Evaluators often get confused when they try to compare between many features
Issue Tracking Software.
This chapter attempts to categorize multiple needed features for a good
Web-Based Bug Tracker
for incidents, bugs, and operational issues.
Fields are required to Track the Bugs or Issues. Some of these fields can be
Predetermined (like status or criticality of the issue) whereas some of them can be
A software vendor cannot determine all the needs of its customer, so the capability of having
User-Defined fields is essential. Evaluators will need to look at the following factors:
How many User Defined fields are possible, does the vendor offer only a few
user-defined fields (e.g., 10) or unlimited user-defined fields?
What types of fields are possible? Examples of some of the common field types
are text-box, pick list, date, yes/no, etc.
Can you set the default value of a pick-list? For example, suppose you are
entering issues on the inventory problems, and most of your inventories are at the
Denver location. It would save some keystrokes if you could set the location field to
Denver by default on the input form.
What happens to the previously entered issues when you have changed an item in
the pick list? For example, suppose your location has moved from Denver to Colorado
Springs, and you do not want to show the location Denver on the pick-list anymore.
This change of location will require you to rearrange the pick list. You must make sure that the old
issues entered still stay as Denver on your reports.
- Can you make a field mandatory in the input form?
Can the read/write access be granted on a field to a particular set of
Due to the number of issues entered into the system over time, a
suitable search mechanism is of paramount importance. The following factors should be
taken into consideration:
Can the system do a full-text search on a particular field? Can it be done
across all the fields?
Can the search be saved as a view so that they can be reused later instead of
generating them over and over again? For example, if you often do search in all the
resolved issues at your location at Denver, it may be easy for you to save a view and
run it every time you want to search.
How sophisticated can the search criteria be? For example, you may want to know
how many issues are open at locations in Denver and Los Angeles in the last two
days and are marked critical.
A consolidated view of all the issues is useful for taking a first look at
Issue Tracking Software.
As this is often the first screen users visit at the start of the day, it is important to consider
this feature carefully. Some of the points to consider are:
- Can the user (or an administrator) select which columns to view?
- Can the view be sorted dynamically by columns?
Projects and Templates
A company may not be just buying an
Issue Tracking Software
to track software bugs. It is useful to consider if the same investment allows tracking of many
other things like
Warehouse Issues, Sales Leads, Recruitments,
etc.? Some of the things to consider here are:
Can the system define projects that can hold issues of a particular domain?
Examples of some of the domains are bug tracking, HR employee management, etc.
- Can each project be individually configured?
Are there canned templates? For example, if you want to create a project to
track bugs, is there any template that can set up default fields.
Can you create and save a template? For example, if you have set up a project
by modifying fields for a particular domain, can you create a template out of it to
create future projects?
Issues and Bugs often require screenshots and other documents. A
Issue Tracking Software
should provide a means to upload and view such documents.
Issues, when entered in the system needs to be assigned to people who work
on them. Evaluators should see if such a feature exists in the
Bug & Issue Tracking Software.
The ability to create customizable reports cannot be understated as this is
the most important use of the issue and bug tracking system. Some of the
factors to consider for reports are:
Can the fields, search condition, an aggregate condition be selected while
creating the report?
Can the system create charts? Charts are sometimes useful to get a quick
picture. For example, the management may want to see the distribution of criticality
of issues over a particular period.
Can the reports be exported to the PDF files, Excel files or Word
Issues in a project may grow large over time, and it may be necessary to
archive them to avoid clutter. Some of the things to consider for archival
- Can an individual issue be archived?
- Can a project be archived?
- Can issues from a project be copied to another archived project?
- Can archived information be restored on demand?
History of edits to a particular issue may be necessary to track as it gives
an idea of the changes that had taken place on an issue for a period.
Information Exchange with external systems
This feature is often missed out by evaluators. If the system does not
provide imports and export features, users of the system may get locked into the
system as they may not be able to migrate their information to another system should
they become unsatisfied with the existing system or if the existing company has
changed focus or has gone out of business. Some of the points to consider
Does the system has the feature of import and export in comma-separated value (CSV)
Does the system has the feature of import and export in XML format. XML has become a standard
of information exchange nowadays and can represent information in a
formatted fashion(as opposed to CSV)