FogBugz – Bug Tracking Software
Found In: Tools
Project management software has been around for about thirty years now, and they are vall mostly the same structure data sets keep in tables overlaid with a pretty interface for entering the new data known about a project. The problem with these systems, be them online software as a service offerings, or the legacy desktop applications that can only be accessed by the users of that one computer; the simple fact remains that all project management systems are limited by the estimates of time and resources entered into them That is, the schedule is only as good as the guess work that was entered into it in the first instance; none of these systems make use of actual historical experience, and as we know, “those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it” again and again.
FogBugz has sought to take a different approach to the issue. Originally designed and built as a faults and issue tracking application, it defined all projects as a “huge bunch of problems that needed to be managed in an efficient way”. And as a highly efficient issue tracking system, it always has done a great job at following issues and problems through to final resolution. But as the application grew and evolved into a fully fledged project management system, scheduling became the imperative to get right in the system, and FogBugz quickly noted that scheduling was the Achilles heel of all other applications. That is, because all other applications called for estimates to be entered for each task assignment as to when the task or sub task would be completed, projects were consistently running over time and over budget despite even the most experienced estimators.
FogBugz is the Future of Project Management Software
FogBugz simply was not interested in the experienced guesses of users of the system. Where each task was assigned a time resource for completion, when multiplied across a large project team with a large number of tasks, FogBugz saw this as a recipe for disaster for past history to be repeated again and again with cost and deadlines being blow out of the water. And so FogBugz went another route, and it interrogated the past for the real experience and it relied on that experience for the scheduled time to be used. In this way, multi year projects were managed around real life experience, not the wishful thinking of project managers and their gut feelings.
And FogBugz labeled this concept “Evidence Based Scheduling” (EBS) because it uses your actual history in the real world to figure out how reliable you are with your estimates. Project management using task history takes the hidden risks out of the equation and deals with it in plain and clear ways for everyone to see.
While traditional methods used for estimation have been a promise to meet a specific delivery date, this is all an illusion. It’s not a tangible reality; it is a wish list with fingers crossed and a hope for the best. By dealing with real life past experience, and by knowing from actual evidence the exact state of affairs in the current moment, it is possible to draw logical conclusions about what is truly likely to occur. And it also enables managers to focus their time and energy on any remedial aspects that can iron out any perceived wrinkles along the way.
And so FogBugz does not work by adding best guesses together to project a completion date. Rather it undertakes behind the scenes thousands of simulations using real data of past experience to develop the most likely scenarios.
FogBugz is the Most Powerful with Issues Tracking and Experience Based Scheduling Systems
And so it has evolved no to where FogBugz is a fully integrated web based software as a service application designed specifically for project management. The system features at its heart the bugs and issue tracking components, a vigorous discussion forum for all staff to be kept informed, Wikipedia structured help information to guide projects, customer relationship management components, as well as the evidence based scheduling developed by Fog Creek Software.
The “feature tracker” built into the system allows users to manage and filter as well as sort and navigate from a tree structure of potential tasks. These tasks can contain information about previous experiences, tags to aid in searching for tasks based on relevance as well as have files attached related to a particular issue. The discussion forums are perfect for brain storming for potential improvements and resource savings and Wikipedia style information resource may be created on any topic and all the posts form an excellent training tool that is dynamic and constantly growing from new intelligence gathered moving forward. As does make sense, all users have their email accounts integrated into the system so as to stay on top of issues, as well as to create new issues to be tracked by the system.
By users manually inputting their estimated duration for each and every task, as well as stating the status of tasks they are currently working on, the system builds up a daily work log or timesheet to be reviewed later and which can be used for client billing purposes.
To say that the FogBugz system is comprehensive understates its capacity to a very large degree. Because the developers have found a succinct and accurate way to use the real experience of similar tasks done in the past for estimating future projects time and resources required is a major breakthrough for project management software. By being offered as a software as a service, users are able to access the system from any Internet enabled device, including their smart phones and iPhones and this is a vast improvement on working logs submitted in paper form for a dedicated person to enter into the system, often well after the current time. Desktop applications are a thing of the past, and should be a distant memory. FogBugz is the future of project management software.