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Tools – Burn Down Chart

January 7, 2010

The Burn Down Chart, or as some like to use it, the Burn Up Chart is a simple, yet useful tool to graphically display progress.  I introduce it in the first class of Project Management Essentials to show the class how far we have progressed through the slide deck.  At the break we should be roughly through 1/2 of the slides.  If we are not through 1/2 of the slides at the break, it is a signal to me to pick up the pace.  I post a burn down chart for each class, demonstrating the use of the tool.

The burn down chart comes from the Agile/SCRUM world and is usually used to chart how much work has been done in a sprint.  It is most useful when it can be displayed in a prominent place so that everyone can see it and be motivated by it.  I recommend posting it on large chart paper.   3M makes a lovely post-it paper in just the right size.  (unsolicited endorsement)

I have attached a link to an excel version of the burn down chart.  It can also be used in meetings, seminars, classes to indicate progress.  Just another tool for the tool box.  A picture paints a thousand words!

burn down chart

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