Email != defect tracker

I suppose one could expect that having a buglist or a defect tracking system should already be pretty standard in a software project. But it’s funny how it’s the basics that gets forgotten or foregone sometimes.

Well, we did have Quality Center set up, but one of the concerns was that the devs weren’t paying attention to it and testers weren’t logging into it. It was a chicken-and-egg thing. Email got inundated with issues, follow-ups and such which kinda sucked since I always got copied into issue email. Eventually, our PM (he got cc’d too) put his foot down and we’ve made the shift back into QC with me goading the testers to use our defect tracker as intended, and with someone from the dev team monitoring the defects with respect to dev assignments. Thankfully, the team has been quite cooperative.

This has also pushed me into tinkering a bit with the reporting capabilities of QC. There are built-in reports that I found to be of use, and I’ve also created my own queries for generating my own reports on defects and test case status.

So far, it’s been working out. With the shift to QC, our email is no longer as abused or misused for defect tracking. We can now misuse it for something else (jk). One major advantage is that we can now, if needed and as needed, easily extract defect data. Instead of having to dig through old email, getting the list of open issues across the many applications that we’re handling at a time is now quite easy. Having all bugs logged into QC also allows for easier detection of red flags e.g., if several testers are reporting similar issues at the same time it’s possible that there’s already a global issue; or if devs are deferring a significant number of defects as non-issues, that could be a red flag on the quality of defect reporting, or that valid issues are getting dismissed.

The lesson learned is simple: use things as intended. Email for comms and the defect tracker for defect tracking. They’re there specifically for those purposes so use them accordingly. And, this is a team thing, so even if the testers were so disciplined in logging the defects, it won’t be as efficient if the devs aren’t using the tool as well. Work to have an alignment within your team so that the available tools can be optimized.

One thought on “Email != defect tracker

  1. Pingback: Staying afloat in email « testkeis

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