No matter whether you work on a large or small team, having project management software as part of your workflow is going to make tracking and finishing projects easier. From bug tracking and reporting to measuring progress according to the product roadmap, using a tool that works for your team is crucial. Different teams encounter different problem scenarios at different times, but nearly all of us have encountered some sort of issue with communication related to our project management at some point.
According to the Jira blog, the top 5 challenges that teams face with agile project management are:
We’ve bolded two key areas of focus that small tweaks and improvements in process end up having huge results. Luckily, a project management software like Jira, Basecamp or Notion can double your productivity through alignment, task management and overall communication. Tech leaders like Kickstarter use Trello, and teams from Netflix use Confluence to add even more clarity to their projects.
In this post, we’ll discuss how using project management software can help your team through the lenses of aligning teams and visually tracking issues.
If you’re dealing with any of the following issues with your development team, you would benefit from a project management tool:
After choosing the correct project management software for your team, it’s time to get your internal processes primed for efficiency. Most teams are already familiar with the agile project management methodology, so we’ll assume you are already using this process in some capacity, but if you need a guide, this introduction to agile from Monday.com is very helpful. We’ll also assume your team has key roles such as a product owner (likely you), software developers, designers and a QA engineer (or two!).
We’ll use the example of bug reporting with a kanban tool in order to explain this easily.
Without a project management tool, the QA engineer might keep a record of all bugs in an Excel doc, a Google sheet or a Word doc with screenshots. In the worst of cases, the QA team might just email every single bug to the product owner or the developer working on the part of the project, which automatically damns the entire team into email hell. Using a project management tool removes all of those messy methods and could look a bit more like this (using Jira as an example):
Tracking your project using project management software occurs in two ways:
From a macro level, a project management software can make it so much easier for the entire team (and additional stakeholders) to see the overall progress of the project and be aware of any issues that could potentially disrupt meeting the deadline for the project.
Here’s a example image of what a Gantt chart roadmap looks like in Jira:
Using the project roadmap allows teams to divide their work into “epics” and assign timelines for each of those portions of the overall project. In agile methodology (as opposed to waterfall methodology), epics can be worked on simultaneously so that no time is wasted waiting for another part of the project can be completed before moving on. In the example above, a developer may be working on the mobile app at the same time another developer is working on the credit card gateway integration. In a perfect world, this team could be getting real-time feedback as they go by bringing the QA team in as early as possible to start reporting bugs!
Issues (or stories) go under each epic and explain each step of the development that will occur under the epic. Here is an example of this using our BugCatcher board, which features different issue types to help us further detail each issue (story, task and bug).
Your entire team has visibility into the project management tool, so they can actively see any changes to this issues on the team’s kanban board. Additionally, you can add alerts to yourself for various scenarios, such as when an issue is assigned to you.
Better yet, integrate these types of changes into another tool, such as Slack, to keep an even better flow of communication within the whole team. At BugCatcher, we have a separate channel just for any changes to our bug tracking tool so we have a quick record of any changes we’ve made. That saves our inboxes from getting clogged when we make small changes that don’t necessarily need to be discussed as part of the product development, but still need to get done.
Just like any process, the real key is making sure that your whole team agrees to the process and remains dedicated to using it. We’ve found throughout our careers that various project management tools have been lifesavers, and this is especially true for our most complex projects.
Do you have a favorite project management tool? Or a tip for bettering communication within your team? Tweet us at @bugcatcher.io!
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