Burndown Before you Burn Out
by June 12, 2013

Filed under: Industry Insights

AppNeta no longer blogs on DevOps topics like this one.

Feel free to enjoy it, and check out what we can do for monitoring end user experience of the apps you use to drive your business at www.appneta.com.

At AppNeta we use an extremely lightweight method to develop software. While it doesn’t necessarily map exactly onto one of the many agile methodologies, our process is very much inspired by this video.

Although there are many unique characteristics for each software development methodology, one thing is consistent: the goal of progress. Everyone wants to know how a particular project or task is coming along and when it’s going to be complete. So even if you don’t believe in due dates and delivering to a schedule, it’s still useful to know and to be able to communicate your current progress to others .

To aid us on our never-ending quest to know just how awesome we really are, we’ve developed Burndown, an open source tool to assist in tracking progress of a Github milestone!

Github is great for source and issue management, but it’s a bit lacking for project management. One thing we found ourselves wanting was a burndown chart to help keep track of progress, and Burndown made it easy to make sure momentum didn’t die on our projects. Harnessing the power of the mighty Github API, Burndown provides a dead simple way to generate a burndown chart for any Github milestone. This is helpful for tracking both progress and performance, as well as identifying what work remains.

Burnout Chart

Example of a burndown chart for appneta/burndown. The chart displays created issues versus time, actual work complete (total_issues - closed_issues) versus time, as well as an ideal line to help keep pace.

Burnout Chart 2

We also display the open and closed issues associated with the milestone, along with the gravatars of the issue creator (left) and the issue assignee (right).

Burndown is built on top of rails-github-skeleton, which makes authenticating with the Github API easy as pie (thanks to Omniauth). Finally, the front-end is built with both Backbone and Rickshaw, because Javascript MVCs and d3 libraries are all the rage these days.

Burndown is open source, so feel free to use it anywhere you’d like or use our free hosted version over at burndown.io.