Free app: Trello Burndown

BlueLine Games is a small team and we NEED to move fast (time is money!). Because of this we need awesome (and lightweight) project managment solutions.

Thanks to recommendations from Vicky Carlsson we found the tools Toggl and Trello. Toggl is a simple tool for time-tracking (might blog more about that later).

Trello is a lightweight project management tool for tracking tasks on cards (somewhat Kanban style if you want it to be). It’s relatively new, and one of the few drawbacks I found to it is that there isn’t a clear way to estimates tasks so it’s hard to figure out how long an entire project will take.

Since I couldn’t find a good solution, I built one: Trello Burndown. To use it, just connect with your Trello account (the API uses OAuth so we never see your password). There is a place next to each task for a time-estimate. Just fill that out (and update it if your estimate changes). Each day that you log in, the app will store the total of your estimates & chart your burndown. In addition, it will estimate your completion date. The more days you login, the more accurate the total will become.

We’ve recently switched to using Scrum-like sprints, and have found that the Burndown charts are working pretty well for that. This will also be driving us to have more scrum-like features for the app in the near-future (like setting a sprint-duration and comparing your burndown to expected velocity, etc.).

Let us know in the comments if you found it helpful or if you have any questions!

Trello Burndown Chart2012-05-23 Update: Tonight I’ve released an upgrade to switch from the old Google Image Charts API (which is deprecated now and will disappear in 11 months) to the new Google Charts API. In simple english: the charts now look better, they have mouse-over info on every point, and they have two lines (“Hours Elapsed” and “Hours Completed”).

23 Responses to Free app: Trello Burndown

  1. Great tool.
    One request, I typically don’t estimate tasks in hours, just counting the number of tasks is enough for me.
    You might give all tasks without estimates the estimate of 1, and your tool will work for me as well.

    • By the way, if you were asking for an automated way to do it, here’s a quick trick…

      Drag this code to your address bar or save it as a bookmarklet and it will set all of your unestimated tasks to “1”:

      javascript:(function(){$('input.noEstimate').val(1);})();

  2. If you estimate tasks in hours, you’re doing it wrong.

    At least, if your estimations do not hit the real times in a reliable way (and I would suspect, that they don’t).

    That said: if you are really good in estimating tasks in working hours, congratulations, stick with it!

    • 🙂 the terminology seems highly-controversial.

      It’s interesting, because the math is actually identical so it doesn’t matter what the units are. I guess if you see a chart repeatedly though, people just want it to match their internal terminology.

      Perhaps each user should have a text-box to let them type the name of the units on their page (hours, story-points, points, units, whatever they want). Does that sound like a good solution?

      • I like this tool: nice, simple…
        We are burning by story points. So I agree that we should have an option to select unit we are using.
        Also, for each card it would be usefull to see in which Trello “List” it belong. Example: we have a List named “Done, Accepted”. Would love to see this after the card title.

        • Hmm, I’m undecided about how to show the list names (if at all) without cluttering the UI, but will look into it.

          However, that does bring up a great point that the cards are kind of scattered at the moment. They should at least be sorted by list so that it’s easy to find specific cards when you have a lot of them.

          I’ve added a task to the Trello board for sorting the cards by List.

          Thanks for the suggestions! 🙂

  3. To use it, just connect with your Trello account (the API uses OAuth so we never see your password).

    Not exactly sure how to do this (“connect”). Do I need to write code on my end or is it in the trello GUI? When I follow the “TrelloBurndown” link and click it nothing happens.

    Thanks

    • Steve,
      There’s supposed to be a big link in the middle of the page (like in this screenshot: http://screencast.com/t/axuGgMVx ).

      Presumably that’s not there for you. Do you have Javascript disabled? Are you running an AdBlocker? What browser are you using?

      Sorry for the bug. Would love to get it ironed out for you asap.

      Thanks!
      – Sean

  4. Have same problem as above user…..When I follow the “TrelloBurndown” link and allow, it shows it’s acessing all boards, but nothing happens. I cannot see any checkbox in the trello card to populate

    I’m using chrome and javascript is enabled by default?

  5. I was wondering how you go about marking the tasks as done, or how you indicate the number of hours completed for each task?

    • Hi Clay,
      Moving a task to the “Done” list (which I think still gets created automatically in Trello Boards) will tell the Trello Burndown system that the task is done. Also, Trello has the notion of “closed” cards (which you do by choosing “Archive” from the back of the card) for some people who prefer that method. This will also tell Trello Burndown that the card is done.

      Currently, we don’t have a way to partially burn down a single task, but that may be coming in the future.

      • The ability to do a partial burndown, would be great! Currently I’m just updated the estimated times to get the chart to show somewhat of a burndown. It just doesn’t get to have any of the completion stats done. My team reports #of hours worked on each of the cards each day which I can use to make the burndown with.

        Thanks again.

  6. This tool is simply fabulous. I have an idea that I think would help significantly with reducing the number of times in a week that the burndown figures needs to be updated, while enhancing the overall usabilty and experience. The idea would be to integrate this with the *modified* version of the Trello Scrum extension that has been posted here: https://github.com/CedricGatay/TrelloScrum/downloads

    It’s exactly the Trello Scrum extension available in the Chrome store except that it allows you to add to the titles [actual] numbers as well as (estimate) numbers, and then renders them in an attractive display and provides sums (totals) on each list and on the board as a whole. It’s awesome.

    If the Burndown utility could capture and log the [actuals] as they change against the (estimates) as they inevitably change, too, then visiting the Burndown page could be a task for project managers to use only when they want to view the reports, and the reports will be accurate based on the real-time modifications made to the titles.

    This integration between Trello Scrum (modified version) and Burndown would be a killer app in my view!!

    • It’s awesome to come back & read this comment and see how far we’ve come!

      This was a great idea and we did end up not only integrating with Scrum for Trello, but since Scrum for Trello is Open Source, it eventually got all of the features of that modified version (don’t know if the author of that modified version donated them or what).

      We also have become maintainers of the Scrum for Trello extension and we ported it to Firefox and Safari!

      Check out the latest versions of the extension here:
      http://scrumfortrello.com

      Thanks for the great suggestions!

  7. Pingback: “Burndown for Trello” now has a Pro version | BlueLine Game Studios

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