Bug Tracking: the Good, the Bad, and the Kind of Ugly

Since the beginning of summer, we’ve tried to standardize our way of tracking bugs, fixes, QA items, and functional priorities. During the functional phases of development and while we’re getting client feedback, we were struggling to find a good, quick and organized workflow for completion of tasks. So, I undertook a project. 

The development team came up with three options for bug tracking systems to try: GitHub, Pivotal Tracker and Asana. I tried each system on a different project, to see what the process was like from a project management perspective. After the projects finished, I presented my thoughts to the company. We fought to the death (Hunger Games style), to decide on the best option.  Here’s how the process went:

GitHub

We used the issue section of github and attributed new bugs as issues. We also created milestones and tags depending on issues. Overall I gave this program a B-. As easy as it seems, it’s actually a bit complicated. If you’re in a specific milestone and search it won’t search all issues, you have to back out, clear all filters. 

Negative

  • It’s in github, for project managers or for clients this isn’t the best solution
  • Not as robust as we needed, for example doesn’t include subtasks

Positive

  • Can attribute code fixes to specific bugs
  • Easy to tag categories to items

Pivotal Tracker

Pivotal Tracker has it’s own language barrier for anyone looking at it, icebox, epics, it was hard to get the ideas straight. We tried to create epics, and tasks and subtasks which worked well for 2 developers on a project to set who was doing what and when. Overall, I would give this program a B, B-. From a project manager’s standpoint, there is a strong barrier to understanding. The flow was difficult to understand and we needed something easy to adopt into the company. 

Negative

  • Has it’s own process flow that you have to mold into, and we’d have to all adopt the systems way of working
  • Difficult to understand, many ways to complete the same objective

Positive

  • Sub tasks that are basically small checklists
  • Creating priorities and flow

Asana

From the get go, it was nice how simple and clean the interface is. We struggled a little bit with the open process flow of the system, but created our own. We created tags which included review, hold, qa, next release, etc. I rated this an A, it is the best system and very easy for everyone to catch on and start using the program.

Negative

  • If a process for bug tracking isn’t set, the program is open to set it’s own process (this can cause issues if everyone isn’t on the same page)

Positive

  • Quick and very simple, keyboard shortcuts
  • Subtasks, hierarchy, and create our own process flow

We’ve been using Asana for about 3 months now, and everyone is really enjoying it. We are still brainstorming better and quicker ways to use the program, but overall it’s made the process more efficient. The flow works well for developers, designers and project managers to stay on track with bugs, QA items and setting functionality timelines.

Banner image courtesy of Alfie Ianni