Choosing a lightweight issue tracker to manage your workflow

Most people decide to start looking for a lightweight issue tracker when they realize that Google Docs, Excel, and generic spreadsheets aren’t enough. If you’re looking for an issue tracker that is simple to set up and easy to use, you’ve clicked on the right link.

I’ll share a reliable option which is perfect for small teams of just 2 or 3 people. It can also be used by individuals or large teams, which is great because you never know when you need to scale!

Basic elements of a lightweight issue tracker

One of the best things about using a bare-bones solution is that it enables you to get work done in a variety of applications. For example, you may need an issue tracker for bug tracking. It could be for customer support. It could simply be for the purpose of accountability in a small team.

With this in mind, here are 5 features to look for in any simple issue tracker app:

  •      Easy issue creation
  •      Issue priority settings
  •      Due dates
  •      In-app notifications
  •      Issue assignments

We initially created DoneDone to serve this basic purpose for our simple issue tracking needs. Since then, we have intentionally kept DoneDone as a lightweight application.

Assessing your unique issue tracking needs

Before signing up for anything, you should take a moment to consider your short-term and long-term goals. How will you use an issue tracker today? Will you use it in the same way tomorrow, or will you scale? Will you add more team members?

Some people look for the simplest tool to manage one specific project or client. Then, weeks or months later, a new project or client needs to be added to the system. You may want to account for this possibility.

In regard to bug tracking, are there any important integrations that would make your life a bit easier, such as Git or SVN integration? Slack notifications? Determine just how “lightweight” you want to go as you choose a tracker.

Setting up a lightweight issue tracker

In the case of DoneDone, sign up to start the configuration process. It’s really easy.

  1. Enter your name and company
  2. Enter your email address
  3. Enter in a custom subdomain
  4. Input the number of team members in your company

Set a username and password, and you’re ready to go! If you’re the only user, then you don’t need to do any further configurations.

If you do have other teammates to add, DoneDone and any other issue tracker app will have an option to add new users.

Once your users are added, it’s time to create the first project. Give it a name and save it.

Within a project, you will be able to create issues to track. Assign yourself or someone else as the fixer. You can even appoint a third person to verify that the issue has been resolved before closing the task.

Your other options are Jira and Asana, but they are more complicated to use.

Using a simple issue tracker

Agencies especially like simple issue trackers because most of the work is handled by a manager and a few employees working together. In this case, it’s easy for a manager to assign a new task to an employee and copy a third person on the progress.

For example, a project manager wants the app developer to change a line of code. That project manager opens a new issue and names it. The issue is assigned to the app developer who automatically sees the new task in his list. The project manager decides to also add the company account manager to the project so that the account manager also gets notifications. That helps the account manager better communicate progress to the

As the app developer completes the project and changes the status of the record, everyone on the project can be notified.

How much should I pay?

You won’t need to spend an arm and a leg for simple issue tracking. Jira users pay about $7 per month on average. Teamwork users are even higher, at $10 per user per month. The average DoneDone user only pays $4 per month, which is basically the price of a soft taco and a Red Bull. Can’t beat that.

A few bucks per month is a small price to pay for an app that keeps you focused and efficient.

What do you need in an issue tracker?

The number of features that you’ll need to get the job done are completely up to you. But here is a list of features to look out for:

  • Assigning team members – You should be able to assign yourself or someone else to resolve the issue.
  • Informed parties – Sometimes there are people that should be notified about the progress of an issue but not be assigned to resolve it. There should be a way for you to keep them in the loop.
  • Filtering – You will need to filter tasks and issue by due date, status, priority, tags, or responsible team member.
  • Notifications – Know when changes are made to issues that you are following or copied on.
  • Simple reporting – Get some basic insights into how team members are moving work ahead.
  • Mobile-friendly – Some people like the ability to tick off tasks while on the go. An app that works on your phone makes issue tracking an even more seamless part of your workday.
  • Release builds – Let’s say you are the issue fixer and you have an issue tester who verifies that issues are fixed. You don’t want to send a notification to the tester every single time that you fix an issue. Maybe you would prefer to send one big notification after a batch of issues are fixed. Release builds is a way to clear your queue of issues but hold back passing on the notifications to the tester until you’re ready to do so.
  • File sharing – Easily drag and drop reference screenshots and documents to add them to the project.
  • Backups – Because who wants to lose all their data?

It’s our experience that these features are the absolute core necessities of any lightweight issue tracking software. If you prefer to use something a bit more robust, you can also opt for premium features such as time tracking, Gantt charts, and task dependencies. But expect your per-user costs to triple.

The bottom line

Escape the hassle of spreadsheets by signing up for a simple issue tracker. Pay a few dollars per user per month. Enjoy a much smoother issue management experience.

Read more about why teams in 110 countries use DoneDone for easy tracking.