A new way to manage software projects
Burndown focuses exclusively on the big picture and helps answer these questions while wasting less time:
- When will this project be done?
- Will we be able to get all our projects done on time?
- If we add this new feature, what happens to our schedule?
How does it work?
You already have a place where you list your TODOs such as JIRA, GitHub, Basecamp, or Trello. Burndown integrates with those tools and combines all your tasks into a prioritized project schedule. Our goal is to show you the big picture while leaving day-to-day details to your existing tools.
Based on your team's daily capacity and completed work, Burndown gives each project an estimated completion date. If a project has a deadline, we'll show you if you have enough capacity to complete it in time. All of this updates in real time as you update your progress.
I don't believe you. How does Burndown answer accurately big picture questions without taking up a bunch of time?
In the real world, things change all the time and that makes it hard to keep an accurate schedule without doing a lot of work. Burndown makes it easy with a simple, three-step process that allows software to do almost all the heavy lifting for you:
Add your project to Burndown and estimate the high level goals as deliverables. Estimating the high level goals is great because it's fast, everyone (even the non-technical people) can understand them, and they don't change nearly as much as the implementation details. The estimates don't have to be perfect and it's okay if they change over time because Burndown helps you know when they should change. This means you always have an up-to-date picture of your project.
Track time against the big picture deliverables. As time is tracked against deliverables in Burndown, your entire project schedule is updated instantly. You'll always have the most up to date answers to the big picture question and it only takes a few minutes every day. For us, this process eliminates the need to have a daily standup.
3 Reconcile (coming soon!)
It's good to have all your TODOs written down so you don't forget any important-but-small tasks. The problem is that having lots and lots of TODOs can make it hard to see the forest for the trees. Burndown solves this by letting you drag and drop your TODOs (from Basecamp, etc) onto your high level deliverables. This has huge benefits.
If a TODO doesn't seem to match any of your deliverables, there's probably a problem with the project estimate. If a deliverable takes more time than estimated, you can look at all of the TODOs your team worked on to find the source of the problem and do better next time. By forcing you to immediately acknowledge when new tasks arise or TODOs take longer than expected, Burndown lets you instantly see the impact of these previously under-the-radar hiccups.
Those steps don't add work?
At Expected Behavior, it takes about 5 minutes per person per day. We've eliminated unnecessary processes like daily standups and managers constantly bugging developers to get the "real" status on a project.
And if I do those steps, what do I get?
You get two things that, when combined, make it very easy to answer your big picture questions:
The Burndown graph shows you the how much your team will need to work each day AND how much work time your team has available. If the amount of work that must happen exceeds the amount of work your team can do, the graph makes it obvious.
Because the graph updates in real time as project statuses and priorities change, you'll always find schedule problems early enough to fix them.
A prioritized list of your team's projects; keeping everyone on the same page. Each project shows when it will be delivered, who's working on it, and how the work is going relative to the estimate. You can drag and drop items on the list to reprioritize work. Every change, including reordering the work, instantly updates the entire project schedule.
With the graph and prioritized list, it's easy to iterate on your schedule and priorities to find the best path for your team.
How do I get started?
Burndown is currently in open beta. That means our pricing is heavily discounted, you'll keep that discounted price for as long as your account is active, and we'll make quick changes based on your feedback. We look forward to hearing from you!