Use a bug tracking system. Only one.

Make it available to everyone on your team. Write clear, concise instructions on how to file a bug report. Specify what constitutes a good or a bad bug report. Make this part of your onboarding for every single person joining your team. Bug reporting is not only an engineering task. As your sales, customer support, and marketing teams grow, make good bug reporting a part of the daily routine for everyone at your company.

Bug tracking is about making software and operations issues visible across your organization; collecting the impacts of system defects and the action items to resolve them all in one place. Avoid multiple bug tracking systems for different engineers, teams, or products. In some startups each engineer uses a separate system to track bugs. Don’t do this.

Make it easy to report bugs by enabling reporting for each person on your team: anytime, anywhere. Don’t hide the login behind a VPN. Enable in app reporting for mobile apps to reduce friction and increase the quality of reports. Don’t leave out the option to report from a computer. Make it easy for your team to copy and paste text from emails, forum comments, tweets, etcetera, into their bug reports.

With all this reporting going on make sure it’s easy for the engineering team to merge duplicate reports, assign them to the proper team member and save low priority bugs for later. Systems without these basic features start to create a nightmare of disorganization for the team.

Bug tracking is important; it should also be fun. Offer company wide prizes for, “best bug report,” “least reproducible bug,” and, “most reports filed.” Keep people engaged and make reporting bugs part of your company culture.

Let’s review:

1) Use only one bug tracking system

2) Give access to everyone on the team (engineer & non-engineer)

3) Write instructions for good and bad bug reports; make sure they are read

4) Include bug tracking as part of your employee onboarding

5) Make bugs easy to report from mobile and web

6) Support your engineers by making bug reports easy to manage

7) Create a company culture that values bug reporting and makes it fun