Ew, bugs. You’re probably familiar with them. Digitally, bugs can be any defect in design, specification, code or requirement that causes issues and stops things from running properly. But you might be less familiar with bug tracking and how it can really simplify your life.
Bug tracking tools help you make sure that detected bugs are fixed. They identify and remove flaws in the product by assigning the work needed to different team members. These systems then track problems and help team leads properly analyze the actions needed to be taken by the appropriate team member to squash a bug.
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Defect management tools vs. code review tools
Now that you know what the goals of bug tracking tools are, you might wonder how defect management tools or code review tools differ:
- Defect management tools are often used interchangeably with bug tracking tools. Lots of folks would use the terms “bugs” and “defects” interchangeably. However, when you’re talking about Agile teams, they’re a bit different. So in the framework of a sprint, a defect is an issue with the development code, and a bug can be defined as a problem within the production code. So if you are working within the Agile framework, make sure you’re looking for tools to meet both these capabilities and align with your processes.
- A code review tool is different than a bug tracking tool because it is a human checking versus software checking. Code review or peer review is the act of a team looking at another’s code for errors. This is a great practice for discovering bugs upfront. Codementor, for example, offers on-demand code review services with vetted mentors. With over 12,000 senior developers across all tech stacks, the platform’s built-in tools and NDA option make it easy for your team to reduce technical debt and speed up development. Then, bug tracking tools can take over to record, manage, track and assign team members to fix them.
Benefits of bug tracking software
This might sound obvious, but using bug tracking tools will create better and more efficient products. You’ll have fewer breakdowns and improve customer satisfaction the more you can identify and fix bugs before they escalate and annoy any of your real-world users.
Often, each team member is so focused on their area of a project that they lose sight of the end goal. Test management tools connect each team member to one another and send alerts or notifications when problems arise. These tools organize the team and make sure the proper person is assigned to fix the correct bugs. The result is a more cohesive and productive team.
Improved return on your investment
In situations like complex or new product rollouts, where it’s common to have several major bugs, it’s hard to prioritize what to fix first. Bug tracking tools act as a project manager organizing what to focus on and in what order. This will help reveal patterns, like repetitive bugs, and make the team more productive while also reducing overall development costs.
With bug tracking tools, it’s easy to spot patterns or trends because they keep an automatic record of past issues. Plus, managers can easily see how long it took to fix a particular problem, which team member was assigned to each task, and the end result. This record helps to change code in future testing phases to save time and money.
10 best bug tracking tools
The Pareto Principle states that 80% of results come from only 20% percent of action. If you put this in the perspective of bug tracking, then 20 of the bugs you locate and solve will lead to 80% stronger production.
Now that you know some of the advantages for implementing a bug tracker, which one is right for your organization? Depending on how much sophistication you’re looking for, there are several paid options that are leaders in the industry. If you’re new to the concept, or have a very small team, then a free options might be better for you. Here is a list of 10 best bug tracking tools.
1. Hubstaff Tasks
Hubstaff Tasks is an Agile tool that transforms bug tracking from a convoluted mess of text logs to an organized and streamlined workflow. You can create task cards in which you can add bug descriptions, to-do lists, and labels. Hubstaff Tasks will automatically notify everyone involved in the task of any progress. You can also mention team members in comments or add them to the task’s followers to keep them in the loop.
Hubstaff Tasks is unique from other bug tracking tools because of its Agile sprints, custom workflows, and automated Standups. Its Sprints feature lets you view all your assigned bug tracking tasks from different projects, so you never miss anything. Custom workflows allow you to automatically set assignees to tasks in particular stages of the project so bugs are continuously addressed without unnecessary stops. Automated Standups make it immediate and easy for you to communicate with your team and stay on top of exactly who has done what. You can also attach documentation, screenshots, and videos to tasks for on-the-spot access to references.
Pricing: Hubstaff Tasks has a free plan that comes with basic features. Its Premium plan, which includes unlimited projects and users, starts at $4/user/month.
You might think of Trello as a project management tool, but it can be easily transitioned into a bug tracking tool. Simply create a new board and cards labeled to do, doing, needs testing and done. Each pending bug becomes its own card. You can easily assign a point person to each bug and attach additional documentation like videos, links or photos. This is a simple solution and easy enough to incorporate even for small operations.
Pricing: Trello has a limited free plan, while it has two paid plans starting at $9.99/user/month.
In 2003, Jira was built specifically to track and manage bugs in software development. Some of the key features include capturing bugs anywhere in software projects using Jira Software. Once a bug is detected, you can create an issue and add all relevant details like descriptions, severity level, screenshots, version and more. Issues can include things like software bugs, a project task, to a leave request form. Plus, you can create custom workflows for each separate issue to further organize the process.
Pricing: Jira’s free plan allows for up to 10 users. It has two paid plans starting at $7/user/month.
Asana is another project management tool that can be a great bug tracking tool. They offer a bug tracking template that you can easily download to get started or you can import an existing bug tracking template of your own. You can also track bugs around specific features, products or pages to further organize the process. You can also have customers submit bugs directly by exporting the bug tracking link even if they don’t use Asana.
Pricing: Asana’s free plan has enough features for solo users. For bigger teams, its paid plans start at $10.99/user/month.
Rally bug tracking is a plugin that lets you create, read, update and query defects and also allows you to link to a new report. It can also test and detect tracking applications which allow team members to synchronize the testing and QA progress made during iterations. Rally can be linked with other reports and integrated with outside programs as well.
Pricing: For information about Rally’s pricing plans, get in touch with their sales team.
Trac bug tracking is an enhanced Wiki and issue tracking system for software projects. It’s a great system for developers to record, keep track and mark bugs to fix. This open source cloud-based system is written in the Python programming language. Bugs are recorded on tickets that can be searched and filtered by project.
Pricing: While Trac isn’t as user-friendly as most of the popular tools in the market, it comes with just enough features completely free.
7. Micro Focus ALM
Micro Focus ALM is an application management system to help developers define, build, test and bring applications to market. It connects the entire software development life cycle (SDLC). This plug-in integrates with other HP products like UFT and Load Runner. Some of the other features include tracking and reporting and detailed project analysis for a team.
Pricing: Micro Focus ALM doesn’t have a free plan. You’ll need to contact their sales team for pricing information.
Bugzilla is an open source bug tracking tool that gives development and testing teams a system to track bug fixes and code changes in software development, application development and deployment. Users can streamline communication between team members regarding bugs to be fixed and record multiple projects at one time.
Pricing: Bugzilla is completely free to use.
MantisBT is an open source issue tracking system that gives a balance between ease of use and capabilities. Some of the key features include email notifications to keep your team informed, control which users see which projects and customizable workflows. MantisBT is built on PHP (hypertext preprocessor) and is compatible with MySQL and PostgreSQL databases. Although it is a bug tracker, it can also be used to manage larger software development projects.
Pricing: Mantis has a free plan, and its paid plans start at $4.95/month/user.
Redmine is a flexible project management web application written using the Ruby on Rails framework. Plus, it’s an open-source issue tracking system that integrates with SCM (Source Code Management systems) too. One of the key features is their issue tracking that allows you to create an issue for a project and assign an owner.. Even though it is not a bug tracking tool on its own, it still lets you work with issues, where issues can be features, tasks, bugs/defects, etc. Redmine is a web application that works across many platforms and many suggest using available plug-ins to simplify the process.
Pricing: Redmine is free to use.
How will you implement bug tracking best practices?
We’ve talked through the benefits and gave you some of the best bug tracking tools to explore. In order to implement bug tracking properly within your organization, it’s important to look at your software needs. Weigh these against the different bug tracking options available today. Then, implement bug tracking best practices for your development team.
As your software and company scale up, you’ll want a bug tracking tool that can take on more users, expand the project base, include more features and become more intricate as needed. By taking this step, you’ll ensure more streamlined software rollouts and a better organized development team.