Back in April, after the 4.1.2 release we starting using the Jira tool to keep track of our netCDF development efforts. All the changes in the 4.1.3 release were entered into Jira, but I really started using Jira a lot more after the 4.1.3 release, and it has been an invaluable tool since then. I only wish I had started using it sooner!
For anyone interested in the development of the netCDF C library, the Jira site shows what is going on, and allows users to influence and contribute to our work. (See also the Fortran and C++ library sites.) Users can sign up with our Jira site, and interact by leaving comments or putting a "watch" on an issue. You can also follow our progress, and see if we are working on a bug or feature that you have a special interest in. When you comment on an issue, the comment will automatically be mailed to the programmer working on the issue, and will be recorded within Jira.
On the main page for the project, you will see a list of the next few versions to be released, an "Activity Stream" which shows the latest happenings, a chart showing the number of recently added and resolved issues, and a list of issues that have recently changed.
Clicking on the "Agile" entry on the menu to the left of the screen will get you a nice netCDF burndown chart of the next release. The burndown chart uses the "story point" estimations to show how much work remains on the release, and how fast we have been clearing issues. At the moment the burndown chart shows that we will probably not complete all features by Sep. 30, so the release will either be delayed, or some features/fixes will be moved to the next release.
By playing with the menus above the chart, it's possible to see a burndown chart for Russ, Dennis, or me. These show that Dennis has been doing only bugfixes, Russ is a little behind, and I am much further behind. (I'll soon be closing a big issue, and that will fix up my chart a bit.)
As we get more practiced at story point estimation, I expect that we have a much better idea of what will be in each release, and we will do a better job of picking high-value features. The end result will be more than just transparency of the development process, but also better use of resources within the netCDF project.