If you’re new to the bug tracking or software development world, you may have a lingering question that you’ve been wanting to ask: why should you use issue tracking software in the first place?
After all, isn’t it just as easy to manage bugs with email, or a shared spreadsheet on your company’s server? You might think so, but we advise against it. Here are some of the advantages you get from using an issue tracker:
- One shared, central location: Keeping all your issues in one place makes them much easier to find. You don’t have to worry about finding the latest message in an email chain, and work won’t grind to a halt if someone accidentally deletes the ‘bugs’ document from the fileshare.
- Accountability: Issue trackers allow you to assign issues to specific people, so it’s easy to see who is working on what at any given moment.
- Permissions: If you work with clients or outside organizations, you want to make sure that each user only sees the issues they’re allowed to access. Bug trackers allow you to specify user permissions, while still allowing you to view issues for all your clients.
- Workflow and notifications: Keeping everyone in the loop about a particular issue can take a lot of work. What’s the current status? Who’s responsible for the next step? Does anybody need more information? Luckily, issue trackers can automatically notify the appropriate users when issues are updated, ensuring that no one is left in the dark.
- Paper trails: If you ever need to refer to previous updates to an issue, or need to review issues that were resolved in the past, issue tracking software can help. Every update is permanently logged, allowing you to quickly see who worked on the issue, how long they worked on it, and how the issue progressed to completion.
- No traffic cops: If your team has tried using email to manage issues, you’ve probably found that one person always ends up as the traffic cop: combing through everyone’s emails and updating issues, then messaging the rest of the team. Bug tracking software removes this hurdle, and allows everyone to login and update issues themselves.
- Integrations: Since we’ve entered the Age of Consolidation, it’s important for all the tools you use to work well together. Issue trackers can update bugs whenever developers check code into source control systems like Git and Subversion, can connect to your time tracking system so you can easily manage billable hours, and can even send updates to your team chat app.
So if you’ve been trying to manage your team’s bugs with emails, spreadsheets, or sticky notes, try adding an issue tracker to your workflow. You’ll be amazed at how much time you’ll save!