Issue Tracking Systems – Evaluating a Bug Tracking System |

Web based issue tracking systems allow companies of various to sizes to report and track “issues” that arise from a variety of situations. While the term hosted issue tracking software technically refers to web based issue tracking solutions that track issues that don’t result from errors in computer code, issue tracking-systems are synonymously referred to as bug tracking systems, and issue tracking and bug tracking capabilities are often contained within the same hosted tracking-system. In many ways, choosing an effective issue tracking system relies on the same value based criteria as choosing an effective bug tracking system. But from a technical standpoint, the criteria can differ markedly. Below, we briefly discuss three basic criteria for choosing a bug tracking-system that meets your needs, beginning with adaptability.AdaptabilityIf you need a bug tracking system but you also need an issue tracking system, it’s important to make sure that a bug tracking system can be adapted to effectively report and track non-bug related issues. Some bug tracking-systems are specifically designed for bug tracking and can be hard to adapt to issue tracking, ultimately making it confusing which reports are for bugs and which reports aren’t. You should look for a tracking system that has built in templates for tracking non-bug related issues. In addition, it’s important to evaluate a tracking system based on the adaptability of its fields. If the field terminology is hardwired for bug tracking, it’s best to choose a different system that has adaptable fields. Otherwise, the conflicting terminology will only compromise what a tracking-system is all about: reporting and resolving issues in a timely manner.Bug Change HistoryA tracking system that provides bug change history allows you to trace who addressed a bug, how they addressed it and when, such as who raised the priority of a bug or who marked it as resolved. A bug change history is valuable for employee accountability, but it also serves as a way to record how a certain bug was addressed for future reference. The value of a bug change history depends mainly on the specificity of its terminology. For example, a bug change history that describes a change in the priority of a bug as “defect modified” doesn’t offer much insight into what happened, whereas a bug change history that describes the same change in priority as “priority changed to low” is more revealing. If you need a bug change history, always go with a system that offers specificity about how a bug was addressed.Ease of UseIn the old days of bug-tracking, tracking-system interfaces weren’t user friendly, meaning that only users with higher computer knowledge could participate in the debugging process; and even for them, the interface presented a hassle. So, what defines a friendly interface? In terms of functionality, a quality interface behaves like a Windows application. Some interface applications constantly reload pages as they respond to user input, resulting in what seems like a sequence of HTML pages, which can be confusing to inexpert users. Another sign of a good interface is that almost anyone can sense how to operate it. Instead of containing specialized terminology and requiring numerous mouse clicks to operate, a friendly interface is easy to understand and requires a minimal number of clicks to accomplish a task.