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Defect Tracking: Choosing the Best Application for Meeting Business Needs

April 16, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 128

Defect tracking is a necessary part of the software development process because it allows for a more robust final product. A good tool is essential; however, it becomes more effective when the right processes have been put into place for using it. The project team, general staff, or an outside consumer must first identify problems. They are reported by creating a record with a specific priority level. This information is conveyed to relevant employees via email or by direct responsibility assignment. An assigned employee researches the issue to determine how it can be fixed. The individual or team verifies resolution once the corrections have been applied. Managers can pull reports at any time during this process to ensure the proper steps are being taken or to review overall progress. Issue tracking allows a company to monitor pertinent problems, suggestions, and additional data throughout the course of a project to prevent problems from reaching the end consumer.

What Makes Issue Tracking a Successful Decision?

Companies seeking an effective issue tracking application must consider various aspects before making a final investment decision. An organization must first make the decision between in-house, third-party, and hosted solutions. In-house options take development professionals away from core responsibilities. Third party options entail additional costs such as licensing and support fees. Web-based or hosted solutions remove a large portion of traditional upfront costs while providing the most customization flexibility. These services manage all data, upgrades, and additional aspects for a low monthly cost based on required features and user counts. An organization should seek these core defect tracking features once the implementation method has been determined:

  • Centralized Data Source
  • Multiple Project Capabilities
  • Automatic Assignment Notifications
  • Automatic Status Change Updates
  • Defined Statuses
  • Management Reporting Capabilities

These tools become increasingly beneficial when they allow for data or document sharing. It is extremely helpful to compare a list of offered features and evaluate how easy they will be for usage by varying skill levels. A system that is difficult to use will cause personnel to seek out alternatives rather than use the supplied application. User-friendliness reduces the amount of training necessary during implementation and throughout continued use of the issue tracking system.

One additional factor affects the implementation of a good tool with the right processes. Perception of defects determines how forward employees are when an issue arises since they are also associated with someone being blamed for the problem. A team member can fear a bad review when these complications have been recorded in a defect tracking application. Failure to report these items or delayed reporting increases the cost incurred to resolve the problem. An organization can make these tools more beneficial by making the identification of defects less negative to promote the use of a monitoring solution. This change of perception also prevents employees from spending too much time on a particular task to reduce the chance of a defect and further disciplinary action. The perfect combination of these three aspects provides a success driven atmosphere where problems are handled quickly and efficiently. An organization should begin by defining productive processes, creating the right perceptions, and choosing a suitable monitoring solution.

Defect tracking entails three components-set practices, helpful tools, and staff perceptions. Proper alignment of these facets offers effective issue tracking within an organization.

Source: EzineArticles
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