Keep It Under One Roof: Separate Bug and Issue Tracking is a Bad Idea

Many companies allow departments to choose their preferred bug and issue tracking tools. Allowing departments to choose their own apps and systems makes sense: It creates an optimized workflow within the department so that colleagues can work together as a cohesive unit. As long as work is getting done efficiently, the system proves itself valuable. On paper, this sounds ideal.

Unfortunately, that’s not usually the case for larger companies. Segmented apps and systems impact the company as a whole. What might be right for department A creates conflicts with departments B and C’s communication preferences. Meanwhile, department A’s tasks are going unresolved due to a communication gap with departments B and C. Once this happens, gaps and holes will surface early and often like productivity sinkholes.

That’s why effective teams keep their issue and bug tracking all under one roof.

Unless unified under one system, operations become disorganized. Instead of bringing everyone together, departments unwittingly put walls up between them and vital departments they deal with on a regular basis. With these walls in place, communication becomes hampered instead of honed. Departments lose valuable information about their colleagues. Schedules, bandwidth, statuses, and messages become inaccessible.

It is essential for organizations to keep their department’s systems and operations close-knit. Doing so promotes teamwork and efficient workflows—and resolves many headaches for your Project Managers.

Headache Relief

Looking at some of the most common Project Manager challenges reads like a list of problems that arise when departments aren’t aligned. While your team’s bug and issue tracking choices won’t entirely alleviate these challenges, they are valuable steps in the right direction.

Take a look at how some of the most common challenges are created when the company fails to get on the same page:

Lack of Accountability

With barriers between teams or departments, you often find a lack of accountability. When teams can’t get on the same page about bug and issue tracking, communication is likely to fail.

Departments often start blaming one another: Support blames the Devs, while the Devs place blame on the Product Manager. Everything becomes a mess, and no one is sure where things fell apart. The only thing anyone knows is that things aren’t working.

With lapsed deadlines and other severe issues, teams and companies alike could find themselves in a costly position. Budgets may need to expand, and scopes will need adjusting. These lapses may even result in job losses or an outright cancellation of the project.

Improper Risk Management

If tracking isn’t under one roof, risk management becomes exponentially more difficult. How can anyone prepare for something they are unaware of?

By putting up technological walls between teams, vital planning information may never reach the right person or department. And this impacts more than just the Project Manager alone.

Anyone assigned to the affected tasks will feel the consequences of a mismanaged project, and it all stems from miscommunication. Consequently, everyone is left with extra work and, possibly, some very angry people to report to.

Poor Communication

This is the most obvious headache. Very rarely, if ever, does a colleague or department deliberately engage in bad communication. Rather, it develops over time.

With disparate systems in place, it is easy to develop an echo chamber of sorts. Without outside voices, the agreed upon systems become entrenched, and teams become insulated in their procedures and operations. When the time comes to communicate across departments, vital information slips through the cracks due to a lack of knowledge regarding how others work and operate.

The good news is that all of these problems are fixable. Nothing is too far gone. Though, it is advised that you address these issues as immediately as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to organize once again.

A Company United

The obvious solution to this problem is to bring as many of your operations under one roof as possible. For development teams, that means choosing a solution that allows for both bug and issue tracking. Make your team a unified task tracking front.

Unfortunately, that can be easier said than done. For example, if a Project Manager opts for IT’s preferred operation over Development’s, an array of disagreements can surface, from migrating information to outright stubbornness from employees.

Before choosing any new app or system, consider all your options, and get input directly from each source. Speak to department heads and associates. Find out their pain points. Why do they prefer system A over system B? Get a well-rounded view of what each team needs and how to deliver it to them.

You may be surprised at what you find. In some cases, you will find that departments have the same problems yet see them from different perspectives. In other cases, you may find yourself stuck with departments that are inevitably upset regardless of the ultimate choice. If that time comes, you’ll be thankful you have all the information you do to backup your decision.

If some people or departments take this shift harshly, remind them of the bigger picture. It’s important to sync workflows without sinking anyone in the process. They may not like the change, but they should see the value in going along with it.

Results

Once you bring your bug and issue tracking systems under one roof, you should expect to see the results in short order. Ideally, you’ll have chosen a tool that supports the needs of development, production, and support. If so, inter-department communication should improve while staying on track becomes a bit easier. By lowering the walls between departments, every side gains better entry to one another. This allows for better communication, but also better insight into company operations.

Teams should start to appreciate the extra visibility they have into their colleagues work. Having this insight benefits employees in various ways. For example:

  • If a similar problem continues to occur in department A, someone in department B might have the solution from an outside perspective.
  • When it comes to forecasting work, having the ability to see everyone’s calendar helps everyone lay out their plans more accurately.
  • Additionally, this makes it much easier to take proactive measures when schedules may clash or misalign. If caught early enough, departments can collaborate to determine a mutually beneficial road map.

Final Thoughts

If your team is just starting out, make sure you keep as much of your work as possible under the same roof. If you’re on an established team and need to shift gears, these changes may be tough to implement, but they make the long road ahead must easier for everyone. Regardless your team, they will all be thankful for the migration in time. When executed properly, communication, efficiency, and, hopefully, employee satisfaction will prosper.

 

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Check out Backlog, a project management tool for developers and their teams.

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