Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What a Burndown Chart is Not

A burndown char is not:
  • a fortune teller crystal ball that you can learn to use to predict how things will be occurring in the future
  • a time machine that will allow you to travel back and forth in time to fix things or foresee pitfalls
  • a single chart that will concentrate in it all the necessary information for you to see at a first glance project and team status
  • a chart that is magically draw by somebody everyday before you come to the office
  • an accurate and no misleading indicator
  • a complicated tool that takes too much effort to understand and maintain
  • a converging point tool that the team will use to agree on something
  • a bargain chip that managers can use for negociating witht the team
  • the ultimate indicator for measuring team's productivity
Locally the question would be, what a burndown chart truly is? I'll save the answer to that question for another post, stay tunned.


  1. Hi Juan well...I've been reading some of your posts and they are really interesting...but as far as I can see all of them are written from a biased point of view...a manager view. Maybe it would be interesting to start thinking about how the team ( those poor guys working to complete the project :) ) understand what is SCRUM and it's fancy terminology. Have you ever asked your team members what do they think about scrum? Does the team members find SCRUM useful? Which are the benefits of SCRUM from their point of view?

    Currently I'm working as a developer on a mid-size outsourcing company that is trying (or at least they say that) to apply SCRUM on its projects...I am a CSM so I know the basic SCRUM concepts...but even with that I've never been able to tell anyone which are the benefits of SCRUM without being so religious.

  2. Well, I'm a manager and I think like one :) but that doesn't mean that I don't share opinions about Scrum with my teams. Actually, what I'm doing is coaching engineers in teams, out of that coaching activity, I'm getting interesting questions and my answers is what originate my post in this blog.

    Besides and Scrum enthusiastic, I'm also an Aikido practitioner, not a good one by the way, just a beginner :). Many people in the dojo ask the same repetitive question, "is Aikido really effective?", in my experience you need to really understand the philosophy behind it and practice a lot to really make it work for you. Something similar with Scrum.

    Scrum is again like Aikido, you can't practice it alone, you need partners as motivated as you, then you'll start seeing the benefits.

    Just my two cents,