GUIDE 2024

How to Create Burndown Charts in Jira [Tutorial]

Interested in learning how to create burndown charts in Jira? You’ve come to the right place!

The Jira burndown chart tutorial is for any agile team or team member who wants to track the progress of a sprint or epic while working with Jira software. The burndown chart provides an overview of how much work remains and how fast scrum teams work. As a project management and bug-tracking program, Jira improves team communication and collaboration. 

To make the most of this tutorial, you should have a Jira software account and a Jira Software Scrum project. Some familiarity with the fundamentals of Scrum and Epics is also helpful.

Here’s how to create burndown charts in Jira in three steps: 

  1. Set the team’s estimation statistic 
  2. Estimate your issues 
  3. Track your team’s progress with burndown charts 

Step 1: Set the Team’s Estimation Statistic 

An estimation statistic is a unit of measurement that allows you or your team to estimate work. Teams can measure work in Jira using hours, story points, or a customized version of a statistic unique to the scrum project.

Credit: Atlassian

This is important because it allows you to determine the team’s velocity, and knowing the team’s velocity is beneficial for sprint planning, which in turn allows you to determine how much work each team is capable of handling. 

To set an estimation statistic for your scrum project: 

  1. Go to the board or backlog. 
  2. Click ‘more’ (…) then choose ‘Board settings’
  3. Click the ‘Estimation Tab’ and set your preferences. 

Many software teams estimate their work using a time format and depending on the sprint goal, and this can be by hours, days, weeks, or months. However, there are agile teams who have transitioned to story points.


Step 2: Estimate Your Issues 

This step allows you to determine how much time your team needs to complete all the tasks in the current and future sprints. 

Estimation is the measure of your team’s backlog. This includes all individual pieces of work too. On the other hand, tracking is when you use these estimates to determine whether the work and tasks are on track. 

Credit: Atlassian

The total amount of completed work against how much work the team still needs to do relative to the project time provides this estimate. 

To set an estimate for any issue within your scrum project: 

  1. Go to your scrum project and choose an issue from your board or backlog. 
  2. Go to the issue details and click the Estimate field. 
  3. Add an estimate. 

It is normal to experience difficulty when estimating issues. Using an estimation guide for pointers can prove useful, including how to change estimates once they’ve been entered.


Step 3: Track Your Team’s Progress with Burndown Charts 

At this point, your Jira Burndown Charts are ready. Now, it’s up to you whether your team prefers a sprint burndown chart or an epic burndown chart in Jira. 

Sprint Burndown Charts 

Your sprint burndown chart tracks the completed work and total work remaining in the sprint. It also allows you to measure the likelihood of reaching a team or sprint goal. Because teams are able to track work throughout the sprint, they can monitor its progress and make decisions appropriately.  

Credit: Atlassian

To access the sprint burndown chart for your scrum project: 

  1. Go to your scrum project. 
  2. Click ‘active sprint’ or ‘backlog’. 
  3. Select Report, then Burndown Chart

When attempting to understand sprint burndown charts, here are some things to keep in mind: 

  • Estimation Statistic – This is the y or vertical axis that represents whether the data is story points or original time estimates.
  • Remaining Values – This is the red line, and it shows the work left in a sprint, which depends on team estimates.
  • Guideline – This is the grey line, and it shows where your time currently is. This approximation provides a rough idea of if your team is on track or not.

Alternatively, there’s the option to use an epic burndown chart. 

Epic Burndown Chart 

The epic burndown chart allows your scrum team to view their progress during a sprint. It provides access to a complete overview of the team’s performance and progress on an Epic. The chart allows you to see how fast your team works through an epic. It shows how adding or removing work during a sprint, affects the entire team’s progress. 

Credit: Atlassian

It also allows you to make accurate predictions of how many sprints your project needs. 

In any case, to view the epic burndown chart for your scrum project: 

  1. Go to your scrum project. 
  2. Select the active sprint or backlog 
  3. Click ‘Reports’ and there you select ‘Epic Burndown.’ 
  4. The dropdown along the Epic Burndown header displays all the epics based on your board settings. Select the epic you need. 

Here’s how you make sense of the epic burndown chart: 

  • Epic MenuHere you select the right epic to view its data. 
  • Work CompletedThe green segment displays your team’s work completion in the epic for each sprint. 
  • Work RemainingThe light blue parts represent the remaining work in an epic. 
  • Work AddedThe dark blue parts represent any changes in work during the epic.
  • Project CompletionThis provides an estimate of the total number of sprints to deliver and complete an epic. 

Scrum methodology entails that there’s no idea ideal line in the chart. The actual line is an average of both lines, and the closer they are, the better. Whether you’re new or just looking for a refresher, use this Jira burndown chart tutorial to ensure your teams always wrap their sprints up on time.


Josh Fechter
Josh Fechter
Josh Fechter is the co-founder of Product HQ, founder of Technical Writer HQ, and founder and head of product of Squibler. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.