What Is A Bug Tracking Tool? Is It Crucial For Your Project?
A bug tracking tool is usually a track management system that keeps track of reported bugs in software development projects. Basically, it’s a tool where you can record, assign, and track bugs that you’ve found during testing. It can also be used as a task management tool to track all your project features, user stories or tasks in one place along with bugs.
Why You Should Start Using A Bug Tracking Tool
There are a lot of ways Bug Tracking Tools can help manage, evaluate, and prioritize defects. We’ll highlight the most important here:
- More transparency on your project. You can check the progress on developing any specific feature or see how many bugs were submitted during the last iteration. It helps you to get a full overview of the quality of the product including the development progress of the product, found and fixed defects and requirements tracking.
- Easy metrics gathering. It allows you to gather metrics and track quality level, which helps you to improve planning for future iterations and mitigate risks
- Lower product cost. Bugs are fixed in order of their priority and severity, as a result developers could start working on high-priority bugs first. Additionally, QAs can easily find and analyze bugs that were found during test cases/test scenarios execution on previous versions of developed applications, which helps to predict and prevent such issues.
Criteria For Selecting A Bug Tracking Tool
Criteria can vary, since it depends on the type of business and type of projects you have. The most common criteria are presented in the table below.
|Criteria||Questions to Ask Yourself|
|Cost||Does it fit your budget?|
|Free trial and conditions||Does it have free trial options to check out its features? What are the conditions of the free trial?|
|Compatibility||Is the tool compatible with other testing tools you use?|
|Usable platforms||Does this tool support browsers/platforms/OSs used in your project? E.g. say your project has a requirement to use Mac OS, and so your team only has Mac laptops. Is it Mac compatible?|
|Usability||Is the app user-friendly and easy to use and understand?|
|Additional training||Will you have to invest additional time and effort to get your team up to speed in order to use it?|
|Tech support||Does the tool have tech support? Will someone be available to answer your questions, solve issues, adjust workflows if it is needed?|
|Integration with other tools||Does it have integration with other tools? For example, does it include extensions like test management or automation tools?|
|Visibility of status change||Is the ticket change process visualized? Will all the team members know when a ticket has been updated?|
|Reports||Does it have good report generation by specific criteria?|
|Ability to add attachments||Is the user able to add a screenshot, video, or log to a reported bug?|
|Traceability||Does it let you check traceability between bugs and requirements or between bugs and stories?|
|Notifications||Does the tool have notifications when someone changes your bugs’ description or tags you when smb wants to ask a question?|
|Search/Filters||Do you need filtering and sorting options? If so, does the tool you’re looking at provide them?|
|Customization||Can you customize the tool to have fields that are essential to your project?|
|Roles and access levels management||Does the tool have the option to manage roles/permissions?|
|Support of several projects||Can it support multiple projects at the same time?|
|Small/large teams||Will this tool work well with the size of team that you have?|
|Support for multiple ticket types||Can it support stories and tasks needed for project ticket types? (e.g. user stories, features, bugs, defects, sub-tasks, etc.)|
|Scrum boards||Does the tool have support for Scrum or any other Agile boards (Kanban, etc.)?|
Once you’ve answered all of these questions, you will have a clear understanding of what you need from your bug tracking tool, and it will be much easier to pick the best option for you.
Overview Of Top Bug Tracking Tools
Next, we’ll run you through what we consider best bug tracking tools. This list, in addition to the criteria you’ve already thought about, will get you well on your way to choosing the best tool.
This is the most common tool in the QA world. Jira helps teams plan, assign, track, report, and manage work of different teams/projects, starting with Agile software development and finishing customer support. It works for companies from start-ups to enterprises.
- Easy bug/task reporting
- Great visualization of all activities
- Support for multiple users with different roles
- Good customization
- Easy filtering and reporting
- Easy to integrate with other tools such as Test Management System (Zephyr, XRay, etc.)
- Free trial account
- On some projects, custom versions can be really confusing for users
- May require additional training for employees
- Limited functionality for cloud versions
- TFS (Azure DevOps)
Azure DevOps Server is a source code management solution designed to help software developers store and share source code with internal and external stakeholders. The platform enables businesses to automate continuous integration (CI) and change management operations.
- Multiple features besides bug tracking (access controls/permissions, collaboration tools, continuous integration, build automation, version control, change management, code review, test management, reporting, etc.)
- Multiple training options
- Great user support
- Free trial/free account
- Takes time to learn and operate
ALM helps manage project milestones, deliverables, and resources. It also aids in keeping track of project health and has standards that allow product owners to manage the current status of the product.
- Easy-to-understand and easy-to-use
- Great reporting opportunities
- Good requirements tracking
- Customer support by phone/online
- Poor integration options
- Only Demo version for free trial
Rally is an enterprise-class Agile development platform that acts as a centralized hub for teams to collaboratively plan, prioritize, and track development work. Rally can organize tasks into boards, lists, or timeline views in order to help teams visualize day-to-day work against organizational goals.
- Free plans
- Supports multiple projects
- Has planning tools and Agile boards
- Good reporting tools
- Good integration with CI/CD options
- Poor integration abilities
- Difficult customization and report creation
Bug Tracking Tools Best Practices
The cardinal rules of bug tracking tools we’ve laid out are:
Focus on the bug tracking process before you worry about the tool. Define a clear process for your project. When it’s defined and working, it will be easier to select a bug tracking tool
Keep things as simple as possible. Make your bug tracking tool usage rules as simple as possible, and the team will adapt and follow them without any issues. Find the best bug tracking tool for your process, and you’ll stay on track!
Take your time and read our previous article on test management tools comparison because the choice of the bug tracking system is highly dependent on the test management system (ideally, it should be possible to integrate them or use the same system for both purposes – bug tracking and test management). This will allow you to think ahead and avoid a lot of challenges.
Author: Karolina Panada