Issue Tracking for Software Projects

The Old Programmer’s Bible reads thus: “Every program contains at least one bug, and can be reduced in length by at least one instruction.” Another way of saying this is that any program is never truly finished. There is always something that needs to be added, redone, or fixed.

Before a software project is released in the market and becomes public to users, its quality is usually ensured by a process of issue tracking. But have you ever wondered why issue tracking is sometimes the critical view in software development?

Issue tracking contains all the bugs, issues and defects of a system. This is where the members of the team in the assigned project raise their issues so that the developers can review and change their source code for the system.

Essential uses of Issue Tracking for software projects

The most basic use of issue tracking software in any development project is that it gives developers the ability to keep track of any new and ongoing problems with their software. There’s also the added bonus of consolidating multiple related (or worse, duplicate) issues, and checking which ones are still in progress.

This might sound excessively simple, but in a big development project, being able to track all of these issues in a single place can make improving a program a much more manageable endeavor. This is essentially what issue tracking brings: a way of keeping a project from getting out of hand.

Some of the features that come in handy in project issue tracking include: issue management and issue classification.

Issue management helps you properly work with the issues that are important to your organization. This feature helps you do this in a way that is supported both by the control center’s workflow and also the workflows of other processes within your organization. Issues that are false positives or those that are already resolved can be excluded from future views of a particular report.

Issue classification enables you to mark open issues as fixed, in progress, as done, or as invalid. This serves to reduce confusion, and helps in tracking progress more efficiently.

Features and Benefits

An issue tracking system is usually used for fixing bugs in software projects, but it can also be used in other areas which don’t deal with software. The primary advantages of an issue tracking system are:

  1. Keep track of the users who are assigned to issues – This is great for checking on who of your employees are free to work on new projects, or address new issues.
  2. Status of an issue – Sometimes, having quick access to the status of an issue is all you need to be able to make sound decisions on where your project should head next.
  3. Provide info on who does what and how – Know what your people are doing, and what they’re capable of doing, and you will be able to positively address similar issues in the future.
  4. Complete history of an issue – Some issues are easily resolved. Others spawn long case histories that become a headache to keep track of. Being able to collect the entire timeline of an issue into one readable document can make it easier to assign new people to the issue, or to use fixed issues as a reference for resolving future issues.
  5. Provide a knowledge base – Training your programmers and bug trackers is part and parcel of being a software development firm. Being able to provide a knowledge base yearned from past issues is great in preparing new members of your team in case a similar issue is raised
  6. Generate MIS reports – These are simple reports which can be used for the performance appraisal of employees.

Issue tracking systems, if used in the right way, can do the following:

  • Improve the quality of software
  • Increase satisfaction of users and customers
  • Ensure requests accountability
  • Improve communication in the team and also to customers
  • Increase of productivity of the team
  • Reduce expenses.

Just because a program is consistently evolving doesn’t mean that the process has to be long and difficult. Issue tracking for software projects is just one of the tools you can use to ensure that you don’t have to turn every new bug in your system into a management nightmare.

Bug / Issue Tracking

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