What Are the Best Tips for Open Source Issue Tracking?

When choosing open source issue tracking software look for community support. Consider your goals for the software, and any constraints you may have in implementing and using it. You may wish to evaluate your project development team and its needs, along with the organizations needs. As a part of the analysis, include the technology you have available and your ability to add new technology to support the issue tracking software.

A key tip is to look for software that has a strong development and support community. Open source applications are supported by volunteers. Choosing an open source issue tracker that has vibrant community increases the chances the product will be maintained.

The size and number development projects and the location of project team members may influence your decision. If your current development efforts are small, but you expect they will grow, you’ll want open source issue tracking software that is scalable to meet your future needs. Organizations who have team members in different countries may find looking for issue trackers that have localization is a key tip.

For some organizations, the ability to customize the issue tracker may be important. If you feel you may want to customize, a tip is to check the effect of upgrading in the future. You may want to reduce reworking customizations when possible.
Another tip is to review the reporting functionality of the issue tracking software. Ideally, the software will have standard reports you find useful. If not, verify that it is easy to create custom reports.

The workflow features will be critical in helping you gain the most benefit from your open source issue tracking software. One tip is to flowchart your proposed workflow, and look for issue tracking software that can accommodate your process. Time tracking features can also aid in project management.

Depending on your organization and the types of projects you are working on, robust security may be essential. Smaller, close-knit development shops that work on nonessential projects may find simple security is sufficient. Larger shops that work on critical projects will likely have strict security requirements. It is often important to have role-based security, which means allowing certain roles to execute certain tasks. For an example, a business user may be allowed to add an issue, but only quality analyst is allowed to resolve the issue.
Search functionality will quickly become important in managing even smaller, less complex projects. A tip is to look for issue trackers that a variety of search methods. It can be frustrating to users to spend excessive time searching for issues because of inadequate search functionality.

Review the technology requirements of the open source issue tracking software. If you choose software that needs different servers or database engines than you have, ensure that your organization is willing to invest in updating these. These may be open source tools as well, but they may take time to install and configure. A final tip is to consider whether your issue tracker needs to integrate with others systems.