Scott Rosenberg writes about the new evidence-based scheduling feature in FogBugz 6.0. FogBugz has long supported enabling developers to enter estimates for how long it will take to resolve issues, and to enter the time spent resolving them as well. The problem was that once you did that, there were no really easy ways to mine that data and make inferences based on that information. The other problem is that it’s difficult to get developers to enter estimates for bugs and even more difficult to get them to enter the elapsed time. (Most developers I know don’t even keep track of their time on a per-issue basis.)
The only way to get developers to enter estimates is to demand that they do it. FogBugz 6.0 makes it a bit easier to keep track of elapsed time, though, by including a time tracking feature. We’re rolling out FogBugz 6.0 at work, and I’m finding that I actually like the time tracking. For one thing, it’s a tool for focus. When you kick off the timer on a task, you don’t want to jump around and multitask because it will just throw off the timer. The timer feature itself is pretty easy to use. We’ll see if I can stick with the habit of using it, but I am going to make a concerted effort toward doing so.
I’m finding more and more that accurate estimation is a key part of the job of software development, and it’s hard to get better if you don’t track your performance over time. Building things faster is obviously an important goal for any software developer, but being able to guess how long tasks will take before you start them is nearly as important.
I’ll report on how it goes with FogBugz 6.0 as I use it more.