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Tracking metrics with FogBUGZ

Since FogBUGZ uses an SQL backend to keep its data, can't someone who wishes to track "bugs-by-programmer" simply connect to the DB and create his own report using any reporting tool?

Or is the DB obfuscated and encrypted to prevent exactly that?

Guy Gervais
Saturday, March 15, 2003

No, they can do that... it's pretty easy: off the shelf Microsoft Access, and we even have documentation explaining how to make your own reports.

They're just not built in, one-click, which discourages non technical managers from messing around with things they don't understand :)

Joel Spolsky
Saturday, March 15, 2003

I think this is a great piece of marketing from Joel!

He doesn't want to expend the cost and effort to allow customisation of FogBugz in terms of lifecycles, attributes, reports but he cleverly advertises this as an additional benefit!

However, I don't buy it. However well intentioned, telling people that they don't really want what they're asking for simply comes across as arrogance to a number of people. And we don't like arrogant suppliers, oh no!

Provide the tool, make it customisable, try to deter people from customising it by education and by providing a good process model set up in the tool in the first place (a lot of tool suppliers give you a flexible tool but don't give you a good initial setup - probably because they understand the tool but not the process it fits into)

Sunday, March 16, 2003

I don't think I've ever read anything written by Fog Creek indicating that they're not providing customization because of the cost and effort of implementing it.  Could you please point me to what Fog Creek has written that gives you that impression?

I disagree that Joel is telling people that they don't really want what they're asking for.  In the case of user-editable fields, for example, he's telling people (really, trying *not* to tell people) that what they're asking for will not help them.  That it could be dangerous to their development process.  This sort of process will drive people to quit.

If someone asks you for software that monitors peoples' keystrokes and automatically fires them if they're not typing at some minimum speed, would it be high-and-mighty for you to refuse them that?  I hope not.

Brent P. Newhall
Monday, March 17, 2003


if you accept that it is possible to have features on the customer wishlist that make the operation of the software self-destruct, you have to make a though choice in how to deal with this.
You can put in the feature, and go on  a scorched earth style of campaign. This might work for "novelty" toy products: by the time the kids realize it's not fun after the first day christmas is past and you are bathing in one-hit success dollars. It will not work for something that has to feed on its own success.
You can make it impossible, and lose the sales that absolutely want to go down that road.
You can also make it "somewhat" possible by hiding it under an "advanced" tab, burning every setup that has a "let's use this baby to the max" member. Or do what FCS does, not put it in the UI but there is a way of doing it if you want to take full reponsibility and "roll your own extention". This last way is pretty clever since not only does it significantly up the watershed by requiring more than "hunt and peck", the feature that will result in the eventual failure of the product is now not realy part of the product. "Everything went fine with FogBUGZ, it was just the hacking of the DB by company X that ruined it all".

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

As I see it Joel is not selling a bug tracking package, but a bug tracking methodology for which his product is uniquely tuned. Custom fields(sp?) are not part of Way Of Joel and so are not supported by the software.

The package will therfore live or die on the strengths of Joel's hypothesis about bug tracking software rather than challenging opponents on the basis of raw power.

Mr Jack
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Interesting point, Mr. Jack.  I like that, and I'm going to have to think about it.

I wonder if other pieces of software are produced more as methodologies than as simply tools.

Brent P. Newhall
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

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