Over Complicating Defect Tracking and How It Can Hurt Your Processes

Over Complicating Defect Tracking

Defect tracking is not an easy process. From discovering them to keep them updated and accurate, and to resolve, there are a few challenges that may hinder the defect tracking process. Fortunately, there are solutions for each of them. In this article, we will discuss a few of the challenges.

The Team Doesn’t Participate

Getting everyone to use the same defect management software is a challenge. Participation and collaboration are the cornerstones of a good defect management process and this can be enhanced to the fullest if everyone is using the same system. If not, the process will fall apart before you even get started. It’s highly unrecommended to use email for communication among teams. It’s ineffective, it’s unproductive, and it’s certainly unprofessional.

It’s Difficult to Report Defects

When it comes to tracking defects, just keep it simple. No one will ever report an issue if there are too many required fields in the form, too difficult to upload relevant files, or it’s too difficult to log in and find the “new issue” link. And unreported issues mean unsolved issues. Just as bad unreported issues are issues that get reported in a non-standard way. Emailing issues will only lead to them being overlooked in the long-run. So, it’s important that your tools make it easy for everyone to contribute and participate.

Solution: Keep your forms simple, offer things like drag-and-drop file uploading, and, if all else fails, email integration for those who prefer to report issues via email.

Issues Slip Through Cracks

If you can’t find an issue, you can’t fix them. You can easily lose track of defects because there are so many of them. It’s a useful practice to add statuses like “on hold” or “pending” in front of defects which you can easily lose sight of because of countless categories, milestones, and projects. Sorting and filtering need to be powerful yet simple. Over-complicating it can lead you to accidentally filter out half of your relevant issues and not even realize it.

Solution: Keep groups and options to a minimum and avoid creating buckets for issues to quietly hide in.

Over-Engineering the Process

Simplicity can’t be emphasized enough. Your best option is to solve your problems with the existing tools before you create a new one. Choose between a selected number of unambiguous statuses that do not overlap. Statuses should be clear and simple and they must not require you to redetermine the correct status for a given issue. Too many statuses can make issues forgettable while filtering them. Overly detailed statuses can also confuse non-technical people who will wonder, “what’s the difference between accepted and in progress?”

Over-Reliance on Software for Process

Your people are more valuable assets than your tools. Problems arise when organizations think otherwise. Without people to guide them, even the best testing tools will fail. That’s why it is important to make your people an integral part of the defect management process. Make room for the human aspects of issue tracking, like regular testing sessions, bug triaging, consistent iteration and release cycles, and dedicated time for fixing bugs.

Solution: Invest time and effort in the human processes that will pair with and support the software.

Tracking issues isn’t always easy, but you can make it easier by simplifying it. Cut out the cruft. Make sure you have good defect management software and good processes that help your team wield that it effectively. Let the software do the things it is good at and let your team fill in the parts of the process that people are good at.

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