Fog Creek

How Diamond Vogel Keep their Development Team on Track with FogBugz and Kiln

About Diamond Vogel

Diamond Vogel Paints is a manufacturer of paint coatings based in Orange City, IA. They operate 7 manufacturing facilities throughout the central United States and have been a Fog Creek customer for 8 years. We spoke to Brian Vander Plaats and Kit Roed, both developers at Diamond Vogel, about how they use FogBugz and Kiln together to keep their development work on track.


Using FogBugz and Kiln

Diamond Vogel use FogBugz and Kiln, but before that they weren’t using any tool in particular. “We just used our email inboxes, a personal to-do list, and maybe a spreadsheet”, says Brian. “So there were 5 developers and each did their own thing. But, it just wasn’t feasible to have all this information in someone’s inbox and so we wanted to find a tool that let us coordinate our work.” This is when they started using FogBugz. FogBugz is now used within the development team that’s part of the IT department, consisting of network administrators, helpdesk, and general application administrators.

The first impressions of using FogBugz was that “it was really easy to use… we were impressed with how you could do all the filtering with the columns and dynamically choose this and that,” explains Brian.

To Diamond Vogel, each application that they manage is a project within FogBugz. “So our manufacturing application, production tracking, that’s a project,” says Brian. Later they started using Kiln, “as we started using some contractors and just the amount of time we spent managing commits and tracking those meant we had all sorts of problems, with them pushing this stuff across the network”. And so they’ve enjoyed the close integration between Kiln and FogBugz. “We really wanted that integration with case management and source control. I think that was what lead us to start using On-Demand,” says Brian.

FogBugz and Kiln – Better Together

Brian explains just how they use FogBugz and Kiln together. “We actually track changes in cases and we make sure we put cases and case numbers and such on our commits. Just having the ability to track those changes at the base level to me is really handy… I can now click once from the commit and see what changed… it’s great having this all-in-one system.”

What this has meant for development at Diamond Vogel is that “we now have this understanding of where our resources are going,” says Brian. It has also given them an easy overview of all incoming feature requests and bugs, so “we can say ‘hey, I think it’s time now that we update this or patch that, because we’ve had 17 requests for it in the past month,” says Brian.

Still with Fog Creek after 8 years

For Kit, what’s most important is “institutional memory”. It means that regardless of the staff that they have available, “we have all the information we need, it’s like a history. I can go back to a developer who left in 2012 and see his script notes from 2011 that he put in the Wiki”. Brian adds that “this is really critical because I feel like if anyone is to leave here, we don’t just lose all their knowledge, a lot of it stays with us in the FogBugz comments, cases, wikis, and commits. I think that’s a huge value for the company.”

Kit also explains how FogBugz has developed with the company. “When we switched to Agile, we were able to do that within FogBugz. The Wiki also came along at the right time. You could say that these features drove us to use them or guided us because they’ve helped our methodology too.”

Ultimately though, for Brian “I just like what Fog Creek does and stands for… It speaks to the philosophy of the company that you want to take the time to find out about how we’re using it. The quality comes through in its usability… FogBugz just works, and you continually evolve the product to make it more useful for us.”