Goodbye Basecamp, hello Fogbugz

I have written before about my growing frustrations with Basecamp. We had been looking at alternatives and finally made a shift about 15 days ago. The reasons for moving off Basecamp are threefold:
1) Terrible search and findability. Its hard to find anything that goes into Basecamp. One of the purposes of collaboration is knowledge generation and recording and Basecamp does a terrible job of that. They did a search redesign recently and I was hopeful. But it did not improve core search.

2) Crappy integration with email. It is not possible to reply to reply to a Basecamp thread from email. You have to go to the website to reply. This really hinders collaboration.

3) Writeboards are no replacement for wikis. I seriously gave writeboards a chance. But once again, there are no ways to organize them. Information that goes into them feels like its lost forever.

What did we shift to: a mix of Fogbugz and SlideShare private groups.
We are using Fogbugz for bugs, features, all project related (structured) communication. The nice thing about Fogbugz is that you can make a case out of anything, a bug, a feature idea, a customer support request. Once its a case in Fogbugz, it can be assigned and tracked. When I spot a bug, I add it to Fogbugz. When I think of a change in the design, I create a new case in Fogbugz. Fogbugz is not perfect, but its much better than managing the project using Basecamp and Trac (our previous bug tracking system). And I especially like how easy Fogbugz makes it to filter and find information. The whole concept of shared filters is great.

For other informal communication, we have started using SlideShare private groups. We launched private groups just about a week ago and want to “eat our own dogfood”. Its working quite well for internal communication and sharing of documents. Its especially nice because we are uncovering lots of bugs and quickly make minor changes that we need. One of the first needs we have uncovered is search inside a group! Expect that soon.

One of the things I like about using a SlideShare group is that we designed it to support lightweight communication – it encourages short, almost twitter like posts. Also, it interweaves conversation with objects (or slideshows). Most of the time with mailing groups, there is a conversation thread and you can attach a file to that. But the file and conversation are not interwoven. SlideShare allows me to weave the object in with the conversation. Since we use PowerPoint for conceptual design at an early stage this works very well.

So here is a list of systems we are using internally and with customers
Customer Email: Fogbugz (earlier Gmail)
Bugs: Fogbugz (earlier Trac)
Wikis: Fogbuz (earlier Basecamp writeboards)
Features and designs: Fogbugz (earlier Basecamp)
General file sharing and project communication: SlideShare private group (earlier Basecamp)

21 thoughts on “Goodbye Basecamp, hello Fogbugz

  1. Hi Rashmi;

    Thanks for your posting. Your interest in FogBugz is noted, as I know of others who are pleased with this software.

    Our company currently uses Axosoft Ontime for defect tracking. In addition we own a new project collaboration solution called Joint Contact (www.jointcontact.com). Feel free to check us out sometime and let us know what you think.

  2. Is awesome but a litle bit pricy.

    I pay 24 dollar a month with Basecamp… but is 25 people using it.

    Can you imagin how much I would spend with Fogbuz whit 25 people?…

    Regards.

  3. A FREE, open source alternative to FogBugz is BugTracker.NET at http://ifdefined.com/bugtrackernet.html (I’m the author). FogBugz was its major inspiration. It has similar email integration, both sending and receiving. Similar way of displaying images inline, in the narrative. Even a similar dedicated screen capture utility.

    Not as rigid as FogBugz regarding customization, but not as polished either. FogBugz is very polished. BugTracker.NET does not have a Wiki. Needs a server running windows.

  4. @Thejesh

    What stops me is that I want the simplest solution that works. And I prefer spending development time on our own product than on customizing a hard to use open source solution. Don’t get me wrong. We use a lot of Open Source software – but I have found that for end user software, which really needs to be user-friendly, OSS does not work. Its just too hard to use.

    And by the way, Fogbugz does give you access to the source code and allow you to make modifications. We would prefer not to get involved in that, but the option is available.

  5. the best feature of trac, for me, is the source code and revision history browsing. what are you using to replace this in trac?

  6. Um, why were you using Basecamp’s whiteboards as a Wiki since Trac comes with a perfectly serviceable Wiki itself?

  7. My 2 cents:

    Premise: Our company does project based software development. We don’t have our own product line. We do off shore development quite bit although we have contingent of local devs and designers as well.

    We started with Axosoft OnTime and we were really excited about all the fatures. This was our first real project management software purchase. Our project maagement saw an immediate improvement but then we got the bad news… developers hate the ontime web interface. The interface was slow and clunky and wanted to re-produce the windows application experience on the web and failed miserably. For off-shore developers, the windows app wasn’t an option.

    We looked around to find a more user friendly project management app and we settled on FogBugz. FogBogz falls short in lots of areas of project management (in my opinion) but one thing it doesn’t compromise on is it’s user friendly interface. Our developers absolutely love using it.

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