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ForgBugz replacing intercompany emails, hmmm ?

Lately I have been thinking more and more on the "internal communications" issue, realizing how many emails are exchanged every day between co-workers requesting each other minor tasks or simplified status reports. I also count in "Meeting Minutes" and "Progress Reports" too. You see I work in a big group of companies where people exchange emails and more emails and of course ... emails. Not to forget Excel spreadsheets ...

After 25 years in the IT business I have clearly realized that the biggest problem between people is the "Communication" issue and how to deal with it the most effective way.

And suddenly I realised that -perhaps- FogBugz could make a very good replacement platform if some "technical terms" where removed. I mean terms like Releases; a Bug could be renamed to Problem etc

Its UI simplicity never ceases to amaze me as I use it for personal organization tool.

So I thought I should share my thoughts to get some feedback from the community. What do you think ?
Angelo Giannatos Send private email
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
We dogfood pretty heavily. We try to use FogBugz for everything.  Recruiting, faxes, voice mails, all support email, etc.

Whenever I give people my address, I always warn them that response times are usually faster via the customer-service alias.  I check my Outlook a couple times a day, FogBugz nearly constantly.

So, email has atrophied significantly the more stuff we put into FogBugz.
Rich Armstrong Send private email
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Great to read this, Rich.

How about a post with some "real world" problems and their solution via FogBugz on FogCreek's blog ?

What I have in mind is mostly the "average everyday user" ...
Angelo Giannatos Send private email
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Can I just spew some more thoughts?

It's been my experience, both here and at Google that it's better to identify and transfer functions into FogBugz and let email atrophy (or grow more slowly), rather than pushing forward with the idea of killing email.  Email, frankly, sucks at getting things done, but it's still very flexible.  FogBugz, I think, succeeds because of its flexibility, but is too stifling for some forms of communication.

Our (proprietary) ticketing system at Google was similarly powerful, flexible, and tempting, but the occasional foray into directing all of a person's emails into it always ended in disaster.  Not to get too subtle here, but ticket systems and emails are both ways of securing a commitment from someone, which is that person's acknowledgment that they have ownership over something and are responsible for the next action.  When the need for ownership is clear (effectively, when we've decided what this thing "is"), ticketing systems do well. They remove deniability and focus effort.  But humans are social beings and a lot of valuable work goes on without a commitment really ever being defined, before we know what it is we're even talking about, without ownership ever really being established.

If you put every bit of your email into FogBugz, you kill the nebulous aspect of email, which can actually be very generative.  But once it's something that needs ownership, commitment, and action, FogBugz is a good place for it.

How's that?
Rich Armstrong Send private email
Friday, December 12, 2008
Very interesting points, Rich.

I now relize that using the word "replacing" on the title of this thread is a bit misleading. I should have used the word "backing up" or "enchancing" perhaps; english is not my native language unfortunatelly.

I agree with your points on commitment and this was what I had in mind observing the way people interact via email.
Modern email clients like gmail and thunderbird thread emails going back and forth so the cohesion of a conversation remains somehow intact; provided all participants understand the rules on how to "reply-to".

Now on Fogbugz, I was pondering on how to "remove" the -sort of- vertical developer orientation and use it as a generic intracompany well defined communication tool on certain aspects of task assignments, not related to software.
Angelo Giannatos Send private email
Saturday, December 13, 2008

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