In the not too distant past, project teams comprised close-knit groups that were all co-located with their managers.
Today’s modern workplace is rather different. The project teams are characterized by globally distributed teams, remote working, and online collaboration. The need to cope with project planning, organization, assigning accountability, and following-up, makes project management tools an inescapable necessity for efficient functioning.
The development of a software tool for improving a business process, expanding into a new market, and constructing a bridge are a few common project examples that a project management tool can help execute seamlessly.
What do Project Management (PM) Tools Actually Do?
A bug tracking tool helps identify, record, manage and track bugs in the software. As bugs are uncovered, they are assigned to developers who fix the bugs. The bug tracking tool manages the movement of the issue and its fix from person to person while also providing visibility to all stakeholders on the resolution status. Essentially, a bug tracking tool automates the process of tracking and monitoring bugs.
On the other hand, a PM tool helps project teams plan project execution, manage project activities, and track its progress.
PM tools help project teams with:
- Project estimation
- Risk management
- Resource allocation
- Quality management
- Project administration
Most importantly, during project execution, PM tools help project teams stay on top of the project by enabling the team in:
- Keeping a close watch on the project schedule;
- Preventing creep in the contracted project scope;
- Managing project cost/budget;
- Maintaining effective resource/stakeholder communication.
How do PM Tools Cause Engineers to Lose Focus?
PM tools are designed to help firms organize project activities and streamline processes. Most PM tools are of complex design and are feature-rich. Depending on the complexity of
the tool, there is a definite learning curve that is required to be able to use the tool effectively.
Engineers on the project team will need to learn to use key features of the PM tool relevant to the tasks assigned to them. This distracts engineers from their core project responsibilities. Also, an over-emphasis on providing inputs for the PM tool often tends to shift the focus of the project’s engineers towards the requirement of inputting data in the PM tool and away from the project activities.
Project management and project execution, although intimately interconnected, are distinctly separate functions. Project management is the planning and scheduling of project activities, while execution is the actual performance of tasks required to complete the project. Over-reliance on the PM tool distracts from execution—until an alert is generated for a slipped deadline.
Project engineers will do well to remember that PM tools are only meant to assist and complement their work, not supplant execution.
Regaining Focus—Dedicated Bug Trackers
A software bug is an error in a software application that causes the software to function incorrectly. Bug tracking (also called issue tracking) logs and monitors bugs or errors during software testing. Large software systems could potentially contain hundreds or thousands of bugs. Each bug needs to be evaluated, prioritized, tracked, and fixed.
Software testing teams use bug trackers to report errors during the development and testing of an application. The efficient logging and tracking of bugs do not just help in fixing bugs—it helps accelerate the software development lifecycle.
Bug trackers enhance efficiency by transforming the entire project management framework and improving the overall quality of the developed software solutions.
Bug trackers speed up the software development lifecycle by enabling:
To enable the speedy fixing of bugs, the tracker enables more than just logging bugs. A dedicated bug tracker helps developers form a rounded picture of the bugs in the software. A specialized bug tracker enables testers to record the effect of the bug on the application’s performance, steps that led to the occurrence of the bug, the test environment, etc. Recording such data helps developers and testers analyze the problem and then prioritize and fix them.
Users value product experience. Bugs directly impact users’ product experience. This assumes greater significance if the product is business-critical. Bug resolution slows down product updates and feature additions.
Software development and bug resolution are collaborative undertakings. It involves developers, testers, and QA teams working together to identify and fix bugs. A specialized bug tracker helps assign specific tasks to different teams and enables team collaboration to move bug resolution forward.
A specialized issue tracker, through data-rich but easy-to-read dashboards, helps in the effective reporting on the status of every issue. The analytics feature of the tracker helps the developers/testers to glean insights on the reported bugs to prevent a recurrence.
Resources must be allocated efficiently, and project timelines are adhered to for project success. Trackers help in resource management for timely bug resolution. Tracking bugs on a central platform ensures that the resources are not overwhelmed and that no bug slips through unnoticed.
Additionally, trackers enable automatic escalation/approval of issues and provide enhanced transparency on the status of the project’s progress—all enabling faster bug resolution.
Combining the above features in a specialized issue tracker accelerates the software development lifecycle. Specialized trackers, such as Bugasura, speed up the process by creating a single workflow for reporting, monitoring, and tracking.
Dedicated issue trackers can also link to other enterprise management systems for greater visibility, feedback, and collaboration. Dedicated trackers, through simple workflows and features that enable collaboration, help teams work together and get things moving to develop and release bug-free software faster.