How to set up an issue management system for your company

Can you relate to the sinking feeling that creeps up when you miss a deadline? Maybe an important issue fell through the cracks. Maybe you have too many tasks to keep track of. When you don’t have an issue tracking systems in place, you are bound to make mistakes on the job. We get it!

Before we built DoneDone in 2009 as a solution to this problem, we struggled to find an easy and consistent way to handle issue tracking. Read on and find out the main factors that contribute to haphazard task management. We’ll show you how to remedy each one of them by setting up issue management software.

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Why you need an issue management system

Derek Sivers, the founder of CDBaby, believes that ideas are worth nothing unless executed well. In fact, to him, ideas are just a multiplier of execution.

In order to execute well, you need a system for tracking tasks and task management.

When you don’t have an issue tracking software in place, chances are that little things fall through the cracks. Plus, there is no simple way to maintain accountability, communicate with team members and oversee task management in general.

Here are three reasons why an issue management process will help your team execute well.

Reason #1: Things must get done.

One thing that we can all agree on is that stuff has to get done in order for a company to be successful.

A few years ago, someone told me the origins of the saying, “Fast is the new big.” The days of tycoon business models like that of Carnegie, Ford, and IBM – who could stay ahead by sheer power – were threatened by new companies who were simply faster at execution.

Consider Google’s rapid development of new products or Amazon’s speed of acquiring valuable assets. Speed is also one of the few areas that a smaller business can have an advantage over its larger competitors.

If you want to be faster, it is absolutely necessary to have a system for issue tracking and assigning tasks. When you don’t, little things like forgotten tasks or unclear assignments will eat up your productivity.

Reason #2: Accountability.

Issue tracking software provides a single location to track all the issues and tasks that your company needs to resolve. They’re helpful for staying organized, but they’re also great for adding a layer of accountability.

Let’s be honest. Sometimes tasks fall through the cracks. You may get distracted by a big shiny project and miss a deadline on a smaller project. You may go on a vacation for a few days and return in a state of confusion, forgetting commitments you had made beforehand.

Sometimes when teams work together, two people end up doing double work on the same issue while assuming a neglected issue is being looked after by another party.

Issue tracking systems will give you and your team one central location to access all issues, tasks, and projects. No issue is overlooked. Everyone knows who is taking care of what. And, most importantly, if people forget, it’s the issue tracking system that will hold them accountable.

Reason #3: Timeliness.

A few months ago, the screen on my 55” smart TV started bugging out. It was still under warranty, so I called the service center for a repair or replacement. “Yes sir, it will be done this week.”

One week passed. Nobody came. I called again but had the same problem. I asked to escalate the issue to management. They also delayed. I tweeted about the problem. They tweeted back and said it would be done. It wasn’t done.

Finally, I networked my way into finding the personal email address of the national CEO. I outlined my grievances, told him that his company didn’t have proper issue tracking systems in place, and pleaded with him to resolve the issue for the sake of his own reputation. Fourteen hours later, there were 2 company service technicians installing a brand new 55” Smart TV on my wall.

When a customer contacts you with an issue that they’re facing, it’s your responsibility as a trustworthy business to respond to them and try to fix the issue in a timely manner. Imagine how much time the customer wasted trying to get this fixed. Better yet, imagine how much extra money it cost the TV company to address this issue in such an inefficient way. They lost time and material costs, but they also lost a repeat customer.

This is why an issue tracking system is such a good investment.

The basic components of issue management systems

Issue management software serves as a central hub where all employees can see the activities that they need to get done. In its raw form, it provides a remedy to the three problems mentioned in the previous section:

  • Maintains a list of issues to resolve
  • Addresses when each issue should be resolved
  • Clearly shows who is responsible to resolve an issue.
Maintaining a task list

How to maintain a list of tasks in an issue management system

Depending on your workflow and the types of issues you want to track, maintaining a list of new issues may be a manual process, an automated process, or a hybrid process.

In order to keep track of tasks, many issue management systems allow you to create new issues manually. Other systems allow you to automatically import tasks from other software, such as your email inbox or a calendar program. Still, others allow you to manually create some tasks while automatically importing other tasks. It all depends on the system and how it fits with your company’s workflows.

Manual issue tracking

Most companies will start out with manual issue tracking and continue tracking issues and tasks this way forever. That’s perfectly fine! Here are some examples of the types of issues that an employee would manually add to the issue tracking system:

  • Complete the onboarding process with our new hire John
  • Fix the bug during profile photo upload process in app version 10.2
  • Design the June newsletter
  • Respond to customer 10341 regarding cancellation and refund

In all of these instances, a task or issue was created from an idea and manually added to the issue tracking system by the employee or manager who came up with the idea.

Automated issue tracking

A company that is using issue management software exclusively for customer support may be able to fully automate the issue tracking process. A popular automated workflow looks like this:

  • A customer fills out a support request form on your company website
  • The website form forwards the request details directly to your management tool
  • The issue gets logged and assigned to an employee for resolution
  • The employee resolves the issue and the customer receives a confirmation email

Now that these issues are automatically logged, employees can focus their entire time on resolving the issues.

Hybrid issue tracking

A hybrid issue tracking method lets you automate incoming customer support requests while allowing some employees and managers to manually enter other tasks that need to be completed.This is an excellent solution for the vast majority of companies.

Choose DoneDone for issue management and bug tracking

Choosing an issue management software

There are a number of issue management apps that you can choose from. Some are clear and simple to use, like DoneDone.

Others like Jira and Manuscript are more complex and have dozens of extra features.

For a company like ours, simple and “less” almost always beats complex and “more”.

Even if a company eventually needs a more complex system, we’ve found it’s much easier to start simple and find what’s lacking than to start with an overly complex system and try to take things away.

Key features that you must have

These are the most important make-or-break features that should be a part of whatever issue management software you choose:

A crystal-clear workflow

Issue tracking software can be a life-saver for your company, but only if it has a crystal-clear workflow. DoneDone's focus on simplicity is what makes it an excellent issue management software for small and mid-size companies.

With its simple and easy-to-use interface and its time tested bug tracking workflow, you can quickly add new tasks and track their progress from detection through resolution.

‍Priority and accountability

Issue tracking software is an essential tool for small teams because it helps to manage priority and accountability. In order for a small team to be successful, it is important that tasks are completed in a timely manner and that everyone is aware of who is responsible for what and which issues should be prioritized above others.

Issue tracking software can help to ensure that both of these things happen.

Issue tracking software allows you to create tasks and assign them to specific people. This ensures that everyone on the team knows who is responsible for completing a task and that it is given a high priority. Additionally, the software can track the progress of each task so that you can be sure that it is being worked on and completed in a timely manner.

‍User permission levels

When it comes to issue management software, user permission levels are key. They allow you to control who can access which features and which tasks they can see and work on. This is important because it ensures that account owners, admins, and normal users have the appropriate permissions and access to the data they need in order to do their job.

For example, account owners need access to all of the data in order to manage the entire system and control the subscription plan and billing information.

Admins need access to all of the data in order to manage other team members, as well as create and manage new projects.

And finally, normal users only need access to the tasks that they are assigned and the data that is relevant to them. User permission levels help to ensure that this happens.

‍Flexible views

Being able to view groups of issues in common formats, such as lists and kanban boards, is important because it allows employees to quickly get an overview of the tasks that need to be completed. This is especially important for small companies that have a limited amount of time and resources.

Lists allow you to see all of the tasks that need to be completed in a particular area or project. This can be helpful for getting a quick overview of all of the tasks that need to be done and determining which ones are the highest priority. Additionally, lists can be sorted and filtered so that you can find the task that you need quickly and easily.

Kanban boards help teams manage issues in a more visual fashion by moving issue cards from one status column to the next, progressing through the workflow.

This can be helpful for determining which tasks need to be completed first and for getting a quick overview of the progress that has been made on a particular issue.

Additionally, kanban boards can be customized so that they meet the specific needs of your team.

‍Real-time updates

When it comes to managing issues, it is important that your team is able to see the status of issues in real-time across various channels like in-app, email and Slack.

This allows them to quickly get an overview of the tasks that need to be completed and ensures that everyone is on the same page.

Additionally, real-time updates help to keep the entire team accountable. This is because employees can see which tasks are being worked on and which ones are still waiting to be completed. This helps to ensure that tasks are completed in a timely manner and that everyone is doing their part.

‍Automated email-to-issue features

Shared inbox features are important because they allow support teams to track emails and tasks in one place.

Email-to-ticketing ensures that all of the information related to a particular email is stored in one place as a ticket in your issue tracking software. This makes it easier for support teams to find and track emails, as well as to respond to them in a timely manner.

Additionally, shared inbox features help to keep the keep your product and support teams connected. This is because employees in both teams can see which emails are being worked on and which ones are still waiting to be responded to.

This helps to ensure that emails are responded to in a timely manner and that both teams are involved as needed, keeping your customers happy as their issues are  resolved holistically by the entire team.

‍Mobile friendly

Having a mobile-friendly issue tracking system is important because it allows employees to access the system from anywhere at any time.

This is helpful because it enables employees to stay on top of tasks no matter where they are.

Additionally, mobile-friendly issue tracking systems do not require any software to be installed, which makes them easy to use.

This is important because it means that employees can use the system regardless of their technical abilities or knowledge.

Finally, mobile-friendly issue tracking systems can be accessed from any device, which makes them versatile and convenient.

‍Simple reporting

Having simple reporting features in your issue management software is important because it ensures that employees are able to understand and use the reports.

This is important because it allows employees to track the progress of projects and tasks, as well as identify any potential problems, by visualizing information in simple charts.

Additionally, simple reporting features make it easy to generate reports, which can be helpful for presenting information to stakeholders.

Complex reporting features, on the other hand, can be difficult to use and understand. This can lead to employees not being able to track the progress of projects or identify any potential problems.

Overall, simple reporting features are easier to use and understand.

Issue management with DoneDone

We created our own simple project management software that ultimately became DoneDone to help us with our own internal issue management.

At that time, we also didn’t have an adequate solution to keep track of bugs, issues, and requests from customers.

Now, DoneDone is used in over 100 countries around the world by companies of all sizes. We decided from the beginning that we would keep DoneDone simple, and that has paid off. In the DoneDone workflow, you follow these easy steps:

  1. Create an issue in the app
  2. Write a title and description for the issue
  3. Assign an employee to fix the issue
  4. If desired, assign a second employee or manager to verify that the issue has been fixed
  5. Assign a due date for completion
  6. Assign a priority level for the issue
  7. Assign any other team members who should be copied on the progress of the issue

Once the issue is submitted to the issue tracking system, you and your team can monitor and update the progress.

Maintaining a successful issue management system

Software can only help a team so much. Ultimately, if even one person hasn’t bought into it, software becomes less effective and is just more added noise.

If you’ve just started introducing a tool like DoneDone to your team, here are two rules we recommend starting with.On your first DoneDone project…

  • Agree that if an issue isn’t in DoneDone, it doesn’t exist. While it sounds harsh, it’ll force anyone who’s accustomed to sending tickets through by phone, Slack, or post-it notes to row with the rest of your team members. After a while, your team won’t need this rule anymore---centralizing issues in one place benefits both the issue creators and the issue fixers.
  • Assign one person on your team to have the responsibility of holding the rest of the team accountable. This is frequently a project manager or team lead.   This person should remind people to track all of their work in the application and take a look at how issues are progressing. This person can also solicit feedback from the team on what’s working and what can be better. You might find that issues need more definition or people are assigning everything as “critical”. Learn about your team’s etiquette and adjust accordingly.

Get DoneDone

If you're looking for a simple, effective issue management system, DoneDone is the perfect choice. With our easy-to-use issue tracking features and simple workflow, you and your team can track the progress of projects and identify any potential problems.

Sign up for a free trial today!

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