Archive for the ‘FogBugz’ Category

4 Steps to Onboarding a New Support Team Hire

February 26th, 2015 by Derrick Miller

newSupportHire (1)
At Fog Creek, every now and then the Support team has the pleasure of onboarding a new member. We know what most of you are thinking “Wait! Did they just say ‘pleasure’?” Yes, yes we did. Team onboarding does not have to be an irksome obstacle in your day-to-day work – it’s a key milestone for your new hire’s long-term success and the process should be repeatable and reusable.

If you’ve ever been in support, you know there can be a lot of cached knowledge representing the status quo, and there is usually, and sometimes exclusively, a “show and tell” style of training. This is the fire drill of knowledge transfer, and it’s an arduous process for all concerned. Not only does it take longer for the new hire to get up to speed, but you also have at least one person no longer helping your customers. For anyone who has ever worked in a queue, we’re sure you can agree that when someone steps out, the team feels the impact immediately.

Our Support team mitigates this by using a well-documented onboarding process. And we do it without a giant paperweight… err training manual. Similar to how we onboard new hires to the company, we also leverage Trello to onboard our new Support team hires. The items on the board are organized and the new hire just works down the list.

The board separates out individual items and team-oriented items. This keeps the new person accountable for their tasks, and it keeps the team involved so that they don’t accidentally abandon them.

support team onboarding new hire trello board

1. Read Up on the Essentials

The first item on the board is titled “What to read on your first day”. This card links to a wiki page that talks about the things the new person needs to know before they can do any real work.

Next, is the “Support Glossary”. This is essential as they’re going to hear words, phrases, and acronyms galore. So scanning through this card helps them start to get a feel for the “lingo”.

With this done, it’s time to join the company chat and get a few nice “hellos” and introductions from other folks in the company. Primarily, this stage helps them to start assimilating the knowledge they’ll need to be successful in the role.

The assimilation process starts with briefly describing the Support team’s role and responsibilities within the organization. This covers our two main workflows: interrupts and queue-based. Then we move on to our guiding customer service principles.

After reading several more cards, which each link off to wiki pages, the new person moves them over to the ever-so-rewarding “Done” column. Starting to feel accomplished, they can start to get their hands dirty.

You may be wondering “couldn’t they just have one card and link to a wiki page with a list of articles?” Sure. But, that process tends to be more of a rabbit hole, and we want our Support team hires to have just the right amount of information in phases, and not dumped on them all at once.

2. Dogfood Until it Hurts

supportTeam2 (1)
After reading for what probably feels like weeks (not really, a day maybe), the new person starts using our products. Since we dogfood our own products, this is a great way to discover and learn about them. They can later use this experience to relate to, and help new customers. They create production accounts, staging accounts, and start a series of configurations. This helps them get into the Support workflow.

3. Go Under the Hood

Configuring web application sites isn’t all that hard, so we up the challenge. The new hire starts creating any necessary virtual machines (VM). Each one is identified on separate cards on the board, naturally. These VMs aid the new Support member in troubleshooting customer environments by replicating them as best as they can.

Since Kiln and FogBugz sit on top of databases, the new person also starts to configure those systems and get familiar with the database schemas. This helps build an understanding of our products’ foundations.

Once they have what we call the “basics”, they can start tricking out their dev machine. This card links to another board with all the juicy details maintained by all devs in the company.

4. Get Immersed in the Workflow

supportTeam (1)
There are a several more cards which discuss process and procedures. These include when to use external resources, where they are located, and how to use them.

A key part of Support is a robust workflow. The team helps the new person get immersed into the workflow by adding them to scripts, giving the repository permissions in Kiln, adding them to recurring team calendar events, and so on. Most importantly, they start to see how the Support team shares knowledge and work on some real customer cases where they will be helping our customers be amazingly happy!

We’ve found that using a lightweight, but clearly defined process, to onboard a new hire to our Support team is key to their efficiency and long-term success. It helps the new hire become self-sufficient, as well as know where they can go for help as they gain experience.

How Our Support Team Share Knowledge Using FogBugz

February 17th, 2015 by Derrick Miller

Support or Customer Service, at Fog Creek is different. The team is empowered to help our customers and do whatever it takes to solve a problem. We take great pride in the customer service we make available to our customers and often write about it – from seven steps to remarkable customer service, using it as a competitive advantage, dealing with angry people, to our 5-part series about how we do customer service, and how Trello (a product we created and spun off into its own company) use FogBugz to support 4 million members with just one person.

Something we haven’t written much about is how the support team share knowledge among its members. The nature of Support is fast-paced. There is always a constant flow of knowledge – from archival knowledge to the streaming updates of issues and features.

Staying abreast of this information is difficult, but our Support team stays on top of it all with FogBugz, and it’s search, wikis & cases, auto-subscriptions, shared filters, and subcases. We’ve broken down how we use each of these features to help share knowledge here at Fog Creek.

Write Down Your Internal Processes

The team uses Wikis for longer lived documentation. As a Support team member, you know to look in the “Customer Service” wiki before interrupting someone else. This wiki contains archival information for newer hires (FogBugz has nearly 14 years of history) and documentation of internal processes, among other gems. The great thing about the information in the wiki is that it is searchable. There’s also a clear outline and hierarchy to help organize the content and assist someone trying to find a piece of information. For example, if a new Support member was looking for general information to get started, they can see the table of contents and click the “General Customer Service” link.

wiki_main

If a few terms in the article are known, run a search. For example, here a Support member is looking for an article about To-Do items not completing:

wiki_search2

Document Your Thoughts

In addition to the Wiki, the Support team leaves artifacts for fellow team members in cases. They know that someone will leverage the power of search to help them with future cases. When working on a case from a customer, they write out their hypotheses or thoughts on how to approach the problem in the case comments. They make sure to include error messages too. If the case changes hands because a team member is out of the office, the information for troubleshooting it is already in the case, saving the new team member from starting over.

case_hypotheses

In the Support world, log messages are gold. We include them in case comments to improve searchability. Searching helps them develop additional hypotheses or determine ones to avoid. Perhaps another Support member looking at the case above would say “Why wouldn’t we check the Chrome console logs first for any errors?” and add that to their troubleshooting steps.

For the occasional “FYI” situation, the Support team uses the “Notify More Users” field on a case to explicitly let a team member know of new information. This organically grows knowledge throughout the team. Here we have Mary editing an inbox case and notifying Erin:

case_notify

Stay Updated Automatically with Auto-subscriptions

The auto-subscribe feature is used by the support team to keep up with key Project Areas in FogBugz as well as cases they create.

These key areas being “Known Issues” and “Fix It Twice”. The “Known Issues” area contains cases that quickly document a recently uncovered issue with our production (i.e. live) On Demand service and the communication needed both internally and externally. This could be an unfortunate service interruption, a regression bug or a new feature not working as expected. These issues can be reported either internally or externally. Here, we have an issue reported externally that Mary is creating a known issue case about (you can also do this for “Fix It Twice”) cases:

case_knownissue

Once the case above is created, Mary will be subscribed to the case so that she can see when Jamie adds the related subcases. Jamie has the same auto-subscription preferences, so he’ll be able to automatically see updates on the case that Mary makes. This is visible under the “Subscribed To This Case” field on the left-hand side of a case if you have this feature enabled.

list_subscribers

Essentially, any time a case is updated or created by someone, the rest of the Support team instantly knows about it. They can use this information to react to any cases they are currently handling.

Bonus tip: You can auto-subscribe to Wikis too!

Don’t Repeat Yourself with Shared Filters

To further take advantage of FogBugz’s search capability, the Support team uses three primary shared filters: one for customer cases due today, one for the “Known Issues” area, and one for the “Fix It Twice” area. This is in addition to their own personal filters for cases assigned to them.

sharedfilters

The filter “Support: Next Due”, is very important because of our promise to our customers: We answer all email within one business day. It shows all cases due today. Having these two filters available to every team member without any extra effort (read: creating their own identical filters), saves everyone time so they can focus on their work. New team members briefly look at the list of cases that are due today (and not assigned to them), and subscribe to anything that is new that they might learn something from. They don’t subscribe to everything because that is quite simply just too much information, but cherry-picking some cases to “eavesdrop” helps fill knowledge gaps quickly. The added bonus with eavesdropping on cases is that a new team member will see the culture and tone of the company and use that in his or her own cases.

Keep Things Organized with Subcases

“Who is currently affected by that new Known Issue?” is a question the Support team will ask for every new Known Issue that they get a notification on. The answer is in the subcases. When a case is added to the “Known Issues” area, this case becomes the parent case, and any and all customer cases become subcases. The Support team uses this hierarchical relationship to get a top-level view of who is affected and needs communication about the issue. See “Subcases” on the left-hand side of a case, or click “Case Outline” if there are several.

FogBugz’s search feature is tremendously powerful. The support team uses the available search axes to narrow down cases and/or wikis that contain relevant information. Has a similar issue happened before? How did someone else approach solving the problem? Didn’t someone already report this problem? Among the countless other questions. For example, a full-text search for “todo item not completing” can be run to see what wikis and cases show up:

todoitemnotcompleting

The key search axes for the Support team to sift through full-text results are:

  • orderby:lastedited
  • edited:”today”
  • edited:”-1w..now”
  • type:case
  • type:wiki

The key takeaway here is that the information exists in cases and wikis because someone took the time to write it down. Don’t worry, the first time you write something down, it doesn’t have to be perfect. You can always go back and edit what you wrote.

Creating an auto-subscription, a shared filter, and writing things down in wikis and cases will put you well on your way to getting the most out of sharing information with your team. The powerful search facility provides one way of accessing the increasingly valuable knowledge base growing inside of your FogBugz.

What’s the Best Workflow for Tackling your Customer Support Ticket Queue?

February 11th, 2015 by Jordan Sanders

51 (1) (1)
At Fog Creek, we strive to provide excellent customer service. Like many, we don’t just want to meet customer expectations, but go above and beyond them. This leads to a familiar, but nagging quandary – are you making the most of the support resources you have available or could you be more efficient? This applies to the workflows of individual support personnel too. I’ve worked in customer service for the last few years at a few different companies. During this time, I’ve experimented with a variety of workflow processes, aiming to maximize my own efficiency.

Here are the three primary ways I’ve tried to organize my case load and workflow, along with their pros and cons:

Organizing Your Case Load

Option 1: Work on “next due” request

Using the due date filter, you can handle cases based on soonest due, and work your way down from there.

Pros:

  • The filter does all the work for you. All you have to do is answer your cases from top to bottom.
  • This is especially practical for me because we have a policy here at a Fog Creek: all incoming emails must be answered within 1 business day. Answering cases by “next due” ensures I stay on top of things!

Cons:

  • There may be important requests – such as a large purchase order – that are in the bottom of the queue. Sometimes it’s best to answer a high profile customer first, versus someone using a free account, no matter what the due date says.

Option 2: Tackle tricky issues first

Alternatively, you can tackle the harder cases first. This might sound counterintuitive, but trust me – it works! When you deal with the most complicated issues right away, the rest of your day is a breeze.

Simply star or tag your tricky cases when first reviewing them. After delegating and purging, address these first before doing anything else.

Pros:

  • You’ll feel more productive earlier in the day, and you’ll have potentially more free time later.
  • You can reward yourself by coasting on auto-pilot afterwards. In other words, you’ll be able to easily handle simpler cases that don’t require much thought.

Cons:

  • It can be daunting to work out complicated issues when you’re just starting your day.
  • Your inbox will still appear full because minor cases will remain for the time being.

Option 3: Take it easy!

For those mornings when you’re feeling sluggish (out of coffee?!), you can always reply to the easy cases first. I wouldn’t recommend getting into the habit of doing this every day, but it’s a nice breather every now and then.

When you star or tag the tough cases during your first review at the beginning of the day, simply save them for last :).

Pros:

  • It’s a nice way to ease into your work day. Especially on Mondays :).

Cons:

  • It does nothing to hide the elephant in the room: your challenging, time-consuming requests. These will constantly lurk in the back of your mind. “You’ll have to deal with us later, there’s nowhere to hide,” they’ll say. Cue maniacal laughter.
  • Once you finally begin working on your complex cases, it might be too late in the day to finish them. They may turn out to take longer than expected.

77 (1) (1)

Deciding on the Best Workflow

I don’t think there’s a right or wrong option here, choose whichever works best for you. If you’re not sure, I recommend experimenting to see which method allows you to be the most efficient. They did this at Buffer for example, by prioritizing tickets which had been opened longest over newer submissions. They found that the volume of tickets handled didn’t change, but that response times overall were worse, so they reverted back.

If you’re thinking of experimenting, then consider the following factors and whether your workflow needs to take account of them:

  • Are all customers equal? Should the customer category the customer belongs to (e.g. VIP or free tier) alter the priority of their case?
  • How long has the customer been waiting for a response? You might have SLAs or internal policies about wait times that you need to hit. Also, consider whether a customer submitting a support request for the first time should be given the same priority as others? After all first impressions count.
  • What is the customer’s priority? If your customers have the option of indicating ticket priority, should this trump other considerations?
  • Should re-opened cases or those with a larger number of responses, indicating that the ticket has been bouncing back and forth (to the frustration of your customer), be handled first?

Often it’ll be a combination of factors between the state of your support inbox, as well as internal policies developed over time that will decide what’s best for you. What works for me is a combination of options 1 and 2 – finishing all of the cases due at the start of the day, before then tackling the most difficult issues that I had marked earlier. This way you can handle the most time-sensitive cases and still have time to get to the complex ones.

Join our Help Desk Webinar

If you’d like to learn more about using FogBugz for Customer Support and streamlining your email Help Desk, then sign up for our free Help Desk webinar. It takes place on Feb. 12th from 6-6:30 PM CET.

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!

An Account Manager’s Guide to Customer Support Success in FogBugz

February 4th, 2015 by Jordan Sanders

I’m Jordan, a new Account Coordinator here at Fog Creek. Over the last few months, I’ve been getting stuck into a plethora of job responsibilities. From answering 50-100 sales and customer service emails each day and helping customers on the phone to conducting various marketing initiatives. It’s a lot to pack in, so I need to be as efficient as possible. I’ve distilled my madness down into these 4 steps so that you too can be successful with customer support in FogBugz:

1. Be Efficient with Custom Filters

I’ve customized my case filters to view and answer support cases as quickly and efficiently as possible. You can add whichever filters are most relevant to your work, but here’s what I’ve found works best for me:

  • A. In FogBugz, in the upper left-hand corner, I chose to view only the cases assigned to me rather than viewing the entire Inbox. To do this, click “Refine Further” > “Assigned To User” > “Me”
    inbox case filter
  • B. Due to the range of activities my team works on, we organize all internal and external cases by project. Although the majority of my cases are in the incoming “Inbox” project, I still have a few cases that are in other projects. So to make sure I can view all the projects, I click on “Area” (the default) > Project.
    pic2
  • C. Lastly, I sort all cases by due date. This is important to ensure that all cases get completed on time. On the rare occasion where a case becomes overdue, it shows up on top with the due date in red. This grabs my attention so I know to resolve it right away.

The above setup lets me focus on just my own work, prioritize the important tickets and make sure nothing slips through the net. By creating custom filters, you can always view the exact filter combination you want when starting your work.

2. Create a Time Map to Plan Your Time (and stick to it!)

To keep myself on track throughout the day, I create a Time Map. Think of it as a flexible roadmap for your day. Each item is a signpost to guide my day’s activity, but nothing is set in stone because as you know in Support work, you’re going to have frequent interruptions. For instance, I don’t know when calls will come in, so my plan allows me to be flexible.

I can’t work any other way. Working without a Time Map for me, is like trying to cook without a recipe. Sure, you’d know what dish to make, but you’d be at a loss when it comes to the ingredients, measurements, how long to leave it in the oven, etc. But with one, I always have a general idea of what I want to accomplish. It doesn’t matter if a simple task becomes difficult to break away from, the time map guides me through my day. It ensures I allocate sufficient time to critical tasks and minimize time spent on more menial duties.

Here’s a final tip: In Tim Ferriss’ bestseller, the 4 Hour Work Week, he suggests giving yourself no more than two “main tasks” for the day. So for instance, I’ll give myself one major task (writing a blog post), and one minor task (researching a problem). Any more than that and my efforts become too diffused. The fewer tasks you attempt, the more thorough you can be.

Here’s my Time Map for today as an example. I created it with Trello (of course), but you can just jot it down on paper.

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 17.50.23

3. Purge, Delegate and Highlight

Now that you’ve created a Time Map, it’s time to get started. I like to begin each day with a clean slate. In other words, removing any spam and assigning relevant cases to other team members. This way I can focus, and there isn’t anything getting in the way of what I really need to get done.

Some cases I don’t need to handle until later so I tag them. I also star cases to indicate that they’re a complex issue and I know that I need to allocate more time to take a proper look at them.

4. A Clear Workflow to Keep Organized

I’ve worked in customer service for the last few years at a few different companies. During this time, I’ve experimented with a variety of workflow processes. What works for me is finishing all of the cases due at the start of the day, before then tackling the most difficult issues that I had marked earlier. This way you can handle the most time-sensitive cases and still have time to get to the complex ones. It’s a one-two, knockout punch!

Join our Help Desk Webinar

I love using FogBugz because it’s a tool that grows with me. I’ve been able to be productive right away because it’s straightforward to use – especially for Customer Service and email-based cases. As I’ve gradually learned more of its ins and outs I’ve been able to use its more advanced features, ultimately completing my work faster. If you’d like to learn more about FogBugz for Customer Support and streamline your email Help Desk, then sign up for our free Help Desk webinar. It takes place on Feb. 12th from 6-6:30 PM CET.

Improved Cases Menu – Whipping the Filters Menu into Shape

January 28th, 2015 by Dane Bertram

FogBugz, she is a changin’. In the last couple of months alone we’ve updated the case page, added postponed cases as well as in-app notifications, personal activity feeds and periodic email notifications. Well now we’ve given the Cases menu (née Filters menu) a functionality face-lift too.

Cases Menu – What Has Changed?

FogBugz has always been hungry for your data. And to help manage that glorious, gluttonous, gob of cases, FogBugz provides a Swiss Army knife for slicing and dicing your cases known colloquially as “the list page.”

Whenever you click on the “Cases” button in the header (or select a saved filter from its associated menu) you’re taken to a list of cases. You can filter cases (e.g., “status:active”), perform full text searches (e.g., “Frog Reef”), and even combine both filters and searches (e.g., “status:active Frog Reef”). Once you’ve crafted the perfect partition of cases, ordered them just so, and selected the columns showing just what you’re most interested in, you can save the whole concoction as a Saved Filter.

Saved filters on the cases menu are sorted alphabetically, so some FogBugz users have resorted to using fun names like “__Stuff” and “__Important Casez!” to group related filters together. Blech. To help remedy this misfortune, we’ve added filter groups to the cases menu (more details below) to let you group your personal filters whichever way you see fit.

Sharing is caring…except when people overshare

Now you might be thinking, “Awesome! But how can I brag about share the usefulness of my carefully crafted filters?” Good question, hypothetical you! That’s where “Shared Filters” come in. Anyone can share their personal saved filters, and when they do, everyone else that uses FogBugz will also see that filter in their cases menu. Handy? You bet. Can it get out of control? Certainly. Especially as your company grows and more folks on different teams start sharing their filters all over the place. What’s a FogBugz user to do? Well, up until now, not a whole lot other than watch the “Shared Filters” section of your cases menu grow like a well-intentioned weed:

Screenshot of FogBugz cases menu with many saved and shared filters
“What’s wrong with that?” an inquisitive hypothetical you asks. Everything! You shouldn’t be subjected to an ever-growing list of shared filters that you mostly don’t give a hoot about. Just like you shouldn’t need to wander off to a completely separate page within FogBugz just to share your genius grouping of FogBugz goodies.

“So, uh…how are you gonna fix it then?” I’m glad you asked!

The Improved Cases Menu

We’ve recently updated the cases menu with a metric filter-ton of improvements. From the newly-added filter groups, to better shared filter management. We’ve tried to give you the organizational tools you need to get your filters menu whipped into shape, so that you can get back to actually working on the cases in those filters instead.

Filter groups

No more need for weird prefixes to help keep your personal saved filters organized! You can now create as many personal filter groups as you like and freely drag your filters between them:

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

Drag-and-drop re-ordering

You can also drag-and-drop the groups themselves to determine the order in which they’re displayed, while the filters within each group are automatically sorted alphabetically.

Screenshot of clicking and dragging a filter group

Collapsible menus

Still have too many saved filters to look at all at once? Well, filter groups (including the built-in “My Filters” and “Shared Filters” groups) are now collapsible and will remember their collapsed-ness no matter what browser or computer you might be using. Collapsed filter groups tell you the number of filters they contain (even whilst they’re being dragged!):

Screenshot of collapsing a few filter groups

Delete saved filters from the Cases menu

You can now delete your own saved filters (including those you’ve shared) without ever leaving the cases menu by hovering over them and clicking the new delete icon:

Screenshot of hovering over a saved filter's delete icon in the cases menu

Easier shared filter management

Got too many shared filters in your cases menu that you’re not actually interested in? Now you can hide other people’s shared filters from your cases menu by hovering over them and clicking the new hide icon:

Screenshot of hovering over a shared filter's hide icon in the cases menu
Don’t worry though, you can still get them back (in case you change your mind) via the “Manage filters…” page.

Better sharing of saved filters

Sharing your own saved filters has also gotten easier. Now it is as easy as clicking and dragging your soon-to-be-shared filter into the “Shared Filters” section of the cases menu:

Screenshot of clicking and dragging a filter into the Shared Filters group
Un-sharing (or making your own personal copy of someone else’s shared filter) is just as easy by dragging a filter out of the “Shared Filters” group.

Is there anything the new cases menu can’t do? Sadly, I’m afraid there is. It can’t help you with last minute gift shopping…or with that income tax mishap from 2014. But it can help keep the cases and filters you hold most dear within easy reach. We hope it improves your ability to get the most out of all of those juicy cases FogBugz has been keeping an eye on for you. Go forth and filter!

Case Page Updates – Show Subscribers and Working On

December 15th, 2014 by Tim Kington

Your old friend the FogBugz case page just got some updates. This view has always shown you whom the case is assigned to and who has interacted with the case in the past (the edit history). Now it also shows you who is currently involved with the case.

Working On This Case

You’re a developer and it’s the end of the year. Half of your team is out on vacation for some reason, so your team takes a break from big project work to knock out some long-neglected UI bugs. Whenever a developer finishes a case, she grabs another from the ones which are assigned to your “Up For Grabs” virtual user. The trouble is that sometimes someone is working on a case but forgot to assign it to themselves, or a user has more than one case assigned and you can’t tell which one is in progress. Well, now, just in time for The Holidays™, there is a new Working On This Case list showing who is working on it. If someone is listed, move on to another case, otherwise assign it to yourself and start working.

hodor hodor hodor hodor

Work In Progress

Change hats. Now you’re the team lead. If you want to know what everyone is working on, use the Work In Progress report provided by FogBugz News Network. Enable it under Gear menu → Extra Features. If you’ve been using FogBugz for a long time and just switched to the Performance Upgrade, you will recognize that this was previously the FNN plugin.

Subscribed To This Case

When collaborating on a case, the Notify More Users feature makes it easy. Simply put users’ names in the Notify More Users field to trigger a notification. Long-running conversations could be a pain though, because you have to enter all of the names on every edit. Not anymore! Give those fingers a rest because the Subscribed To This Case list is our Winter Solstice present to them. Instead of blindly typing out all the names of people to notify, now you can enter only the users not already listed as subscribed.

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Information about your subscriptions wasn’t previously shared with anyone else, so we didn’t want to expose it without your say-so. For existing accounts, you will need to opt-in to this site-wide feature on the Advanced Settings tab of Gear menu → Site Configuration page. If you previously used the Add Subscribers plugin in an older version of FogBugz, this feature should be turned on by default. Since we think it’s useful to see, it is on by default for new accounts too, but can be turned off for those wishing to keep subscriptions private.

Learn More

The documentation on our customer service portal has more details on the subscribers and working-on lists. These features are ready for you to use in the latest version of FogBugz On Demand. Don’t have an account? Try Fogbugz free for 30 days. Questions? Drop us a line.

Juggle Your Caseload With ‘Postponed Cases’ in FogBugz

November 24th, 2014 by Tim Kington

Have you ever had a case that you couldn’t work on right away?  Maybe it was a support case and you needed to check in with the customer in a few weeks, or maybe it was a bug that you couldn’t work on until something else was fixed.  In the past, you would leave the case open and get used to ignoring it.  After a few days of that, the case becomes invisible to you, and you forget to follow up when you should.  With the new Postponed Cases feature in FogBugz, your cases reactivate themselves when it’s most useful to you.

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Reactivate Cases By Time or Case

Postponed Cases adds two options to the case page when you resolve a case as “Postponed” (or “Waiting for info” for Inquiry cases): Reactivate Time and Reactivate On Cases. When should you use them? Consider the following:

  • Need to check in with a customer in a few days? Resolve the case as Postponed and set the Reactivate Time. The case will be reactivated (and you will be notified) at that time.
  • Waiting on a developer to fix something before you can work on your case? Resolve as Postponed and enter the other case in Reactivate On Cases.  When the other case is resolved, your case will be reactivated.
  • Worried that the developer might let the issue slide?  Set your case to reactivate when theirs is resolved, but set a Reactivate Time too.  The case will be reactivated when the other case is resolved or the Reactivate Time arrives, whichever comes first.

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Available Now

Gone are the days of dropping things on the floor because you’ve gotten used to ignoring them in the list page.  Use the Postponed Cases feature, and your customers and coworkers will be amazed at your case-juggling skills. It’s available now, so try it out in FogBugz straight away. Documentation is on our help site.

Project Jackalope – Notifications, Personal Activity Feeds, and Periodic Email Notifications

November 13th, 2014 by Brett Huff

Image credit: http://hangitontheline.blogspot.ca/2012/04/history-of-lepus-cornutus.html

Project Jackalope

Fog Creek has had a strong tradition of holding a spectacular internship program.  Each year our summer interns work on real code that drives significant features of existing products, or sometimes whole new products.  This year we had 5 interns at Fog Creek (plus 3 at Trello), and 3 of them worked on FogBugz. Continuing our tradition of using animal names to refer to our intern class projects, they worked on Project Jackalope.

Beyond “My Cases”

In a highly interactive environment, FogBugz was showing weakness.  You would only know that someone had assigned you a new case by checking your “My Cases” filter, or by checking your email.  If a case is important you would have to leave that case open on a tab, or watch your email for updates.  Neither of these options is ideal for a dynamic work environment.  So we decided that FogBugz is sufficiently mature that we can now re-invent email.

Notifications and Activity Feeds

Notifications, Personal Activity Feeds, and Periodic Emails are designed to stop the email madness.  You now get notifications in FogBugz when people comment on or change cases you’re interested in.  You can see all of your activity across cases, instead of in just one case.  And when your emails are less time critical (because you see them change within FogBugz), you can now slow those emails down to one every 3 hours, or turn them off entirely.  So without further ado, I’ll let the interns each present their features:

Personal Activity Feeds: or the “What did I get done yesterday again?” page

November 13th, 2014 by Matthew Hayes

It seems like pretty much every web-app these days has added a page to show you what you’ve been doing lately. These types of pages are useful for a number of reasons. You can review what you’ve done and what others have been doing that involves you in a nice, compact story. Since the most-recent events are at the top of the feed, you can quickly find the relevant information you’re looking for, even if you don’t quite know how to search for it. You can also skim through other users’ feeds to get a quick impression of what they’ve been up to and how you might coordinate with them.

As a project management and issue tracking tool, FogBugz is quite different from “social network” type apps, but these activity feeds have become so prevalent that we want and expect a similarly useful page whenever we see a clickable username on the web.  In the past, whenever you clicked on your co-worker’s name within FogBugz you got a page that showed you their email address, current working schedule, and the projects they spend their time on. While certainly useful to know, this information is generally pretty static, and not all that useful day-to-day after the first time you’ve seen it.

Introducing: FogBugz Personal Activity Feeds


Welcome to the FogBugz personal activity feed.  You now have that place you can point your boss to and say “Of course you should give me a raise… just look at all the stuff I’ve been doing!”  Or when you come back from that long vacation, instead of trying to come up with a complex axis query/search/incantation to figure out what everyone has been up to (or worse, asking them to take time out of their day to catch you up in-person), you can just click on their name in that case they sent you and see how they’re way too busy to get to it themselves.

My Activity

When you’re trying to reflect or summarize all the cases you’ve opened, resolved, or at all been involved with this week, there’s now a shiny new page that organizes all that information for you. To view your own activity feed, just click the new “My Activity” link in the drop down menu under your account avatar:
Activity Menu

When you do, you’ll notice two tabs on the left to switch between your personal activity feed and your (also shiny and new) notifications page.

Activity Feed and Working Schedule

The new activity feed page still has the user’s email address for easy access, as well as convenient links to all the cases currently assigned to that user, and even a link to the old user info page (now more accurately labeled as their ‘Working Schedule’) in case you need any of that information. The activity itself is grouped by day, so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for.  Fear clicking names no more!


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