Google defines issue as “an important topic for debate or discussion”. In the software world however, issues come in many shapes and forms. The issue could be anything with respect to the project. It could be about the delivery of the project, assigning roles for the project, setting priorities among the different tasks, communicating with stakeholders and the client, etc. That’s where an Issue Tracking system steps in. It is a whole ecosystem wherein solutions for such issues are provided through a single multi-tasking platform.
Backlog Management is one of the most important features of an issue tracking system. A backlog would give the software team an indication, about the tasks that are yet to be completed in the project. The backlog could include only stories i.e. requirements of the client, or it could include bugs as well as stories depending on the working style preferred by the software teams. An effective issue tracking system with the help of backlog management can keep track of the scope of the project and ensure that it is not diverted from the user’s requirements.
An Issue Tracking System helps a Software team in the adaptation of Agile Planning. Agile Planning basically is breaking down the project or product into small sprints or iterations and then deciding about the time scale of each sprint and the user stories that are to be completed in each sprint. Breaking down the whole project into small iterations helps in scheduling of the project and ensures that it is completed within a given time frame.
So, an issue tracking system provides the necessary tools for the implementation of the Agile methodology. It enables a team to easily track and manage sprints by providing customizable workflows for every issue be it a bug, story or a coffee run. In addition, there are Sprint Permissions which provides control regarding what a user can see or do in a project. A customized dashboard is also available to the teams so that they can monitor their progress on a daily basis and find out the bottlenecks present. Retrospectives, an important pillar of agile planning, is represented in an effective manner through an issue tracking system. It provides the team different types of charts, reports and graphs thus ensuring that the whole process is based around facts and is data-driven.
Moreover, an issue tracking system help a team perform on the principles of Kanban methodology. Continuous delivery or consistent releases of the product is the main objective of the Kanban methodology. The Kanban methodology ensures that the flow of work in a project is smooth. It involves constant collaboration among the members of a software team for deciding the daily work schedule. This would ensure that the team doesn’t commit to a lot of work at once and would pick the stories which are the most relevant to the project. The issue tracking system provides tools such as a Kanban Board, which would enable a team to recognize what’s left in a project, so that the team can move on quickly once the ongoing work is completed.
Thus, an issue tracking system is unquestionably a hugely important tool to have for any software team. As illustrated above, through its agile tools, it promotes collaboration among its employees, helps to track and manage sprints easily, helps to delegate tasks effectively, ensures that the project is on schedule and along with it facilitates communication with Clients and Vendors.
In recent times, research and surveys have highlighted how Issue Tracing System has been popular among the nontechnical users. This is because the decision makers in the nontechnical domain have realized the fact that an Issue Tracking System brings down the cost of the project and ensures quicker delivery. Assignment of tasks, scheduling tasks, prioritizing tasks, etc. all these have been made easier due to the project management tools provided by an issue tracking system.
Suppose, as an example, consider a mega infrastructure project which is to be completed in a stipulated amount of time. Through utilization of the planning tools provided by the system, the whole project is divided into sub parts each of which is given a time frame. Each part is then taken up individually and work is performed on it in a systematic manner through the Kanban Methodology. Through the customized dashboard available in the tracking system, the project managers can effectively track and monitor the tasks. The allocation of tasks to the workers is carried out in a proper manner which makes each worker accountable for his/her task. Descriptive Reports, Diagrams and graphs can be created which helps not only in the documentation of the project but also enhances its presentation. All of the above ensures that the objectives of the project are met and that too in the given time frame.
Thus, for businesses which are looking towards automation and new technologies to improve its organizational culture, incorporating an issue tracking system is a step in that direction. It not only promotes a more productive business environment, it also makes life a lot easier for the top management.