Design and manufacturing projects are often complex, and involve many distributed stakeholders, which can make tracking a team’s progress difficult and time-consuming. Teams that use email, spreadsheets and paper to keep track of progress and issues often waste valuable time simply searching for the information they need. Disconnected open issues lists, email threads, and meeting minutes mean team members are often unaware of open tasks and priorities, and managers struggle to understand project status.
In order to unlock valuable insights that are often lost across emails, spreadsheets, and notebooks, many teams turn to cloud-based environments that consolidate this information and streamline the development process. A few examples are Jira, Asana and CoLab (formerly Gradient).
So how does an issue-tracking software help?
- One shared central location: all your CAD files, bills of materials, and supporting information is in one place, so you no longer have to search through repositories to find the information you need.
- Accessibility: a simple, intuitive interface where an entire project team and external collaborators can discuss issues, makes it easy to get responses, and resolve issues quickly.
- Prioritization: with a long list of open issues, it can be challenging to understand where to begin. By leveraging an issue tracking software, each open issue gets assigned a priority and due date, so you can easily filter by importance and urgency.
- Accountability: upon creating an issue, the creator is prompted to assign the task to the responsible team member. This ensures that each issue has an assignee, and everyone knows what tasks they're responsible for.
- Permissions: if you’re working with clients or external organizations, you can change the permission settings easily for their viewing, so you don’t have to duplicate files and make adjustments in order to share with other stakeholders.
- Workflow and notifications: everyone can see where they are in the project so they are always up-to-date on status, and relevant people are notified when the process involves them.
- Records: by implementing an issue tracking tool in your design process, users can review a comprehensive record of changes that occurred throughout the project, so it’s simply to understand when and why decisions were made.
- Reports: an effective issue-tracking software also generates issue reports so you can spend time working on the issue rather than writing about it.
Issue-tracking software is an effective way to streamline issue management on design and manufacturing project. If you find you’re spending too much time managing the work rather than working, automating your progress monitoring and issue tracking processes may be a good idea.
What kind of systems or software applications do you use to track your issues? Do you find it effective, and if not, why? We’d love to know.
References: getdonedone, sifterapp, and usersnap