January 6, 2011

Creating a Burn Down Chart in TestTrack

Helix ALM
Burn down charts, which provide a graphical representation of work remaining in a sprint or iteration, are useful for keeping track of your team's progress. Creating a burn down chart report in TestTrack is easy, once you know what pieces are needed. Like all reports, good data is the key. In this post, I'll walk you through creating a burn down chart and explain some of the options.

Creating the report

To get started, you'll need to create a new report in TestTrack. Choose Create > Report, select Release Status, and click OK. [caption id="attachment_6591" align="aligncenter" width="367"]Create Report Window Select Report Type[/caption]

The first three things you need for the report are:

  • Name - short description (32 character limit)
  • Title - report title that is displayed when the report is viewed or printed (63 character limit)
  • Sharing - Set who will see the report.
Now let's walk through all the tabs in the Add Release Status Report dialog box. First up is the Report On tab. Here, you are presented with several choices. Select Burn Down Chart. [caption id="attachment_6594" align="aligncenter" width="365"]Create Report - Report On tab Report On tab[/caption]

Next is the Source tab, which is probably the most important tab because this is where you configure where the data is pulled from. The report must be pointed to a folder with Release Planning fields enabled and project start and end dates. Click the Browse... button and choose a folder that has these fields set up.

Note: If you select a folder that does not have release planning enabled, you will be prompted to choose one that does. If you have questions on how to set up these folders, the Organizing Data with Folders section in the TestTrack User Guide should answer most of them. [caption id="attachment_6601" align="aligncenter" width="394"]Source tab Source tab[/caption]

After you select the folder, the Details section will show the start and end dates. You will also have the option to recursively include data in selected child folders.

[caption id="attachment_6598" align="aligncenter" width="238"]Recursive Folder option Recursive Folder option[/caption]

Next, you need to specify which items to report on in the Item Filters section. Folders can contain any item type. Depending on which TestTrack licenses you have, you may not have all the options that are shown in the following screenshot:

[caption id="attachment_6603" align="aligncenter" width="378"]Item Filters Section Item Filters Section[/caption]

For this example, we're creating a burn down chart for a specific sprint (Sprint 1) and calculating the daily burn down based on time recorded daily against tasks. For the burn down to be calculated properly you need to ensure that time tracking is being used on the items you select for the report. This includes setting hour estimates, as well as a daily update of the actual and remaining hours.

If you have questions about time tracking, these blog posts will help: The option to Include data for linked items allows you to include the hours from items that are linked to the items that you selected to report on. You can also specify to only include items that are linked by a specific link definition. Make sure that the linked items have the proper time tracking set up, otherwise they will not be reflected in the report. If you want to report against story points, you can. However, story points work differently because you don't update "remaining points" on a daily basis. Story points are given to an item initially and they remain until the item enters a Closed state. (To learn more, check out my Open versus Closed States in TestTrack blog post.) The remaining two tabs, Options and Sorting are not used for this report.

Sample burn down chart

Here's a screenshot of the burn down chart, taken on 11/25/2010. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, good data is key. As you can see, I do not have the most realistic data. My sprint is way ahead of schedule! [caption id="attachment_6617" align="aligncenter" width="484"]Burn Down Chart Burn Down Chart[/caption]