How do I create a Burndown Chart using my Kanban board?

I am using excel to generate a Burndown for a 6 week release, which is on a Kanban board. Is there an easy way I can generate the Burndown using the Kanban Board to display a report on the team wiki?

Even better, is it possible to create a gadget Kanban Burndown?

I know it would not be as accurate as a Scrum Board, but it will aid us tremendously in visualizing our bottlenecks.






1 answer

3 votes

Nope.  Burndown charts are for showing the estimated and actual work occurring in a sprint.  Kanban doesn't have sprints, so "kanban burndown" is basically nonsense.  Even saying "6 week release" implies you should be using a Scrum board because you are planning what is effectively a sprint.

Try the Control report though - that gives you a good indication of how your team is doing without needing a sprint to tie it to.  (I quite like the cumulative flow instead, it feels better for "how we're doing" at a glance)


Hi, I was hoping I might be able to get some help with this as well. We have multiple projects for different clients that we're servicing and since they are all small engagements, I have been trying to combine all of these into one. Since I have combined multiple projects into one, I am no longer able to create a sprint board and have been forced to create a Kanban board to manage them. We are still working in 2 week sprint cycles and I would still like to be able to pull some helpful data to interrogate our velocity and performance. Any idea how I can either run multiple projects on 1 sprint board or how I can generate burndown charts for the current Kanban board?

The problem you have with burndown is that it has to be time-boxed, which simply isn't there in Kanban.

However, you say "I am no longer able to create a sprint board" - why is that?  You should be able to create a new board, adjust its filter to include many projects and work off that.

I don't understand why this is not possible. I would think that moving a task to "Done" would result in the stack of tasks at hand to reduce, thus showing the candle to burn down.

Again, velocity is how you perform against a set of goals during a set period of time and is used to compare with other non-overlapping periods of the same length. 

Kanban does not have a start or end date/time, or a commitment.  So there's no way to usefully define a velocity and hence burndown.  A burndown chart needs a start, an end, a measure of size, a flag for done, and a goal.  Kanban only has two of the five things needed for such a chart.

This seems like a little short sighted. If I were to select a group of cards and a start time and a finish time why would I not be able to have a burndown chart? Who cares if the time lengths are the same as the previous chart? Cards are flagged as done once they are marked as done. Cards can be allocated a time estimate to complete. I can see a very easy way to do this without being caught in the straight jacket of "pure" scrum, or "pure" kanban. Tools are there to help people, not people there to help tools. Cart, donkey, et alia.

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