Free Excel Burndown Chart Template from Hot PMO

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PMO people spend a lot of time creating templates, including this great Excel Burndown chart. PMOs generally develop templates for the following reasons:

  • Standardization – having a consistent format or structure across a program or organization means it is easier for people to operate across teams without having to relearn. It also means other areas of the business who work with the entire portfolio of project teams know what to expect, and where to find the information they need
  • Quality – Often, in software delivery projects, accuracy is essential. Small errors can quickly multiply and have significant ripple effects across teams. Templates are used to build quality into the process. Examples of how the PMO can build quality into templates include – adding prompts or mandatory fields to prevent accidental omission and adding calculated fields to cross-check data for errors.
  • Speed – Templates can speed up delivery by reducing the amount of time taken to ‘reinvent the wheel’. If one team has an example of good or ‘best’ practice, then It can be standardized and used across multiple agile teams.

You can find more templates for the PMO, Project Managers, and Agile teams over at our templates page.

Free Scrum Burndown Chart in Excel

You asked if HotPMO has a template for creating a burndown chart in Excel. Well, yes, we have, and here it is! Many teams using Scrum use burndown charts as a tool to measure velocity. While many tools such as Jira and Trello include burndown chart functionality, it is useful to create your own version using an Excel template to see how it works and check your calculations.

An Agile Burndown chart in Excel with HotPMO branding.
Agile Burndown chart in Excel

What is a Burndown chart?

A burn down chart is a visual depiction of the amount of work done, and left to do, over time. On the vertical axis, burndown charts show the amount of work to be completed. Depending on how your team operates, this maybe described in terms of the number of product backlog items that need to be developed, the number of defects that need to be fixed, or the number of story points that a team wishes to complete.

The horizonal axis labels show elapsed time. Burndown charts typically cover a single development iteration, or sprint. Sprints cover a period ranging from a week to 30 days in duration, although we two-week sprints seem to be the most common.

The burndown is a line chart that contains two lines. The first line on the line chart shows a straight line from top left to bottom right. This line is to represent the ideal or model view. The second line on the line chart shows our actual work completion. Let’s say we start with ten units of work to complete. One day in, we have completed one piece of work. For day zero, we would plot 10 pieces of work remaining. On day one we would plot 9 pieces of work remaining, and so on.

Reading the burndown chart

If when looking at our excel charts we see the actual work line is above the ideal trend line, then it should be seen as a warning that the work may not all be completed on time if the current pace is maintained. Of course, things are rarely that simple, and lines may often start flat, before falling rapidly – especially in teams who tend to separate development and testing work. The important thing about burndown charts is that they are intended to be a tool for the team to use to visualise and discuss their progress. They are the ones who should be able to interpret the graph and add their understanding of the work items, and it is them who should be able to recognise where the burndown chart is warning of issues that need escalating or remediating.

People working with the agile scrum team can use the graph to get a view of the actual remaining work in the iteration, and to compare actual effort to complete a backlog item with the estimated effort.

What you need to know about this burn down template

Click on the image to download a simple template that will generate a simple burndown chart. The sheet uses Excel’s built-in tables and advanced charts functionality to create a simple burndown chart containing a list of features and progress by the day.

But that’s not all! The template also includes a simple Kanban chart, allowing you to see at a glance how many stories are still in the Backlog, In Progress or Done.

Because we know you are short on time, there is no complex configuration required. Simply replace the sample data with your own and you will be good to go!

The sheet is designed to work with Excel 2016 and above, including Office365. If your organization is using an older version of Excel (finance sector, I’m looking at you here!), you should still be able to use the template, but you will need to change the chart type for the Kanban chart to make it a Histogram (Bar chart).

How to use this burndown chart Excel Template

Download the Excel template by clicking on the image above, Populate the table with your features, Estimated hours, and Status. The priority column is optional and can be used to sort your data quickly. The ‘Status’ drives the Kanban chart: Features can either be in the Backlog, In Progress, or Done. ‘Status’ does not affect the Burndown chart. Track the actual hours worked by day as you go through your iteration. The Burndown will update automatically based on the data in the calculated cells in E2:J4. The chart can be expanded vertically to add more features without any changes to formulae.

This burndown chart is free of Macros and Excel VBA so it should work even in the most locked-down working environments!

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While this Excel burndown chart template provides a valuable starting point, imagine the impact of having access to hundreds more templates just like it. With the PMO Vault, you can accelerate your PMO setup and project evolution seamlessly. Dive deep into a rich repository that features:

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