Dev Days – Joel Spolsky on Fog Bugz 7

Joel Spolsky – FogBugzz 7 (now with an extra z)

We help developers make great software. FogBugz is the platform.
Planning projects (wiki, feature lists, backlog), Managing projects (assigning and tracking, scheduling), tracking bugs (web reports, crash reports, screenshots), talking to customers (email, discussion groups). Launching a plugin called kiln which provides source control. Uses Mercurial for version control and also manages code reviews.

FogBugz manages different projects.

The idea is team members come in in the morning and see what they have to work on.

Create a new project.

Build a list of features you want to have.

You can assign an order (scrum concept of a backlog order – truth is you only need to order the next couple of weeks of work).

Can use the wiki to write a spec

FogBugz 7 has an “exhaustive” plug-in architecture. Shows Balsamic, which lets you mock up UI, so you can have conversations about UIs in the tool.

You set Milestone dates and assign them to people for implementation.

FogBugz has hierarchy for tasks, so you can include as much detail as you want. He tells his developers to break it down to 2 day tasks, otherwise estimates are useless.

THe tool can show you remaining tasks and hours, and probability of reaching a particular milestone on a date. You can see when each team member is going to be done and what the probability for each completing tasks at which dates. Data is coming from historical analysis of what each person has done in the past and what their estimates were. You tell FogBugz what task you’re working on as you work, and it tracks time. It runs a Monte Carlo simulation, giving a probability distribution. Article on Joel’s website about how that works.

Per user timelines – what will a team member be doing at any particular point in time by probability. Shows when a team member is likely to be blocked due to dependencies not met.

Version control is integrated so you can drill down into code checkins for a specific bug.

Kiln adds the code review feature on top of the version control. When you want to do a code review, it assigns it as a case in FogBugz. Then shows you code and you can comment on it.

Easy to add new bugs.

Plugin architecture allows custom fields and workflow customization.

Can manage mailboxes for a team – sucks it all down and then applies filters, using Bayesian filters that can be trained. Then you can have lots of individuals assigned to reading and responding to specific topics within a single email box. “Designed to be a heavy-duty email feature for customer service” so you can do things like define lots of keyboard shortcuts. Also can tag email.

Runs on .NET, 7.1 will run on Mono for Linux or Mac.

10 users $1899, Unlimited $9999, On demand, 25/user/month, $599 up to 150 users

Students and startups free.

Kiln – hosted Mercurial and code reviews, Now in beta. Requires FogBugz on Demand. Free during beta. $5/user launch price.