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How is the Ideal Line on a Burndown report determined?

 

This feature is available in Enterprise and Ultimate editions.

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Question

On Burndown reports, the Y-intercept for the Ideal Line is the maximum Remaining To Do (or Open Estimate, in the case of a Project/Release Burndown) summation of all points on the graph. We assume this maximum value 'burns down' to zero over the duration of the iteration/sprint or project/release, so the X-intercept occurs at the latest date displayed on the graph, which is the iteration/sprint end date or release end date.  If there is no iteration/sprint selected, and the project/release does not have an end date, the X-intercept is the current date. 

The Ideal Line is the line between the Maximum To Do (or Estimate) and when the ToDo (or Estimate) reaches zero.

The inline burndown reports (the charts on the Iteration/Sprint Planning and Tracking pages) do not show the first day's progress.  Inline charts are locked in to the "end of the 1st day" thru the "end of the last day" time period, so work done on the first day is not included.  In the full chart in the Reports section, it is possible to back up one day and use the maximum value at the beginning of the first day to calculate the iterations/sprints ideal line.

Other Places to View Burndown

Sometimes when teams get started with Lifecycle, planning does not occur until several days into the iteration/sprint or project/release, so the ideal line will not be realistic. In this case, the burndown does not provide the best view of progress. There are better metrics to use when planning continues over the course of days or weeks and the overall scope is changing. The metric to use depends on the level of the burndown graph being viewed.

Where else can you see burndown...

Description

Iteration/Sprint Dashboard

The Iteration/Sprint Dashboard provides better context than just viewing the simple Burndown graph alone. The  Iteration/Sprint Dashboard includes metrics that indicate any scope changes as well as any growth of the amount of Detail Estimate, which may counter any progress in the team's burndown of the remaining To Do.

Estimate Trend Report

The Estimate Trend Report provides a more complete picture than the simple Burndown graph does. The Estimate Trend indicates any increases in scope that might counter the progress of completing/closing backlog. You an also view this report in the Project Dashboard. Either view provides better context than just viewing the simple Burndown graph alone.

Use report filters

Additionally, the burndown reports have additional filters that allow you to select specific start dates and durations for the burndown, as described below.