Agile artefacts

For agile methodologies to succeed, there needs to be maximum transparency and planning. A number of agile artefacts have been developed to ensure that the team and the stakeholders have a clear understanding of what's happening.

Burndown chart

For each sprint, the development team commits to developing the features described in a number of user stories. Each story is assigned a number of points during the estimation meeting.

In order to ensure that all the promised features are developed during the sprint, the scrum master keeps a burndown chart to measure the team's velocity.

On day one, the total number of story points is marked on the top left of the chart. The next data point represents the remaining story points after the stories completed on day one have been subtracted.

The ideal trajectory is a straight line. If the team slows down (indicated by the "actual tasks remaining" line being above the "ideal tasks remaining" line) then they need to speed up a bit to compensate.
Burn-down chart, by I8abug - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Scrum board

The scrum board is a visual representation of the user stories which the team is developing in the sprint. Story cards move from one column to the next, depending on where they are in the process (to do, in progress, in review, done).
Scrum board, by Dr Ian Mitchell - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5.

Product backlog

The product backlog is a list of all the features and tasks (user stories) associated with the software being developed. The product owner is responsible for prioritising the stories in the product backlog; the team is responsible for pulling them into the sprint backlog. Stories should be discussed and refined at the Three Amigos meeting by a business analyst, a developer, and a QA tester.

The product backlog is typically managed in software such as JIRA or Trac. I would strongly recommend against managing your product backlog in spreadsheets or a ticketing system such as RT (which is not intended for that purpose).

Sprint backlog

The sprint backlog is the list of user stories that will be worked on in the current sprint. The development team agrees what will go into the sprint backlog at the sprint planning meeting.

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