Creating a detailed project outline is fast and simple in FogBugz. You can create a high-level case for each feature you're planning to implement, and then fill in the detailed work that needs to be done -- the functions you’re going to write, the code you’re going to refactor, the algorithms you'll need to implement, and so on.
FogBugz allows you to create subcases to represent lower-level tasks. In the case list, subcases appear under their parent cases in a hierarchical outline format. You can even modify the display of the outline by expanding and collapsing different subsections.
You can enter estimates right from the case list by simply clicking on the Estimate field of each case entry.
If your project outline is detailed enough, you shouldn't have any estimates exceeding two days. If your tasks are bigger, you probably haven't thought in detail about the exact tasks you’ll need to get done. And that means you’re probably forgetting some important detail, which will surprise you and make your software late.
Read our guide on estimating software tasks.
Set important dates on your project timeline by assigning cases to milestones. Depending on your team's working style, the milestone could represent a ship date that's four months away, or just the conclusion of a two-week development sprint.
Either way, you can assign cases to a new or existing milestone right from the case list. Once cases are estimated and assigned to a milestone, you'll be able to use our Evidence-Based Scheduling features to make sure you hit your dates.
FogBugz uses a sophisticated statistical algorithm called Evidence-Based Scheduling (EBS) to produce ship date probability distributions. Evidence-Based Scheduling was developed at Fog Creek Software, and is exclusive to FogBugz.
Evidence-Based Scheduling works by doing a Monte Carlo simulation, taking into account evidence such as:
You can adjust the input parameters and see how the schedule changes. Answer questions like, “What happens if we only do top priority tasks?” Or, “When will we hit milestone 1?”
The Per-User Timelines Chart provides a detailed picture of what each developer is likely to be working on at various points in the future, and how that can impact the overall project schedule.
The graph tells you which developers are on the critical path, and can help you manage project dependencies, rearrange tasks, and work to improve the quality of estimates from developers who contribute uncertainty to the schedule.
The Burn Down Chart displays the predicted hours remaining for a project milestone over time, providing a project manager with a good sense of overall progress. It's especially helpful when you need to assert an absolute completion date, or when work schedules get wild and unpredictable.
If you're on pace to "burn down" to zero hours by the time the official milestone date rolls around, you're on the right track.
When a task is completed, FogBugz records the estimated time and the actual time required to finish. When you divide estimated by actual, you get a number we call the velocity. If you estimate something will take 2 hours and it only takes 1 hour, your velocity on that feature was 2.0. FogBugz records the historical track record of velocities for each developer.
The Evidence-Based Scheduling algorithm assumes that developers will continue to have velocities in the future that look a lot like their velocities in the past. In each round of the Monte Carlo simulation, Evidence-Based Scheduling will divide each developer’s current estimate for each feature by a randomly selected velocity from that developer’s track record. Developers who deliver fairly consistent velocities (i.e.,they’ve been good at estimating) will produce a narrow range of possible ship dates because most of their randomly selected velocities will be similar.
To get good results from Evidence-Based Scheduling, always let FogBugz know what you’re working on, so it can fill out timesheets for you. All you have to do is click on the Working On menu when you move on to a new task, and FogBugz takes care of the rest.
Evidence-Based Scheduling doesn’t need to-the-minute precision to work. If you have two features that take about half a day each, just estimate them at 4 hours. Now, if you get them both done in one day, you can record them on your timesheet as 4 hours each—even if, technically, the first one took 3:21, the second one took 2:54 and the rest of your day was spent putting out a grease fire in the server closet. All that matters is that you thought you’d do them both in one day, and you did, so your estimate was perfect.
Reporting in FogBugz enables you to visualize the cases in any of your existing filters as graphical reports. Quickly get a handle on your data by switching between case lists, pie charts, bar charts and data tables. Or, use time based line graphs to understand how the distribution of your cases is trending over time.
Designed with flexibility in mind, you can breakdown your reports by the count of cases, estimated time, time remaining and other metrics. Through the use of plugins, reports can also be broken down by your own custom fields.
Look back in time and forecast the future with time based line graphs. FogBugz stores historical snapshots of each case including the status, project, who it was assigned to, and more. Graph this information and compare it to upcoming milestones to get a sense for how your projects have been running so far and whether or not they’re on track for the future.
Need to quickly determine how many cases you have open, see what projects they're a part of, and what priority they have? No need to start counting the rows in your case list. Create a stacked bar chart based on your My Cases filter and compare this information visually. Hover over each section of the chart to see exactly how many cases are included. Once you’re ready, switch back to case list view and get right to work!
Sometimes you just need the numbers. Use table based reports in FogBugz to view summary counts based on the sort order in the filters that you’ve already created or shared. Easily copy and paste these data tables into spreadsheets or other software and do with them what you will.
Use reports to dig deeper into your case list and create new filters on the fly. Hovering over a section of a report will reveal the report criteria for that section, as well as the number of cases included. Clicking on a section lets you to drill down and see the relevant cases. Quickly switch from report view back to case list view. Save the filter to get back to this list of cases again in the future.
The FogBugz Wiki allows you to keep all your project documentation in one place. It’s an easy-to-use team writing system you’ll use for functional and technical specifications, design documents, knowledge base articles, and even lunch menus—just about anything you write and share as a team. It lets the whole team edit documents right in the web browser, using a lightweight WYSIWYG word processor. Users can author documents together (even simultaneously), and FogBugz merges and tracks the changes.
Using the brand new FogBugz Wiki editor, you can create richly formatted documents containing links, images, attachments, tables, and more. Use the new wiki template or create custom style templates of your own. You don’t have to use special markup or codes, so anyone can edit articles.
Click the “history” link at the top of any document, and you’ll see a complete list of changes made over time, each including the author's description of her edits. A built-in graphical comparison shows you any two versions of an article side-by-side, and provides a precise, color-coded view of the differences.
Any number of users can edit an article simultaneously without clobbering one another's changes. FogBugz will detect if two edits conflict, and help the user who saves last resolve any overlapping changes.
Successful software projects start with planning: gathering ideas for features, documenting problems, discussing possible solutions, and describing how things are going to work in plain English, before you commit anything to code. The very act of writing a detailed functional specification helps you figure things out at a high level before any code is written, while it’s still easy to make changes.
If you're still using a heavyweight word processor to write specifications, and relying on email to keep everyone on the same page, it may be time for a change. Sure, you've got custom footers, meticulous page layouts and exotic fonts. But your review process probably involves an explosion of new file versions sent around your organization, each containing separate rewrites, corrections, and comments.
The FogBugz Wiki's rich text editor allows you to author a full-featured specification (including tables, mock-ups, and a linked table of contents) without any of the hassle. It's published to your FogBugz site, where the latest version can be reviewed and discussed by the whole team.
You can choose to make your wiki available to the world, so that users can access and contribute to a growing knowledge base that's all about your product.
One of the reasons wikis work so well is that it’s easier to improve a document than to mess it up. If an anonymous user in the South Sandwich Islands manages to mess up an article, you can just pull up an older version and save it, instantly undoing the mess. You can also let your users fix the mistakes they find and add their own improvements.
Users can subscribe to any article to receive email when it changes. This makes it impossible for troublemakers to deface pages without anyone noticing. They eventually realize that they’re not getting anywhere and move on to throwing stones at rabbits (sorry, rabbits).
Keep your documentation organized and up to date with wiki page collections and attributes.
Wiki page collections are groupings of wiki pages. FogBugz ships with a Title Index and Page Hierarchy for organization, as well as lists of Recently Changed pages and Incomplete pages so that you can see what people are working on, and what needs attention. The wiki also comes with the Tags attribute collection. See all of your tags along with the number of wiki pages for each tag.
Need other groupings too? No problem. With the FogBugz plugin architecture you can create just about any attribute or page collection you can think of.
Extend the functionality of the wiki with Wiki Blocks.
Wiki blocks are plugins for the FogBugz wiki that extend and enhance the out of the box functionality. The Comments, Table of Contents and Code Snippets wiki blocks ship with FogBugz. Additional wiki blocks are available in the plugin gallery, or develop your own by following along with the FogBugz developers documentation!