Tips on How To Use an Issue Tracker Effectively

To catch and document pieces of work across the distribution pipeline, most projects use a problem monitoring device. The mission at hand, along with the tools’ high configurability, can make it tough to know when to use them efficiently, and teams can slip into a few traps.

In this article, I’ll give you a few quick pointers about what works for me and what doesn’t. They are based on strategies that have worked well in the past, as well as those that haven’t. They include aspects that seasoned users can take for granted, as well as gotchas and surprises, as well as longer-term realizations.

Choose a project key that is long enough to be useful, but not too long

Issue keys or identifiers are used to define problems in a project in a particular way. The first half is made up of the project key, which defines the project and makes each problem key special to all projects. Since problem keys are used commonly and in a variety of places, keeping them short makes for faster typing (not everybody is permitted to use text expansion tools!) and view in a reasonable amount of space.

While project keys can normally be changed at any time, their use of external integrations like source control and build systems means this is seldom done in practice. To begin with a good one: something simple, meaningful, and easily recognizable.

Allow for customization of the configuration to meet the needs of the team

Issue Tracking Tools, like most technologies, perform well when teams are given the freedom to use them in ways that fit their unique conditions and working habits.

Corporate deployments, on the other hand, often discourage, if not outright forbid, project-specific configuration. A global one-size-fits-all setup with the same problem forms, sectors, statuses, and workflows for all projects may be provided. Changes to a project’s specifications, or the permits to make those changes, may take weeks – or not be feasible at all. This will result in projects using a setup that doesn’t suit their needs/process or is inconvenient.

Permissions to change configuration must be issued at a granular level to prevent project managers from changing aspects of configuration that are used among all projects. Wide-ranging licenses invariably lead to modifications being made without consultation, whether on purpose or by mistake.

Create and customize views for various participants

When it comes to monitoring the status/progress of work – such as challenges in a sprint – people in different positions in a project have different, often overlapping needs.

Trying to serve both of them in a single view/board interface seldom works out well for anybody. Software developers prefer a low-level view that focuses on their job, while product owners and distribution administrators prefer a higher-level view that can omit certain details and community problems differently. Business observers and testers may also want something new.

View/board setups that aim to please all always fail to do so. They may be set up to serve the interests of the most dominant participants at the cost of those who need them the most. Separate views/boards customized to the needs of various positions enable each to have their own setup.

Consistently use problem fields

An area must be used for the same reason by all team members in order to be useful. It’s been used for a variety of uses, but it’s no longer usable for any of them. This can lead to misinterpretation and inaccurate query/report findings. Teams and other parties must settle on and adhere to which areas are used for which purposes.

Consider the case of a field called “fix edition” that is used inconsistently. It’s set by the update process on fixed problems, but it’s often set by those who submit glitches and specify which edition they want it fixed in. If this field is used as a criterion in a questionnaire to generate release notes, the result can not be accurate.

To group epics of problems, use the appropriate function

Epics are vast works that can be broken down into smaller stories for creation and prioritization. These tales are then a part of the epic. This partnership, for example, drives a number of useful features in JIRA, such as backlog view filters and the appearance of the epic name on sprint board issue cards.

When other grouping methods, such as elements or labels, are used, certain characteristics are lost. To compensate for this, issue titles are prefixed with the epic name, which adds clutter and allows the last (useful) portion of the title to be truncated in some views.

Issue Tracking Tools are a necessity. Use them and feel the difference.

Helper