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Bug tracking, also known as issue tracking or defect tracking, is the process of finding, documenting and monitoring bugs in a product (or feature). Bug tracking becomes even more critical when you have large software systems, with a rich feature set and lots of user flows.

Why do you need a bug tracking tool?

Errors or flaws in software systems can occur at any stage - development, testing or even after your product is live. Each bug has a lifecycle and typically, these are the stages:

  1. Open/ Logged - When you find and document the bug
  2. Fixed/ To test - Bug has been fixed and needs to be tested
  3. Tested - QA checked and ready for deployment
  4. Closed - Fix deployed
  5. Reopened - When the issue resurfaces even after deploying the fix

Now, any bug, could move through these stages in a matter of hours, days, weeks or even months/ years depending on:

  1. Severity of the issue
  2. Developer and QA bandwidth
  3. Triviality (or complexity) of the bug

Hence, it is super important that you employ good bug tracking software in your product/ team to effectively track, test and close bugs.

Things about bug tracking you should be cognizant of, with respect to remote work

When your team is geographically distributed, you cannot just walk over to your Dev/ QA’s desk and discuss a certain bug. Similarly, the practise of ‘bug day’ also needs to be implemented in a smart way.

Here’s just a couple of pointers for you to consider about bug tracking for your distributed team:

  1. In a remote setting, your source of truth is detailed and accurate documentation. This includes as many details as possible about how to reproduce the bug, fix deployed, specific comments on OS-related fixes etc. Every stakeholder (Dev, QA, manager etc.) should be cognizant of this and practise it religiously.

  2. Organising an effective ‘bug day’ in a remote setting involves much more than just getting all your teammates to agree and keep aside time for the exercise. It is important for you to also make effective use of video communication tools like Skype or Zoom and team chat apps like Slack or Twist and set guidelines around it for the bug day.

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