Trello, burndown chart, scrum tools

Why Burndown chart ? What’s the fuss ?

There are many sources on the internet that explains what a burndown chart is and why it is done. I found this almost 3 minute YouTube video to be simple and gives a basic idea…

4+ (released) products I worked on at HP/DEC used burndown charts (again created by different tools and one project with Excel ! :) ).

As an engineer, I found it helpful to keep me focus on tasks I promised to get done on certain period of time. It also serves as a good warning on how much time I have left. Over time, it did help me be better at giving estimates for various tasks.

Scrum Burndown chart tools (Trello centric)

I also found couple scrum tools that specifically created for Trello ; burndownfortrello and

In order to get the burndown chart for our first sprint March 2-6, I did the following:

  1. download scrumfortrello plugin for my Firefox. Plugins for Chrome and Safari also available at the same URL.
  2. separated sprint 1 from sprint 2 into two separate boards.
  3. added “DONE” list on sprint 1 board. One will also be added once, a card is really done on sprint 2 :)
  4. added to each card in sprint 1, estimated done date and the actual done date.

How does burndownfortrello collect data ?

This Help page from burndownfortrello site explains the “tags” used in Trello cards that would activate features in the software. It boils down to this:

  • to estimate amount of time for each card, put a decimal number in “()” on the card title. General convention is at the beginning.
  • put the actual dates used to complete the card in “[]” on the card title. Again, general convention is at the end.
  • move all cards that are done to a list with a title that has the word “done” in it.

How the current MOC Trello cards are structured ?

At a minimum, there are two lists for each sprint; “theme” list and “Liftoff” list. The latter replaced “DONE” list that we used have. The main difference is that “Liftoff” implies no more known tasks need to be done on the card.

The terminology is to stress the importance of ensuring that the task is really done. Different people have different defintion of “DONE’. But a rocket cannot be lift off unless all known problems were resolved - otherwise human life could be at risk.

There could be multiple “them” lists for each sprint. This is the actual to-do list for the team. FOr example, “NU Kilo Deployment”, k2k etc. The special “MOC architechture/HaaS” list is a place holder for those tasks that do not fall into any “theme” lists but escential to the success of MOC.

We may also have “Wish list”, for those items that various team members would like to work on and do not neccessarily could be fitted into the current sprint. Each team member who put tasks on this list is responsible for tracking the tasks him/herself.