Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Creating Burn-Down Charts for Jira Projects

Just the Facts provides powerful charting tools that can combine multiple facts across both the same and different cloud services.  While project tracking tools like Jira's GreenHopper do provide built-in burn-down charts, you can also chart this data in Just the Facts for greater flexibility in how a sprint's progress is visualized, or to be able to track progress across multiple sprints or projects.

We'll begin by navigating to the GreenHopper Agile Board showing our project's current sprint.  As you can see, under the Plan tab we are shown a count of issues in the various states defined for our project, such as Not Started, In Progress, and Done (if your project is using story points, the total points are shown instead).

GreenHopper Planning Board
From this screen, we'll active the Just the Facts extension and subscribe to the counts of issues in each of the three states:

Subscribing to Jira Story Counts
Giving us a subscription to the following three facts:
Story Count Facts
There's one additional data point we'll want to chart: the total amount of work remaining.  While Jira doesn't provide us this number directly, we can track it by creating a Combined Fact.
We'll select the "In Progress" and "Not Started" facts and click on the Combine button ().  This will display the following dialog:
Creating the "Work Remaining" Fact
We'll name the new fact "Work Remaining" and click "Save."

To go ahead and create our chart, we can either proceed immediately or wait for one day so that we have two days worth of data to chart.  The screens below are taken based on two days of data, to make it clearer how the chart will look day-to-day.

We'll begin by selecting the four facts we are charting.  We can use the drop-down filter on the top left to view just the facts to chart - in this case, we'll select "GreenHopper" to view the burn down facts and "Combined" to view the calculated Work Remaining:
Drop Down Filter
giving us the following facts to select:
Filtered Facts
After selecting all four facts, we'll click the Chart icon (), resulting in a line chart with the most recent values for these four facts:
Charting the Facts
And now we'll click the "Save" button and name the chart so we can view it at any time:
Saving a Chart
After an additional day of data, here's what our chart looks like - we can already see that the "Not Started" story count is going down, while the "Done" story count is increasing:
Burndown Chart
By default, the chart shows the past week of data, but we can use the Start Date and End Date pickers to change the date range.

There's one more set of improvements to make to our chart; we'll want to format it so that the three individual states are shown stacked, giving us an at a glance visual impression of the relative size of each state.  While viewing the Burndown chart, click the "Edit" button () to bring up the edit dialog:
Edit Chart Dialog
We'll make the following adjustments on this dialog and the click "Save."
  1. Assign specific colors to each of the four states by clicking the "Color" dropdown.
  2. Drag the facts to re order them so that they stack in the correct order.
  3. Select "Stack" and "Fill" for the Not Started, In Progress, and Done facts.
  4. Select "Solid" for the Not Started fact so that it displays in solid red.
  5. Select "Values" for the "Work Remaining" fact so that we can see its value as it decreases over time.
Here is the final, formatted Burndown Chart for our Jira project:

Formatted Burndown Chart

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