Sprint Without A Burndown Chart

I’ve been experimenting with leaving off a sprint burndown chart for the last two sprints on a project. Everything critical is tracked on a corkboard and I have a separate chart that shows where we are as far as moving content onto a new intranet. So far no one’s missed it.

Part of the reason for the lack of the burndown chart is that I no longer record the sprint backlog in Excel so I don’t get an easily generated chart. The other reason is I can’t see that it’s providing much value. Some Scrum Masters focus too much on the burndown and whether the team is above or below the line. The focus is on the artifact of the process and not what’s really going on with the team. If you hold daily meetings as a Scrum Master and you don’t already know about a real problem developing then you’re really not doing your job.

Release burndowns are valuable as a means of estimating approximately how many story points or ideal days the team is able to deliver for an average Sprint. Unfortunately until at least three Sprints are done this doesn’t tell you a whole lot either.