FogBugz compared to OnTime,
Has anyone used both FogBugz and Axosoft’s OnTime and care to offer an opinion? AxoSoft has a big but I’m also interested in more subjective thoughts on things like ease of use and stability.
I’ve used both from a project lead perspective and a team member, to manage parallel projects and teams.
OnTime has a big feature matrix, but that doesn’t translate into more value in an organization. For ease of use, OnTime fails. OnTime does NOT have a well designed interface, so for me, it does not stand out in the crowd. FogBugz, on the other hand, is pleasant to use, and I found myself “happier” to login every morning.
For me, the most important “feature” is: How well the tool presents and tracks issues and simplifies participation by team members. If it does this poorly, most of the other features fade. If it does this well, then some missing features can be forgiven.
On this one point, I find OnTime particularly inadequate and FogBugz particularly superior.
OnTime is loaded with different tabs in which information becomes lost or difficult to track. Teams and individuals often use different tabs for different purposes. I have to click around or I might miss something.
FogBugz tracks the issue with minimal clutter, like a discussion thread. When updates are made to the issue, all parties are notified via email, and no information is visually lost. At a glance, I always know what is going on with FogBugz.
OnTime 2009 also doesn’t allow us to assign and track issues with multiple team members in parallel. You simply assign to a single person. No way to CC others. Big deficiency for team work.
Also, when performing a project review, we often take down a lot of fast issues as the customer speaks. With FogBugz I can use the quick mode to punch the issue in as fast as I can type descriptions, and return later to flesh it out. We cannot do this with OnTime, with its various required fields. Besides that, OnTime is just sluggish, taking 5-6 seconds just for the defect window to popup. I need to be able to enter issues during a meeting as fast as I can type it into Excel. The total time & clicks to create an issue in any tool is a key benchmark.
In short, with customers who use OnTime I see people constantly fallback to email for discussions, and I also see degraded communication (someone enters notes that others never see). I do not see this trend with FogBugz.
Feature matrixes look good on paper, but it is difficult enough to keep teams using a tool properly without the tool adding more difficulty. FogBugz makes it as simple as you want, while allowing you to drill down as needed.
OnTime, however, feels like a very detailed tracking database with quick WinForms app thrown on top.
The downside for me with FogBugz is price for upgrades. Yearly maintenance is steep at 50% of the original cost. I could not justify upgrades, in part because we are happy with FogBugz 6, but in part because I could not see what I was getting for my yearly maintenance fees. FogCreek wasn’t very flexible on licensing discounts for us, after all they need to make a living, so we just decided to stick with v6 forever.
UPDATE 2014: A year or so after I wrote this, FogCreek sent me a free upgrade to v7 to fix a security bug. Just this year, they did the same thing again. They are the only company I’ve ever deal with to give me a free upgrade just to fix a bug, even without maintenance. A top-notch company with good people.
I’d still spend my money again on FogBugz without a second thought.
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