Archive for the ‘Benefits’ Category

3 Steps to Clean Up Your Inbox with FogBugz

March 16th, 2015 by Derrick Miller

If you consider yourself a disciplined person, or want to be, that strives for inbox zero and Getting Things Done®, one of the first steps (paraphrased) is simplifying what you have to do. That’s where FogBugz comes in. FogBugz can help you simplify what you have to do when it comes to your inbox with Mailboxes, Notifications, and Filters.

Let’s start with a reasonable guess that you’re talking with your customers, or clients, over email. This happens all day, every day. The great thing about your email provider or email client is that it probably has super awesome search to help you find things when you need them. But your inbox is always full of emails, and things to do at different phases of your process(es), and you’re always losing track of that item you starred that you swore you were going to do a week ago. Have you considered what happens to your email workflow when your business grows and you hire 2 or 3 more colleagues? How do they see what’s going on and react independently? It would be great if everyone could see the same email threads without forwarding emails to each other or cc’ing everyone a million times over. And, you could start tying all these emails together with the bug reports you’re getting for your software, and your planned feature releases.

getting things done fogbugz


Here are a few steps to get your inbox cleared up, and your newly hired colleagues on the same page:

1. Let FogBugz Turn Incoming Emails into Cases


The first step is to get your group email account connected to FogBugz – we call that a Mailbox. Instead of using a distribution list like, make that an actual email account and enable IMAP/POP3 access.

create a mailbox in fogbugz

Since your customers or clients already have this email address, you don’t need to give them a new way of contacting you. Whenever you receive an email to, FogBugz turns that boring old email into a case!

You can even configure a custom automatic response for your mailbox. When anyone emails you (at, they know you’ve received their email, and that you’ll get back to them as soon as you can.

Instead of working primarily out of your inbox, you will start working primarily out of FogBugz. Your customer or client communication will be side-by-side with features and bug reports bringing everyone on your team together. Instead of your colleague yelling or putting in chat “Hey Bob, did you email Julie yet?!”, your colleague can do a quick search like below in FogBugz so that you’re not interrupted:

correspondent:"" edited:today

Note: Copy and paste the search into your FogBugz search box and hit enter. Ensure you change the email address to one relevant to you.

Running that search you then find the case yourself and you know that Julie’s bug report and feature request are being taken care of. And you haven’t interrupted Bob.

Long story short, you’re using FogBugz to email back and forth with the people you need to email with. By doing so, you automatically get full history, audit history even, and your colleagues are all on the same page.

Pro Tip: Configure you Mailbox to automatically set a due date so you don’t have to. For example, you can set it from 1 hour to several days.

2. Configure Your In-App Notifications


By default, FogBugz will send you an email to alert you about new Cases (created from emails) or updates to existing Cases. Receiving email notifications about emails isn’t, in itself, a solution that moves you toward a clear Inbox. Replace email notifications with FogBugz On Demand in-app Notifications to minimize your email clutter. This allows you to get all your notifications in the web application, and remove them from your inbox.


Quickly configure this in your FogBugz user options by choosing the “Never” option for email frequency – it’s ok, it’s not as scary as it sounds.

If you like the idea of never receiving email updates, but you want to try something in between – we have got just the thing for you! Set your email frequency to “Periodic” and you’ll get a digest of all of your notifications.

Now you’ve got a proper mailbox in FogBugz, and you’re using the in-app Notifications, what else can you do? In-app Notifications are great for interrupt-driven work, but what about when you’re trying to plan what to do next, or simply just do what’s next on the “list”?

3. Create and Share Custom Saved Searches


In short, the third step is to use Shared Filters in FogBugz. These will show you what you or someone else, is doing, and what you have to do next. Tidy up multiple Shared Filters with the new Grouped Filters feature.

First, start with everything that you might have missed yesterday – it’s ok, you don’t have to admit that you didn’t get to that one case yesterday (we won’t tell anyone, pinky swear). FogBugz can help you with that overlooked case today! Run a search for anything due up until today, like so:

due:"" orderby:due status:open assignedto:me

Note: status:open includes active and resolved cases, choose status:active if you don’t want resolved cases to show up. This may be more helpful if you’re using the postpone cases feature.

Save that filter. Then, do your colleagues a favor and share it with them so they have it too. It’ll save them precious minutes of their valuable time!

Again, those of you who are familiar with FogBugz may realize that the search above is essentially the default “My Cases” filter. Yes, in a way it is; the default “My Cases” filter will show you everything assigned to you, but it won’t order it by due date or specifically include only the cases due today – this one does.

This filter is a great start, but you should probably create another shared filter that shows all your specific Support (and/or Sales) cases due today:

due:"" orderby:due status:open assignedto:me project:inbox area:support

Pro Tip: Swap out ‘area:support’ with ‘(area:sales OR area:support)’ to get cases from both areas.

Maybe you’re managing the sales and support teams, or maybe you’re just curious if sales efforts have any yet-unmentioned positive or negative effects on the support team. Create a third filter for that and share it:

due:"" orderby:due status:open project:inbox area:support

I could go on and on about filters all day, but I’m going to stop here. The point is that you have these three filters which represent work you’re going to do, or are doing, and now you can organize them into a group, or groups, that makes sense to you. Create a “Watching” group for anything you’ll read to catch up on. Create a “Sales” group, for well, your sales cases and so on.

Screenshot of creating a new filter group and adding a filter to it

Adding your Mailbox to FogBugz, using in-app Notifications and using and sharing custom filters are three steps to get you well on your way to a cleaner inbox, and automatic collaboration with your newfound colleagues. It’s time to team up!

We offer a free 30-day trial of FogBugz – try it for free with a colleague at Each trial includes Kiln with Code Reviews, our source control product.

Maintaining Company Culture in a Distributed World – Part 2

February 10th, 2015 by Allison Schwartz

In last week’s installment of this series on maintaining company culture in a distributed world, I wrote about how Fog Creek began and how we’ve had to change now that we’ve built a remote team (which makes up half of our workforce). In particular it went into how we’re working to ensure Fog Creek remains a supportive, communal environment – two touchstones of our founding principles. In this week’s blog, I talk about the 3rd cornerstone of Fog Creek culture, something a bit more… FUN!!!

Going Remote Whilst Retaining the Fun

Have you seen Aardvark’d? It’s a documentary from 2005 about the year Fog Creek went from a team of 2 to 10, comprising 6 full-time employees and 4 interns. For us Creekers, it’s a hilarious, if somewhat cringeworthy, piece of nostalgia (which you can watch in full). But it is a glimpse into how Fog Creek’s day-to-day has always included a healthy dose of good times. For example, 19 minutes into the movie, a discussion about the possibility of jumping out the office window onto the roof of the building next door begins, and it doesn’t end until minute 24. You see the Fog Creek interns measure the distance, practice jumping, and take the “can we or can’t we” argument to the street. Literally.

It may seem unimportant (and slightly ridiculous) but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s a great example of how Fog Creek has always encouraged our employees to play and form relationships based on more than just work. It’s a part of our secret sauce for employee retention and happiness. To wit, 10 years later, 4 of those 6 full-time employees in the movie still work at Fog Creek (ok, 1 is at our sister company, Trello) and 2 of the 4 interns became full-time Fog Creek employees who were with us until 2013. The proof is in the pudding – fun matters!

When our entire team was located at our office at 55 Broadway fun was extremely easy to come by. You’d see it in casual situations, chatting over coffee around the Espresso machine and over long lunches. Or during afternoon snack breaks in the kitchen, lovingly referred to as “Cheese O’clock”. Conversations would range from astronomy to what happened on Lost (yes, we’ve been around that long). There were larger, organized events too. Such as our beer bashes on Friday afternoons, with themes ranging from The Olympics to British Pub. Or all-company parties at bars and restaurants to celebrate product launches and major milestones. Not forgetting the annual catered picnic each spring to mark the end of the brutal New York winter.

When we opened our doors to remote employees, we knew we’d have to figure out ways to bring both the casual and the planned fun to Creekers across the globe. But guess what – it’s not easy! Just how do you get people who are generally introverted and dispersed all over the world to get to know their co-workers, especially those they don’t work with directly?

For nearly 2 years, we’ve been tackling this question. We’ve tried a lot of things – some have worked, others haven’t. Below are 3 of our most successful strategies so far, and how we implemented them:


1. Make Communication Easy

First, we supply our team with super-convenient communication channels. Like many companies with remotes, we use Google Hangouts and a client strictly for chat, Slack. Within our Slack instance, we have an all-company channel, team channels, and many more niche channels where employees, remote or not, engage in conversations about non-work related topics. Similarly, but more unique to Fog Creek, is CoffeeTime. Written by one of our devs, CoffeeTime is a program that schedules a casual weekly meeting between 2 random employees. Check it out, and/or dig into the code to create your own!

2. Run Remote-friendly Events

Second, we plan activities which remote employees can easily participate in. In the past, we’ve had remote beer bashes, where remote employees meet up on a Google Hangout to have a beer while the employees in HQ do the same. We also translated two long-standing annual Fog Creek competitions to our remote workforce. The first is our mix-tape competition, which we hold every year during the summer. Employees who want to participate anonymously submit a digital mix-tape. We spend all summer listening to the tapes, discussing them in Slack, trying to figure out who created each one. We announce a winner at our end-of-summer party. Our annual Halloween costume contest is the second. In the years before remote employees, everyone participating showed up to work in costume. The only difference now is that our remote employees send us pictures and keep their costumes on all day during video chats.

Both are great opportunities to learn something new about our co-workers (Who’s creative? Who can create a costume? Who knows every song in Neil Young’s catalogue?). It also strengthens those bonds built by fun, the importance of which I highlighted above.

3. Don’t Forget Face-to-face Activities

Third, it’s great to get everyone together every now and then. To that end, our remote employees go on off-sites as teams, and, twice a year, the whole company comes together at HQ for Remote Week. We fly all our remote employees to New York, put them up for 6 nights at a hotel we’ve vetted, and then stock the week with social events like meals out, trivia and karaoke. There’s also all company and individual team meetings for long-term planning and discussing big-picture issues. We end with 1 of our 2 annual, extravagant all-company parties – Welcome to the Summer or the Holiday Party. Based on employee feedback, we’ve found that remote weeks are a great time for Creekers to refresh relationships, build new ones, and see their jobs and teams in the wider company context.

At the end of the day, having a company with a distributed team isn’t easy. It takes a lot of work. If you’re lucky enough to be a part of an organization who cares about it’s employees’ happiness and quality of life, then packing up your company’s culture and sending it across the world can be an opportunity to get even better at it. And that’s good for everyone, regardless of location.


11 Things You Didn’t Know About FogBugz and Kiln Integration

February 5th, 2015 by Derrick Miller

FogBugz is great at keeping a full audit history of changes in a case. It ensures the information you need doesn’t get lost. Kiln is great at keeping your source code centrally located. It’s also great at allowing you access to the full audit history of your code. These are two distinct audit histories. However, often a case is a bug or a feature request which means that code is written and pushed to Kiln to solve it. So our FogBugz and Kiln integration helps you to see both of these histories in one place: the FogBugz case.

Below, we’ll talk about the benefits of this integration, how you can quickly integrate the two products yourself, and a few tasty bonus tips to finish off.

What’s so great about FogBugz and Kiln integration?

It all starts with a case. A case has full audit history; any change, any comment, anything. Kiln has a full audit history as well; who committed, who pushed, who authored – and when. Since a case represents a feature, a bug, or any other category of work that affects code – why not merge these histories upon a FogBugz case to see how your code changes over time in relation to the case?

That’s what Kiln set out to do. It gives you a natural history of events on your FogBugz case of your changeset history in Kiln. Voilà – a full-circle single-view audit history.

While viewing a FogBugz case that has associated changesets in Kiln, you will see several important pieces of information:

1. The changeset between your case edits and/or emails
2. List of code reviews that include changesets associated to the case
3. Number of changesets associated to this case
4. Ability to create a code review
5. List of changesets associated to the case
6. The short changeset ID
7. The author of the changeset
8. The time the changeset was committed
9. The repository the changeset is in, and if the changeset shows up in any related repositories
10. List of tags on this changeset
11. The changeset’s commit message

case with changesets review numbered

Complete the Integration

All you need to complete the integration is a FogBugz case number. Include your case number in the changeset’s commit message and Kiln will automatically link the history with the case.

git commit -m "fixing bug 495 - making todo item show strikethrough formatting when checked off"

Or, associate a case to a changeset after you have pushed to Kiln.
kiln add a case

We took this a step further and added Kiln Code Reviews to the case as well. This way you can see not only the full case history and associated changeset commit history, but the associated Code Reviews to the changesets on the case. It’s all there, in one historical view.

A Few More Tricks

  • If a case has changesets associated with it, then you can create a code review on those changesets directly from the FogBugz Case. Click “Request Review”, then click the “Review” button on any of the changesets. One stop shopping.
    add code review from case
  • If you mention the review number in your case comments, then FogBugz will automatically link to your Code Review.
  • Similarly, if you put the short changeset ID in your case comment, then FogBugz will automatically link a Kiln search for that changeset ID.
    changeset and review linkage
  • In Kiln, while viewing a changeset, not only can you add a case to the changeset, but you can also see a list of the cases already associated to the changeset, or remove the association.
  • FogBugz, when displaying the changesets on the case, will respect your Kiln permissions. If someone can view a case, but doesn’t have access to the repository in Kiln, then they will not see the Kiln changeset and commit message.

When a changeset from Kiln is associated with a FogBugz case, you get the full circle history of your bugs or features. The easiest way to get started is to click “Add a case” on any changeset in Kiln today and input a case number!

Maintaining Company Culture in a Distributed World – Part 1

February 3rd, 2015 by Allison Schwartz

If you’re reading this blog, odds are that you’re familiar with Fog Creek Software and our founders, Michael Pryor & Joel Spolsky. They hypothesized that the world’s best developers, if given an exceptional working environment, would create the highest quality products. This idea – above all else – is the foundation upon which Fog Creek was built.

Hiring the Best Developers

Back in 2000, Fog Creek’s inaugural year, an exceptional working environment was pretty easy to define. It was, simply, what other companies were not:

  • 1. Communal – Fog Creek borrowed from the values of an Israeli kibbutz to foster a feeling of ownership and loyalty. We ate lunch together every day, and at the end of every year, the company’s profits were split and shared among the employees
  • 2. Supportive – we stressed an 8 hour workday to ensure our employee’s quality of life, did everything we could to make the office environment as comfortable as possible, and advocated open/transparent communication among co-workers
  • 3. FUN! – Fog Creek has always valued the social aspect of working life – we have beer bashes, game nights, major holiday parties, daycations to the beach, etc.

You can imagine that, as a company famous for these values (not to mention the opportunity to work with really smart co-workers and take part in our other awesome benefits), it was never hard to find talent. Every time we posted a listing, or Joel tweeted “We’re hiring!” we’d find ourselves with an absolute flood of resumes – we weren’t complaining!

Nearly fifteen years later, however, the landscape has changed. While we still meet more talented candidates than we can reasonably hire, we’re no longer the only player in the great-place-to-work game, and competition for hiring the smartest developers has become significantly more fierce across industries and locations. Massive changes in the landscape may create panic in some companies. At Fog Creek, however, we live to solve challenging problems. Besides, we’ve overcome way worse!

And so we’ve taken this opportunity to grow and adapt to our new, more competitive environment. Our first and biggest initiative: allowing remote employees to join our ranks.

Going Remote

In May of 2013, after 13 years of being totally New York-centric, Fog Creek opened its doors to remote employees. 20 months later, half our employees (totalling 23) work remotely. Of those 23, 7 are longtime Creekers – some of whom worked on version 1 of our very first product – who left the city for a variety of personal reasons. Allowing them to go remote meant we didn’t lose the giant wealth of knowledge they would’ve otherwise taken with them when they left. The remaining 16 were hired remotely and have never worked at HQ. To be clear – we didn’t hire these employees because they were remote. We hired them because they were smart, got things done, and were the best candidates for the job. We see these hires as evidence that there is a wealth of talent outside New York which we weren’t accessing when we only hired people in, or willing to relocate to, the city.

Maintaining Company Culture

So 20 months in, you might ask – What’s your process? How do we take a culture that’s always existed in a small, tight-knit office, and make it work in this larger, geographical expanse in which we now exist?

First and foremost, we work under the creed that all our employees – remote and onsite – are treated like first-class citizens. No Creeker left behind! This manifests in a few ways. Here are a few of the mains:

  • 1. We make sure our employees’ workspaces jive, in and out of HQ. Fog Creek has a long standing tradition of prioritizing dev happiness, regardless of cost. That means providing Creekers with things like comfortable workstations, great headsets, and private offices. These items have always been cornerstones of Fog Creek’s office set up, and we’ve carried that over to our remote team. Once hired, we send each of our remote employees a Steelcase standing desk, an Aeron chair, and headphones that are just like the ones we have in New York.
  • 2. We published a set of guidelines and requirements for remote employees to make clear workflow and productivity expectations – which includes things like having a working internet setup (obviously) and an office with a door where you can work without interruption.
  • 3. It’s widely known that Creekers aren’t huge fans of meetings. However, when half your company is remote, you have to engage in this longstanding ritual more often than maybe you’d like. When these come about, and remote employees are involved, each Creeker jumps into a Google Hangout so all participants are on equal footing.
  • cakedeliveryservice

  • 4. Birthday cake! Birthday cake? Yes, birthday cake! At HQ, each employee gets a cake of their choice on his/her birthday. These typically come from our caterer, though more recently we’ve even gone so far as to acquiesce to even more obscure choices (kitty litter cake, anyone?). For our remote employees, we find local bakeries and send birthday treats to their office, aka their home. It may seem small, but it’s been a huge part of making our remote employees feel loved and considered. Everyone likes cake!

Of the 3 aforementioned defining characteristics that make Fog Creek an exceptional place to work (communal, supportive & fun) the 4 steps above speak to the first 2. But what about the third? What about the Fun? Well… go read Part 2.

The Price of (Dev) Happiness: Part Three

October 11th, 2011 by Rich Armstrong

Buying lunch in lower Manhattan is not cheap. If you don’t brown-bag, you’re pretty much in for nine bucks, and more if you want to sit down. A meatball sub is $8.50. The Hanover Square Deli does a respectable dduk mandu guk for about $9.50. A meager-looking, but tasty, turkey and guacamole sandwich from British import Pret A Manger will set you back $6.75 (plus tax). Or, if you really want to eke out some savings, you can get a cup of soup and a hunk of bread for about $5.

Post-lunch, Pre-espresso machine

At Fog Creek, we have our lunch catered every day.  The cost of this to the company is $15.75 per person per day. Not counting drinks and snacks, this amounts to an extra $4,000 per year per employee. So why wouldn’t we just pay people $4,000 a year more? If they want to be frugal, they can buy that $5 soup and pocket the difference.

Well, first off, since lunch is a catered on-site meeting, the cost of that lunch is 100% deductible as a business expense. If you worked here, it’d cost the company $16 to give you $10 to go buy your own mediocre udon noodles.  (Don’t take any taxability or corporate expense stuff here too seriously; I’m not an accountant or lawyer.) Second, Fog Creek’s free lunch is much more because of how it fits with the rest of our workspace and culture.

Free lunch is nothing new. Google and other big tech companies have been giving their employees breakfast and lunch (and sometimes dinner). Free lunch has been around for more than a decade because it works for attracting and retaining top talent. (Or, rather, people think it works.)

Now, the food at Google, and the people who make it, are awesome. The food at Fog Creek is good, but nowhere approaching what Google does. We don’t have Sam, the sushi chef, doing hand-rolls to order. We don’t do miso black cod, lamb shanks, or osso buco. We don’t have a raw vegan station with selections so delicious they attract the most dedicated carnivores.

Here’s what we have at Fog Creek instead: no meetings.

For us, lunch is our only recurring meeting. The only standing interruption in the day/week of a developer here. Everything else is ad hoc or temporary. (One exception is our quarterly meeting to go over financials and to grill the founders with questions.) The default at Fog Creek is no recurring meetings. Once you’ve established that, recurring meetings become the exception, rather than the rule, and tend to wither naturally as their usefulness degrades over time. For example, the FogBugz team is currently doing a stand-up meeting for fifteen minutes every day right before lunch, but this won’t last. The Trello team was doing them before and shortly after launch, but they’ve subsided.

The Kiln team lead assures me that their weekly stand-up is a real recurring meeting, but at some point they’re going to lose interest and go back to coding. It’s what they do. Meetings have a network effect. They need other meetings to legitimize them. If you’re constantly scheduled with meetings, you don’t mind being interrupted one more time. Or, rather, you don’t have the energy to protest. When you proceed from the assumption of no meetings, you have to expend effort to keep a meeting going.

It’s not all a playground, of course. There are downsides. Things, sometimes important things, don’t get communicated to the right people at the right time. More often than not, the worst result is hurt feelings or slight confusion. Sometimes it’s more than that. But we wouldn’t give it up.

For someone who’s used to a standard work environment, it seems silly, cult-like, possibly even daunting, to be “forced” to break bread with your colleagues every day. It seemed odd to me before I came here, but by the end of the first week, nothing seemed more natural. When most of your “socialization” with your colleagues takes the form of mandatory, recurring meetings over a conference table, it’s natural to not want to see them again over the lunch table. People have been making decisions about your time all day; at lunch, you need some time to yourself.

But when most of your time is spent working in a private office, taking breaks according to your natural attention span, having short chats with one or two colleagues, it’s a pleasant prospect to surface for some pleasant conversation about StarCraft or football with nice, intelligent people. And maybe you’ll hash out that new feature, too.

One can make the argument for free lunch based strictly on developer productivity. A free lunch could give you a hundred hours per year from your best people, time saved in driving, waiting in line, etc. But, consider the depressing ease with which such a gain can be wiped out by a few recurring meetings.

So, for our final post in this series, we do have a number: $15.75 per day. $4,000 per employee per year. It’s a lot of money. But without the rest of the company culture, it would be sort of meaningless. A sense of entitlement grows rapidly around any perk you offer, and lunch is no different.

A lot of this series has been based on getting hard data out there so that developers, our main audience, have an easier time talking to management about some of the things that’ll make them more happy, healthy, and productive. For this post, it’s a bit more difficult. You might get your boss to spend $16 a day, but changing the culture of meetings in any workplace is nearly impossible. (During my tenure, Google tried no-meeting Thursdays and formal meeting-reduction task forces, reminiscent of Brazil’s Ministry of Debureaucratization, to no avail.) It would require rebuilding the company culture from bedrock.

Our bedrock is the idea that, once we’ve hired good people, it’s the effort we make to direct their intention, rather than their attention, that creates value. It’s not just our lunch benefit that springs from that, but nearly every other thing we do.

For Fog Creek, our founding principles, and the pains we take to stick by them, are the price of developer happiness, and that can’t be measured in dollars.


The Price of (Dev) Happiness: Part Two

September 1st, 2011 by Rich Armstrong

Last time, we took a look at the exact cost of the contents of our private dev offices. For this post, we promised to take a look at the price of the offices themselves.

Since the beginning, Fog Creek’s promise has always been that every developer gets a private office with a door that closes. Don’t want a private office? You get one anyway. If you want camaraderie, you can walk down the hall, put your witticisms on company chat, or store them all up and let fly at lunch.

In the previous post, the underlying message was, “Give your people the workstations they need to be comfortable and healthy.” The message in this post is not, “Give your people private offices.” We’re satisfied enough with the benefits that we’re going to continue it, but we’re not here to proselytize that policy.

The point this time is this: your office space and how you design it is an expression of your priorities as a company. It speaks to everyone who comes through the space, every day. Do not be shy about spending money on it.

Let’s get the number out of the way. We spend a bit over 6% of revenue on office space. Compared to other companies we’ve surveyed confidentially, that’s on the high side, but not by much. And we’re growing fast these days because of the stunning success of Kiln, so we won’t be above 6% for long. We’re based in Manhattan and, as you might imagine, office space is very expensive. But that’s what the company was founded on: a good job for awesome coders in New York City. Without making light of the achievements of our neighbors, we didn’t want to be the best place for devs to work in Hackensack. So it’s time to pony up.

Of course, a lot of companies who are competing for the same talent are actually venture-funded startups. They have different needs, revenue/reward models, and external expectations than we do. I’m going to go out on a limb and say Fred Wilson might take issue if you buy the $10,000 espresso machine before showing a profit. We’ve been profitable since inception and so can work a little differently.

Espresso machine


Also, the price tag on our office space is not only because we have private offices. We need a lunch room and kitchen to accommodate everyone having lunch at the same time, away from their desks. Our summer head count can grow by ten because of our summer internship program. Okay, so we don’t actually need the saltwater tropical fish tank or the marble shower or the library.  But we’re also expressing our company culture by how we structure our office, and if that can keep us happy and motivated, plus attract more smart people who share our values, that’s very much worth the extra money.

Here’s a few good snapshots of our office, if you want to see more.

Next, the cost of lunch, and its primary benefit: no standing meetings.


The Price of (Dev) Happiness: Part One

August 9th, 2011 by Rich Armstrong

Okay, let’s just assume that you’ve bought into the idea that a happy developer requires a clean, attractive, comfortable workplace that encourages healthy, sustainable productivity.

You don’t want to do this piecemeal. You asked for a big monitor and you got it. Now, you ask for a sit-stand desk, and you’re suddenly the guy who always needs another “toy.”

You just want to know what a top-notch work station costs so you can tell your boss.

We use these products every day and have for years, and we love them. (Disclosure: None of the following links are affiliate links. We get nothing from recommending these products.) Here’s what our offices contain:

  • Fully-loaded Aeron chair, fully assembled  – $988 from
  • AirTouch Adjustable sit/stand desk  and non-moving side desk –  $1738 from Steelcase – Excellent for pranks.
  • Optional anti-fatigue or bouncy Kybun mat for those folks who choose to stand all day – $68 from Amazon or $335 from Steelcase, respectively.
  • 30″ monitor for work and a side monitor for your bug tracker – $1520 from Dell
  • Beefy workstation so you can’t pull this move – also $1520 from Dell
  • Whatever keyboard you want (because we’re all snowflakes) – up to $270 for a Kinesis keyboard
  • Whatever mouse you want (beautiful, fragile snowflakes) -up to $70 for an Apple Magic TrackPad or a fancy trackball.

That’s a cool $6,174.00 maximum. (Yes, I know, we’re paying for a chair for people who stand all day, but we’re talking maximums here.)  All of these except maybe the computer have a depreciation schedule of  about five years. So that comes out to $102.90 a month. But, that’s not $102.90 per month extra; it’s the total cost of everything we use in our offices except the phones. (Which, for a dev, who cares as long as it never rings.)

We could do some research on and come up with some depressingly small number representing the minimum you could spend on a dev to get them nominally productive, but we really don’t want to go there.

Good luck!

Next: the real cost of private offices.

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