How to Create a Burndown Chart in Google Sheets

How to Create a Burndown Chart in Google Sheets
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What is a Burndown Chart in Google Sheets?

A burndown chart is a graphical representation of the work and time remaining for the project’s completion. A burndown chart in Google Sheets is used as a project management tool to track what task has been completed, what remains to be completed, and how much time remains in the project.

Why use a Burndown Chart in Google Sheets?

A burndown chart in Google Sheets is handy for tracking the progress of a team’s work compared to what they originally estimated. It informs the team early on whether project work will be completed on time. 

Let’s say you have a set of 10 tasks planned for the week. You have set deadlines for completing every task. You want to track the actual completion date vs the scheduled completion date. You can visualise this using a Burndown Chart in Google Sheets. You can also see how much more effort you need to put in if you lag behind the due date.

How to create a Burndown Chart in Google Sheets?

Step 1: Create a Time Vs Planned Task

  • Open Google Sheets
  • Create a column of the date of completion
  • Create a column of how many projects(planned) are left against a particular date.
  • Create a column of how many projects(completed) are left against a specific date.
Figure 1: Dataset of interest
Figure 1: Dataset of interest
  • So here, you can see the first column is for the date. 
  • The second column is for how many tasks are left at a particular time. So, on the 26th of November, ten tasks are planned to be completed. Eight tasks are left on the 28th of November, i.e. two tasks are planned to be completed. Similarly, four tasks are left on the 3rd of December, i.e. six tasks are planned to be completed.
  • The third column is for how many tasks are left after completing some tasks. So, on the 27th of November, nine tasks were left to be completed, which means 1 task was finished. On the 29th of November, six tasks are left to be completed, i.e. four tasks have been actually completed. 

Step 2: Insert Chart

  • Select the entire dataset by Ctrl + A ( Windows ) or Cmd + A ( Mac ).
  • Go to Insert → Chart.
Figure 2: Insert Chart
Figure 2: Insert Chart

Step 3: Change Chart type to Line Graph

  • You will see that automatically, a combo chart will be created, which will look like this:
Figure 3: Auto-generated chart
Figure 3: Auto-generated chart
  • Go to Chart Type and select the drop-down menu.
  • Select the Line Graph with pointed vertices, as shown below:
Figure 4: Select Line Graph
Figure 4: Select Line Graph
  • Congratulations, you have successfully created a Burndown Graph in Google Sheets.
Figure 5: Example of Burndown Chart in Google Sheets
Figure 5: Example of Burndown Chart in Google Sheets

Make a Copy of the Spreadsheet

How to create a Dynamic Burndown Chart in Google Sheets?

  • Let’s say you want to create a dynamic burndown chart in Google Sheets, i.e. you want to update the Completed tasks column on a daily basis. This will help you keep track of your projects and help you finish them within the deadline.

Step 1: Create a Time Vs Planned Task

  • Open Google Sheets
  • Create a column of the date of completion
  • Create a column of how many tasks(planned) are left against a particular date.
  • Create a column of how many tasks(completed) are left against a particular date. However, keep this column as EMPTY, as you will dynamically enter values as and when you complete your project.
Figure 6: Dataset of interest
Figure 6: Dataset of interest
  • So here, you can see the first column is for the date. 
  • The second column is for how many tasks are left at a particular time. So, on the 26th of November, ten tasks are planned to be completed. Eight tasks are left on the 28th of November, i.e. two tasks are scheduled to be completed. Similarly, four tasks are left on the 3rd of December, i.e. six tasks are expected to be completed.
  • The third column should be left BLANK.

Step 2: Insert Chart

  • Select the three columns, 2 of which you have defined, and the third should be an empty column of Completed projects.
  • Go to Insert → Chart.
Figure 7: Insert Chart
Figure 7: Insert Chart

Step 3: Change Chart type to Line Graph

  • You will see that automatically, a column chart will be created, which will look like this:
Figure 8: Auto-generated Chart
Figure 8: Auto-generated Chart
  • Go to the Series tab and Remove the Date Column, as shown below.
Figure 9: Remove Date Column
Figure 9: Remove Date Column
  • Go to Chart Type and select the drop-down menu.
  • Select the Line Graph with pointed vertices, as shown below:
Figure 10: Insert Line Graph
Figure 10: Insert Line Graph
  • Now enter the values in the Completed column, and you will see a dynamic Burndown Chart in Google Sheets.
Figure 11: Example of Dynamic Burndown Graph in Google Sheets
Figure 11: Example of Dynamic Burndown Graph in Google Sheets

Conclusion

A burndown chart in Google Sheets is handy for tracking the progress of a team’s work compared to what they originally estimated. You can create dynamic burndown charts in Google Sheets to track the progress of completed projects daily.

See Also

Want to know more formulas and functions in Google Sheets? Look at our definitive guide on Google Sheets which covers hundreds of such topics here. Enjoy reading!

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