An Overview of the Burndown Chart and its History

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As a fighter pilot flying over North Vietnam, Jeff Sutherland didn’t think that his missions would one day lead him to be a co-founder of Scrum.

And yet, that is exactly what he is today. Part of the inspiration for the Burndown Chart, a vital Scrum component, came from his days as an aviator. During a particular trip, Sutherland was ordered on a reconnaissance flight, where he was needed to gather information.

For the duration of the trip, he had to use evasive maneuvers to avoid incoming attacks from below. He realized that there was just a small window available to get the information he needed; a photo. Later, this directly translated to the Burndown Chart, where everything must be perfect for a moment in order to move the agile product development process along.

The Burndown Chart is intended to keep an eye on all of the simultaneous agile development methods going on within a Scrum team. Like a fighter plane landing, there is no room for error, and the chart is intended to monitor such issues. For more information on this topic, watch the video from OpenView Labs featuring Jeff Sutherland.