Obviously, there is no definite answer to this question. How can you find the best bug tracking software in the world? You can’t, because the answer always depends on several factors. There is no perfect bug tracking software. However, you can find the right one for your team. The perfect bug tracker depends on your situation, your needs, and preferences.
When selecting your bug tracking software, it is not advisable to just randomly pick one from the web. You cannot just choose one because it is popular. There is too much risk if you do that. You wouldn’t know if the software is too complicated or if it has unnecessary features. Or maybe it is too plain without features that you really need. All of these possibilities will happen if you do not do your research.
If you are going to select a bug tracking system for your team, you must be willing to read a lot of sources first. You must read the reviews about the leading bug tracking software. You can also read blogs and articles about bug trackers. There are also sources that will give tips or advice on how you will find the best bug tracking software. You can find a vast variety of information in the web that can help you in selecting the best bug tracker for your team. All you have to do is to commit some time and effort in order get the best result.
Now, back to the original question: How to look for the best bug tracking software? There are few things that you can consider in the selection process. These things are focused on the needs of your team rather than the features of bug tracking software. But, you still need to figure out what features to look for. These are just some of the things that you can consider to really determine the features that you will look for in the selection process.
Team’s Technical Knowledge and Skills
Not all teams have technical geniuses. Most of the time, the team includes people who are not tech savvy. They could also be working in building your app or software but they are focused on other areas. They could be marketing professionals, business analysts, end users, clients, etc. This is why complicated bug trackers are not for them. Therefore, it would be difficult to teach them the complex functionalities of a bug tracker. It really doesn’t matter if your bug tracker has advanced capabilities. If your team includes these non-technical members and if they are the key to the mix, you may just resort to simpler software solutions instead.
Complexity of Your Projects
The kind of software also depends on the complexity of projects that you are making. If your team is making software for engineering purposes, for space, health analysis, or stock market, you really need those advanced functionalities. In this case, the easy-to-use user interface is not in the menu. On the other hand, when your team is dealing with less complicated mobile apps or software such as document management, customer relationship, contact management, and manufacturing software, having those complicated features might become useless for your team. If this is the case, you can just choose a system that offers less complex features and user interface.
Kind of Technology You Are Using
Are you building applications or web sites? If so, you may want to use a bug tracker for web page bugs. Are you going to build a combination of native app and web? Then, you may want to use a platform-agnostic and flexible bug tracker. Moreover, you will have to track the end-user environment for finding those hard-to-reproduce issues when you are building operating systems. Then, tracking detailed platform info is beginning to become less applicable because browsers are becoming more standardized. You would have to find another way when you are building a web-based app for modern browsers. The type of bug tracking software that best fits your team also depends on the kind of technology you are building.
Number of Team Members and Workflow
The number of team members determines the kind of workflow that you need in the tracker. If you have a team with half-a-dozen members, a simple workflow wouldn’t be effective. You will need to have a flexible or adjustable workflow. But if you are a one-man-team, you don’t need to have a workflow. You can have it your way however you want. If you have a few team members, a small or simple workflow will do best. If you will apply a very complex workflow, there is a bigger chance of miscommunication, redundancy, and confusion. So, remember to find a bug tracker workflow that fits the size of your team. A complex workflow can cause mistakes and a too simple workflow can cause inadequacies in the process.
Requirements From the Users
If you are building a certain app or software for a company, be sure to determine their requirements and standards. There are some clients that only allow an in-house system as their database. In order to make this type of software, you must make sure that when building the software, you have already set aside the time for set up, maintenance, configuration, etc. Usually, these clients already have their own team and resources to manage and support the system.
On the other hand, a self-hosted bug tracker is not an option when you are working with a client that doesn’t require restrictions. This type of tracker requires a lot of maintenance and attention. So, you will have to use a hosted software solution instead. The hosts will take care of the backups, email deliver, and security themselves. All you have to do is to track the issues in the software.
Closed Source Versus Open Source
If you are building a web site, an app, or any software which are open source, you may want to use a bug tracker that allows registrations and public facing. However, the problem with public bug tacking software is the great possibility of you dealing with spam. On the other hand, building a closed source system makes use of the private issue tracker. This type of bug tracker prevents the possibility of spams.
Additional Team Members
In counting the number of heads in your team, don’t ever forget your clients. Whenever your team is working with a particular client, maybe a company or a business, they will become a part of your team. Every user of the software must be counted to determine the number of your team on a particular project. However, those clients may only use the bug tracker for a short period of time. But they still need to have a user account which is included in your expenses. This is because majority of bug tracking software will charge you base on the number of accounts or users. With a situation like this, you may end up spending more for your client’s members.
Usability of the Bug Tracker
There are a lot of options when you consider the complexity of the bug tracker. In order to find the best bug tracker, it is important to know how hard or simple it is to operate. So, here is the list that you can consider depending on three categories.
1. Very Simple
These trackers are very simple. They are fit for small teams that require simple workflow. However, they don’t have a retesting workflow. GitHub Issues and Todo List Apps are some examples.
This tracker has only few configurations. It has an easy-to-learn interface but it is flexible if you need other functionalities. Some examples are BugHeard and Sifter.
It will take time for your team to learn how to operate these types of bug tracker. They can be self-hosted and are highly configurable. Some examples are FogBugz, Bugzilla, Jira, Mantis, and Redmine.
What’s the Next Step After This?
It is easy for a beginner to drown in the sea of options especially when dealing with complicated jargons. Bug trackers vary in many different ways. In order to find the best bug tracking software for your team, it is important to know these differences. Never forget to read a lot. However, you should keep in mind that there are sources that have the sole purpose of selling their product. Don’t ever fall for these gimmicks. It is easy to tell if the source is endorsing a certain tracker. If you have read reviews that only focus on the good side of the bug tracking software, you can tell that it is a con. On the other hand, you should look for reviews that tackle both good and bad side of the software.
You can check out CrowdReviews.com for honest reviews about bug tracking software. It also provides the latest rankings of the best bug tracking software today. So now you can start your research in finding the best bug tracker. Just remember that there is no such thing as the best when it comes to bug trackers. However, your evaluation of your team’s needs and situation will determine the best software. Good luck in your quest!
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