The Big Burndown Theory!
"Seemed like a good idea in the early days of Scrum, but in practice has often been misused as a management report, inviting intervention. The ScrumMaster should discontinue use of this chart if it becomes an impediment to team self-organization"
Though many Agile leaders have cautioned the world against this double edged sword called Burndown, we see this as a common practice, especially in large organizations where management can't trust the teams.
Burn-down is great if it's used by the team to track their progress on a daily basis, to create a daily plan to get back on track (if they aren't already on track), OR let the product owner know early on what can't be achieved.
When burn-down is reviewed by the management to judge, assess & evaluate the teams, and intervene, it becomes an impediment to team's self-organization. As Jeff Sutherland said in one of his Google talks, a “Roomba” (iRobot vacuum cleaner) will never learn how to clean the room if someone keeps moving and directing it.
How was your experience using burndowns?