As you may be aware, the Ubuntu Platform teams have been tracking their development work with "work items" and "burdown charts", and have been keeping the status up to date hourly, and also public. For example, I have created a page for tracking Desktop related work.
This is really the last week to get our work done for Alpha 2. The burndown chart shows that we were on track for the first half of the milestone, but then when holidays came, work items stopped getting closed out. Finally today, I took some "drastic actions" and changed the scope of the work targeted for the milestone. We are now under the trend line for the milestone. This means, though, that work has been pushed to later milestones.
That big dip in total work items came this morning when I moved all of the Social From the Start work items to alpha 3 by reassigning the blueprint there. Basically saying that we are giving up on social from the start for this milestone. I think we will have to postpone a bunch of that planned work to after Lucid.
It's too bad when you don't meet your goals, but this is the purpose of burndown charts. To help you see the situation for what it is, and to take action to steer the project.
This also gives us a sense of how many work items we can accomplish in a milestone, which will help us plan and prioritize our commitments better for future milestones. Looks like about 60 is a good number to shoot for (depending on the work items of course).