How to create an Agile Burn-Up Graph in Google Docs

A Burn-Up graph is simply a stack graph showing the total amount of work the team has in their product backlog over a number of Sprints. I’ve used a variety of different Agile Burn-Up graphs over the years. Here’s one of my favourites:

Agile Burn-Up Graph

Agile Burn-Up Graph

I created this with Excel while working with an insurance company based in Mayfield, Ohio. In this article I’ll show you how to create something similar using Google docs.

Understanding the Burn-up Graph

This graph (above) shows the total amount of work in the product backlog (top line of the graph), the amount of work completed (yellow) and the amount of work remaining (red and blue). The amount of work remaining is divided into estimated work (red) and un-estimated work (blue) which we guessed at using a very course scale. At the start you can see the total amount of work on the backlog increase until the fourth Sprint as indicated by the rising top-line of the graph.

After the fourth Sprint the team decided that they needed to start breaking down the un-estimated work into small User Stories and so you can see an increase in the red area of the graph and a decline in the blue. We continued to complete work, so the yellow area continued to grow.

By Sprint 12 we had completely broken down all the large bodies of work and had a well refined backlog.

Creating the Graph in Google Spreadsheets

The Google graph that I’ve created is a little bit simpler than the graph above. It shows the total amount of work in the product, the total amount of work added to the product backlog, and the total amount of work completed. You can get the Google Spreadsheet document to create this graph here.

This is what it looks like:

Agile Product Burn-up Graph

Agile Product Burn-up Graph

The spreadsheet contains two tabs. The first tab contains the data necessary for the graph, and the second tab contains the graph. To start using this graph,

  1. Make a copy of the Google Spreadsheet
  2. Enter the total of the teams estimates in the product backlog into the first column of Series A.
  3. There after all you need to record is the total number of the teams estimates completed at the end of each Sprint, and
  4. The total number of the teams estimates added to the Product Backlog (by the Product Owner) during the sprint.
Product Burn-up Graph Google Spreadsheet

Product Burn-up Graph Google Spreadsheet

You can get the Google Spreadsheet document to create this graph here.

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