Painless Project Management with FogBugz book review

Author: Mike Gunderloy ISBN: 159059486X Publisher: Apress

Despite the name, FogBugz isn’t just used for tracking bugs. The product covers all the essentials such as streamlined bug submission (if it’s not easy people won’t do it), accepting and replying to email submissions and dividing your workload into different projects and releases (with the aid of a nifty autosorter). Over time FogBugz has grown to include discussion groups, tracking of tasks via RSS and email on the technical side, and due dates and escalation reports on the management front. This book provides a worthy introduction to all these.

This book is an almost perfect introduction and end user manual for FogBugz version 4. It covers all the main features in enough detail for the casual user to understand their purpose while keeping a brisk enough pace that people might actually read it. It starts off with an introduction to the basic principles of FogBugz and how to use it for simple tasks. These include adding cases, searching and creating custom filters to narrow down the selection and breaking your tasks up into projects and releases.

After covering basic use, the book briefly shifts focus to project and task management features. It shows how to set estimates, define due dates (based upon your actual defined working hours!) and launches into a seriously short digression on escalation reports.

The closing chapters show how FogBugz fits into the wider world with ‘power- user’ oriented features. Whether you want to create custom reports from the FogBugz database, automatically generating basic release notes from your bug and feature requests, creating discussion groups and linking them to cases right up to integrating FogBugz with your version control system, allowing you to tie cases (bugs) to code commits.

The book itself is easy to follow. It adequately covers all the features someone new to FogBugz should know about and explains all the topics in a clear, concise way–effectively using screen-grabs to help the reader follow along. As for the ideal target audience, I don’t seem to be it. This book is, in my opinion, focused on less technical end users. The people most likely to get the best return from this book are those looking for an end user manual to provide an overview of what FogBugz can do, while also delving a little deeper into basic usage.

This is a short review for a short book. If you are looking for an introduction to FogBugz and its main features, or an easy to follow end user guide you can hand out, then this book is worth 7/10. It’s concise, easy to follow, covers the important features and should be included with FogBugz.