Issue Tracking for your Home

issue-tracking-diy-2

A few months ago, my wife and I decided it was time to move out of the suburbs and back closer to the city. Granted, Little Rock isn’t a huge metro area, but it regularly takes us 45 minutes or more to run “quick” errands from our current home. So, after searching for a few months, we finally found a great house in a perfect location and closed on an offer. Then the work started.

First, we needed to get our current house ready to sell. We’ve had a steadily growing list of minor repairs which we knew we would need to take care of before listing it on the market. Next, the inspection report on the new house turned up some action items that the sellers agreed to fix prior to closing. Finally, we had a few minor issues with the new house to address after moving in.

We needed a way to easily keep track of the issues for both houses, as well as the moving process as a whole. So, I decided to combine my personal and professional lives and get organized with an issue tracker that I’m pretty familiar with – DoneDone.

Project Setup and User Onboarding

With my personal DoneDone account, I created new projects for each property. I chose creative project names: “Little Rock House” for the new house (which is in Little Rock) and “Maumelle House” for our current house (which is in a suburb named Maumelle).

Each property is ready for tracking!

Both properties are ready for tracking!

Next, I added my wife as a user, and gave her Admin access. She setup her login that night and immediately began adding issues, without needing any instructions from me. This was her first time using an issue tracker, so score one for DoneDone’s ease of use!

All we're missing is the dog and cats.

We decided not to add the dog and cats.

Adding Issues

Next, it was time to log our repair issues.

For our current house, we simply went room-by-room and logged issues as we found them. For the new house, we entered all the items from the inspection report. We used the following rules for consistency when adding issues:

  • Issue Title: A brief but descriptive summary of the problem.
  • Issue Description: A detailed description of what needs to be addressed, including photos if available.
  • Priority: Critical issues would be hazardous to occupants (luckily we had none) and should be addressed immediately. High-priority issues would need to be resolved before we moved. Medium-priority issues would be fixed anytime. Low-priority issues were things we would address if we had enough time.
  • Fixer & Tester: Which of us would fix the problem and check the other’s work, respectively.
  • Due Date: Suggested completion date.
  • Tags: The room/location of the issue.
Using the Tags field

Using the Tags field for location (kitchen, bathroom, yard, etc.) made it super easy to filter and sort.

Resolving Issues

Now came the fun part: doing the actual work. Our process was pretty straightforward: choose an issue to fix, mark it as “In Progress”, fix the problem, mark it as “Ready for Retest” (and add an ‘after’ photo), and let the spouse take a look. Plus, most of this could be done on a phone. I found myself logging and updating issues from the yard.

My caption

DoneDone’s mobile UI made it easy to log issues and add photos from our phones. No need to lug a laptop around!

See Our Progress in Real-time

Our home improvement process is still ongoing (do home improvements ever end?). I’ve made a simple public site using the DoneDone API that shows our progress. Be sure to check back next week for more details on how we built it!

Caption

Sharing our progress in real-time

Sharing our progress in real-time

A home improvement issue still to be worked on

Benefits

Using an issue tracker to manage our home repairs has been very helpful. We can see all our action items in one central location, and easily filter and sort by property, room, priority, and more. It’s been far more efficient than our previous method of writing paper lists or just trying to remember everything on-the-fly.

Issue tracking is also great for historical record-keeping. We can refer back to all the improvements we’ve ever made, including photos and any attached receipts, without having to keep paper files. Plus, when we sell our current house, we can easily provide a comprehensive repair history to our listing agent.

It’s been enlightening to incorporate an issue tracker into my home life. Most people assume issue trackers are only for software development, but that’s absolutely not the case. If DoneDone helped make our DIY process more efficient, it can probably help with your tasks too (both professional and personal).

Jeremy Kratz is a developer at DoneDone. Follow him on Twitter via @jwkratz.