In a perfect world, every workday would go smoothly, and the technology you use would always work. Obviously, we don’t live in this world, so easy bug tracking software capabilities are an integral part of any project management team.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of three must-have features to look for when selecting your next bug tracking system. After an analysis of the many consultations we have with bug tracking software buyers each year, these are the top features required by a majority of buyers.
Whether included in a full-fledged project management software suite or available as a best-of-breed solution, the primary advantages of bug tracking systems are:
- Improved project organization through the centralization of communication and documentation.
- In-depth reporting on project status, resource allocation and usage, and many other metrics.
Here are the top-requested features and how they help:
What Does the Bug Tracking Process Look Like?
Before diving into these features, let’s first go over the basics of the bug tracking process:
Bug Tracking Process
The work order is then assigned to a project team or specific member. It’s classified and prioritized accordingly. Agents at this stage begin accessing the actual issue and determining a resolution.
The assessment and resolution process is closely monitored. Agents frequently provide updated statuses to the livelihood and progress of the work order.
Finally, a detailed formal report is created, outlining the entirety of the process. This includes the issue at hand, agents involved in the process, steps taken to find resolution and time and resources spent at each step.
With this process in mind, let’s look at why a majority of bug tracking software buyers listed these three features (task management, time tracking and reporting) as must-have capabilities.
Keep Projects Moving With Task Management
Task management is at the top of our list because over three-quarters of bug tracking software buyers list it as a required feature.
Top-Requested Software Features for Easy Bug Tracking
- Defining the issue and task at hand
- Setting deadlines and milestones
- Listing available resources
Some more in-depth task management systems even go as far as outlining the process and workflow you’ll take to complete each step along the journey to resolution.
Task management also enables two-way communication regarding the progress and status of the task. While most project management software offers formal collaboration tools (e.g., messaging, task assigning, dual documenting), these tools could also be considered to fall under the greater task management component.
Finally, task management offers a system of recording communications, steps taken and other critical components of each assigned task. This information feeds directly into the metrics and reporting features we discuss below.
Ensure Efficiency With Time Tracking Features
Time tracking capabilities are next on our list, with 63 percent of bug tracking software buyers listing it as a requirement.
Time tracking can be seen as a reporting extension of the task management feature. Whereas task management carries you throughout the process of open work order to resolution, time management features are there to monitor the time spent at each step along the way. It’s an integral component of the “tracking” part of the process.
On its surface, this capability ensures agents are working diligently and efficiently. But when you take a broader look at it, consistent time tracking enables team leaders and managers to spot trends and assign expectations to common issues that may arise.
Monitor Operational Metrics With Custom Reporting
Last on our list is detailed reporting features, required by 60 percent of bug tracking software buyers we spoke to. Reporting has become a central component to software products across many industries. The same is especially true for project management and bug tracking.
In the case of bug and issue tracking within greater project teams, reporting on trends seen in bugs across multiple work orders can lead to project-wide adjustments, or fixes, that help rejuvenate stalled projects and help teams make project deadlines.
From an operational standpoint, evolving as a team in terms of operational process, efficiency, and success requires some sort of benchmark to shoot for. That’s another area where reporting and data analysis come into play. Reporting tools enable users to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) such as:
- Time spent at each project stage
- Resources spent at each stage
- Collaboration between teams
These tools, similar to time tracking above, initially appear to be reactive. In other words, once a work order is closed, you can go back through it with the various reporting features to see what was good and bad about how it was handled.
However, the information gleaned from that analysis will enable trendspotting and highlight weak points in the process that can be fixed to proactively create greater efficiency in the future.
What to Do Now (Aside From Get the Bugs Out)
What’s next now that you’ve just seen how critical task management, time tracking and reporting are for bug tracking and project management teams? Well, if you’re reading this, you’re likely looking for a new bug tracking system to help your team stay on track.
If you’re looking to replace an existing system, you’ve come to the right place. Check out our extensive listings of formal project management and specialized bug and issue tracking software. Take time to read reviews from your peers, so that you can garner firsthand knowledge as to how these systems stack up against one another.
Alternatively, if you’re on a budget, check out our list of five great free bug tracking software options you can employ for your team today.