing certain tasks. A working product is delivered at the end of each sprint. 

How are burndown charts calculated?

The burndown chart helps to measure the day-to-day work that is remaining in the sprint. Using the burndown chart, we can determine the total effort taken against the amount of work that is delivered in each iteration.

Burndown Charts

Burndown Charts Calculation

The burndown velocity represented by the slope shows the average productivity achieved each day and can be calculated by comparing the number of hours worked against the original project estimation.

This helps teams understand if the project is on time, early or behind schedule. Team members can refer to the burndown chart and make any adjustments to their pace of working.

How to create a burndown chart?

Putting together a burndown chart requires the consideration of a few elements. These are: 

1. Set estimation statistic: You need to set up an estimation statistic to find out how much work your team has completed. The estimation statistic is the unit of measurement that is used to estimate the work, such as story points, hours, user stories etc. This unit can be chosen by the team. The estimation statistic helps to calculate the team velocity for each sprint, which is the sum of the estimation statistic for completed stories. Velocity comes in handy during sprint planning.  

To set the estimation statistic in Jira software (source Atlassian) 

  • Navigate to the board or backlog, then select more (

    Ellipses button
    ) > Board settings.

Steps to Create Burndown Chart

  • Click the Estimation tab. 
  • Set your estimation statistic either by selecting through the drop-down or entering your own estimate. 

Steps to Create Burndown Chart

2. Entering estimates:  Estimating stories help to decide how much time would be needed to complete certain tasks in the sprint. Before the start of the sprint, you need to enter the estimate. This could be in story points or any other estimate you have chosen.

To enter an estimate: 

  1. Go to the Backlog of your Scrum project. 
  2. Select an issue. Once the issue is selected you can see its details on the right side.  
  3. Enter an estimate in the Story points or Original estimate field, depending on what you have chosen as your estimation statistic  

Steps to Create Burndown Chart

How to view and understand the burndown chart 

You can track your team’s progress with the sprint burndown chart. Since the burndown chart shows the amount of work left to be done in a sprint, it can used to estimate if the sprint goal can be achieved in the allotted time. By tracking how much work is left throughout the sprint, the team can better organize itself in reaching the goal. Let’s see how to view and decipher the burndown chart.  

To view the sprint burndown chart (Source Atlassian https://www.atlassian.com/agile/tutorials/burndown-charts): 

  1. Navigate to your scrum project. 
  2. Select the Backlog or Active sprint. 
  3. Click Reports, then select Burndown Chart. 

Your burndown chart will look like below: 

Steps to Create Burndown Chart
Source: atlassian.com

Understanding your burndown chart: 

  1. The vertical axis labelled 1 represents the estimation statistic, in this case story points.  
  2. The red sloping line is a representation of the amount of work that is left to complete in the sprint according to estimates. 
  3. The grey line represents the guideline, or an approximation of where your team should ideally be assuming linear progress. Based on this guideline and the position of the red line relative to it, teams can decide if they are likely to complete the work on time or not. For example, if the red line is below the grey line, then the team is on track to complete its work; but if it is over the grey line, then the team must-think its sprint planning.  


As projects get more critical and extensive as a Scrum Master or Product Owner you might often get frustrated at the lack of planning and co-ordination in the team. Burndown charts are the perfect solution for this and will allow teams to plan their sprints better, which in turn will enhance productivity and ensure customer satisfaction. The Jira software from Atlassian has a huge number of tools including the Jira burndown chart that will aid the Scrum team on their journey to success.  



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