Bug Tracking Made Simple, Page 2
What Should You Look For in a Bug Tracking Tool?
Now that you know how bug tracking is done, what features should you look for in a bug tracking tool? We've assembled a quick check list of the most important features to have in any bug tracking tool.
- Unique ID. A mechanism to identify and track every bug by assigning a unique ID number to each bug.
- Full customization. The flexibility to customize a tool for your development environment and define parameters according to your business needs. For example, a customizable product would let you define a priority list the way you want; for example, by using numbers, words, or letters.
- File attachments. The ability to give a clear description of a reported problem to team members by attaching screen shots, text files, and so forth to each bug.
- History trail. A record of all changes made in an issue from the moment it is submitted through its life cycle.
- Automatic e-mail notification. Whenever an issue is assigned to a group member, it is useful to have your tool send an automatic e-mail notification informing the programmer of the assignment.
- Customizable reports. A report engine that lets you search your issue list for different words and phrases and create specific reports with only the issues and fields that interest you. For example, you might want to create a report on all issues that have been assigned to you.
- Web-based. Lets your team use the tool wherever they are based by enabling access to the tool and issue list from any location using only a browser. If money is no object, there are also many good licensed software products. However, theses products normally require licenses for each user, which can quickly elevate the cost if a company has many users.
- Access. Allows you to establish access permission rules for each group. For example, you don't want R&D to be able to be able access the 'Closed' status and you don't want customers to see bugs they have not reported.
Now, It's Your Turn
In this article, we've shown you the need for bug-tracking software, what a bug tracking tool can do, and explained the process. You now know what to look for in a tool. Clearly, bug tracking tools help developers identify and keep track of bugs, but it is up to you, the developer, to resolve them. But, armed with a good tool, your software development process should be more exacting and your end product much more reliable.
About the Author
1. Research Triangle Institute (RTI), The Economic Impacts of Inadequate Infrastructure for Software Testing—National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Planning Report 02-3, (May 2002): Table 8-6, www.nist.gov/director/prog-ofc/report02-3.pdf.
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