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Streamline issue & bug tracking with Backlog: a step-by-step guide

How-tosSoftware developmentBacklog
Backlog Staff

Backlog Staff

July 10, 2023

Effectively tracking, prioritizing, and resolving bugs may not be the most exciting task, but it’s vital to making a high-quality software product. What starts as a seemingly innocuous bug can often have ripple effects that degrade system quality and user experience. 

Fixing these bugs can represent a significant time suck for developers. Over 50% of developers spend more than 10 hours a week addressing bugs – time they could spend building exciting new features that help move their business forward. 

An effective issue and bug tracking system won’t eliminate the number of bugs your team has to deal with, but it does enable developers to tackle these bugs far more efficiently. The right tool helps developers access all the information they need to address individual issues, fosters collaboration between developers and teams, and supports teams to better triage and prioritize different issues. 

All told, the right bug tracking system can save software teams countless hours each week while also contributing to increased quality and customer satisfaction. An investment in a highly-effective bug tracking software is clearly an important one, but setting up these tools can often be a daunting task. 

We’ll walk you through building and using your own issue and bug tracking platform in Backlog: a leading bug tracking tool

Backlog is used by more than 18,000 teams worldwide and helps teams spend less time managing their workflows and more time accomplishing their tasks. The platform is designed with the needs of developers in mind, with a wide range of development and bug tracking features that streamline bug tracking and resolution workflows.

How to set up your project and team in Backlog

Effectively managing the workflows that your development team relies on to resolve bugs can be a complicated process. You might have several team members working remotely, each with different areas of expertise and workloads. Things get complex quickly if you’re trying to manage that process over emails and spreadsheets

A clear, consistent structure that allocates bugs to developers based on their availability and skills ensures that bugs are efficiently addressed. 

Backlog makes it easy for engineering managers and software developers to create the systems and frameworks they need to squash their bugs effectively. Keep reading as we walk you through setting up an issue and bug tracking system in Backlog. Why not sign up for a free Backlog plan and follow along?

Setting up your Backlog account

Getting started with Backlog is simple. Thanks to Backlog’s intuitive interface, most users have their projects up and running in just a few minutes. In Backlog, each workflow is organized in a project. 

To create a project for issue and bug tracking, click the + icon on your Backlog dashboard. Give your project a name, like “Q2 Bug Tracking,” and a project key: a short, unique identifier for the project, like “Q2BUG”. 

Next, it’s time to create tasks for the different bugs you’d like your team to tackle. In Backlog, a task is called an Issue. Issues can be added by selecting the Add Issue icon, and users can add all relevant information that team members need to be able to resolve the bug, including a task description, file attachments, due dates, assignees, and more.

Add the rest of your team to your Backlog project. Just select Project Settings, then Members, and then tag colleagues to invite them to the project. If it’s their first time using Backlog, the platform automatically sends them a sign-up email. 

It’s easy to customize your project settings in Backlog. You can create custom categories, priorities, statuses, and resolutions for each project. To do so, navigate to Project Settings and customize any categories you wish to change. 

For example, let’s look at changing the statuses that users can apply to a project. There are four default statuses in Backlog: Open, In Progress, Resolved, and Closed. If you’d like, you can add new statuses, such as “Blocked” or “Needs Review.” You can give each new status its own name and color, then click Add Status to save your changes. 

How to create and manage issues and bugs in Backlog

Bugs are an unavoidable part of software development. Every team has to deal with them; some have a far better process than others. Using Backlog not only empowers your team to do their best work but also creates a central archive of all the bugs your team has ever tackled – an invaluable reference point. 

Backlog makes creating tasks for new bugs easy, whether adding them manually or automatically. In the previous section, we explored how users can use the Add Issue feature to manually create tasks for each new bug and assign them to team members. By saving these issues as an Issue Template, developers can significantly reduce the time they need to create tasks in Backlog. 

To create an Issue Template, navigate to Project Settings, then click Issue Type. Here, you can create an Issue Template that your team can use to track bugs. The detail section of the Issue Template should use markdown formatting rules, making it easy for team members to add the relevant details when creating a new bug report. 

These templates make it easy for development teams to ensure consistency in how they track and address bugs but still require each bug to be manually created. Fortunately, Backlog can also automate the issue creation process. 

Teams can automatically generate Backlog issues from their support emails by integrating Backlog with their customer support email inbox. To get started, create a unique project solely for this purpose, and give it a name like “Automated Support.” Next, navigate to the Project Settings tab and select Add Issues via Email. Enter the email address you’d like to use. 

Once your issues begin to populate, it’s important that team leads can view the progress of their team’s bug requests. Backlog offers teams a variety of ways to do this, from Gantt charts that display progress against a timeline to Kanban boards that show the status of different bugs on a simple visual display. 

How to collaborate and communicate with your team and stakeholders in Backlog

Working together as a team to resolve bugs was challenging enough when everyone was in the office. Now that many development teams are remote first, it’s more complicated than ever. Resolving complex technical issues might require input from several different teams. Without the right collaboration tool, it’s easy for bugs to fall through the cracks. 

Backlog comes with a range of powerful collaboration tools that make it easy for teams to work closely together, regardless of where their team members are based. 

Every bug is viewable by all team members subscribed to a project. Team members can comment on issues, tagging other users to notify them that their input is needed. 

For example, a junior developer might ask a senior developer to review their work before pushing it to production. After completing their work, they can simply re-assign the issue to their senior developer and add a comment explaining the steps they took to address the bug. 

When the senior developer gets this notification, they can view their colleague’s Git branch directly in Backlog, checking the pull requests, merges, and builds their team member made. Once satisfied with the changes, they can comment on the task and confirm that the bug fix can be pushed to production.

Team members can have in-line discussions with their colleagues before integrating code into a live project. With built-in Git and SVN repositories for every project, it’s easy for teams to keep track of their code, monitor commits, and compare changes. Teams can also create project wikis that house resources developers need to address bugs successfully.  

Backlog integrates with a wide variety of software platforms that development teams both work in and communicate on. Some of Backlog’s most widely used integrations include:

  • Slack: users can directly create Issues from Slack and receive status updates on bugs. 
  • Microsoft Teams: create issues directly from Teams and receive status updates. 
  • LambdaTest: detect bugs and create Backlog issues directly from LambdaTest.
  • Jenkins: continuously integrate new code by connecting Backlog to Jenkins. 
  • Webhooks: get updates on bug tracking activity in Backlog in other third-party tools by adding webhooks to your Backlog account.

View a complete list of Backlog integrations here

How to monitor and improve your issue and bug tracking performance in Backlog

To improve performance across your team, embrace a data-driven approach to issue and bug tracking that helps inform you where your team can improve. By harnessing the data in their systems, development teams can identify bottlenecks, learn how to prioritize tasks more effectively, and optimize workflows. 

Backlog comes with a range of reporting and analytics tools that help development teams identify opportunities to streamline their workflows. Users can sign up to receive daily and weekly reports via email. Daily reports flag bugs due to be fixed by that day, while weekly reports provide an overview of a user’s activity over the previous week. 

Project administrators can access an overview of each team member’s Backlog activity. First, navigate to the Members tab, then select the team member whose activity you’d like to view. You’ll see a summary of your team member’s comments, issue updates, pull requests, and more. 

There is also a range of powerful visual tools for Backlog users to stay up-to-date on the progress of their projects. For bug tracking, Gantt charts are particularly valuable, enabling team members to understand who is responsible for a bug and when it will be resolved in a simple visual display. 

After switching to Backlog, development teams should also consider alternative ways to measure whether their performance has improved. Options may include sending a post-fix survey to users who submitted bugs and asking them to review both the fix and the responsiveness of your team in addressing the issue. 

Backlog: a complete issue and bug tracking tool

Investing in an issue and bug tracking tool is an important step for all software development teams. It’s a move that can bring about all kinds of improvements to how your team works, eliminating issues stemming from a lack of communication and creating a central hub where work happens. 

Tools like Backlog also serve as a living repository of every bug your team has ever tracked, helping inform your approach when new issues arise. Backlog’s collaboration tools foster better working relationships, enabling teams to seamlessly track their bugs from end to end. 

Backlog is far more than a bug tracking tool, serving as a comprehensive project management system that can be used for all aspects of software development, from code management through product launches. Regardless of your use case, Backlog helps your team spend more time doing work and less time managing work. 

More than 18,000 companies around the world are already using Backlog to streamline issue and bug tracking, including Droisys, an international software development firm with over 300 team members worldwide. Shashi Raina, Director of PMO at Droisys, explains his firm’s experience with Backlog:

“Backlog makes it simpler for our developers to keep track of bugs. They can easily find, record, and track issues while having a clearer understanding of their next priorities. Backlog has simplified our work process and helps us operate and communicate effortlessly within the company across different time zones.” 

Ready to embrace a smoother issue and bug tracking process with Backlog? Schedule a demo or sign up for a free Backlog account to get started – we bet you won’t look back! 



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