Michele Rigney finds that Seapine's TestTrack Pro has added value to her company's products by providing a centralized system that captures the wants and needs of clients. Issues are tracked from initial report through resolution and release, and all the steps along the way are documented.
Several years ago my company, the SSI Group, Inc., was looking for a system to track the development of our Managed Care and Contract Management Systems, and to manage help desk/technical support issues for the Managed Care division. Our company's goal—to create, market, and implement efficiency tools designed to be run by fewer people—set a high standard for our choice of a bug tracking tool. After some research, we made a selection and in 1999 installed Seapine Software's TestTrack product line. Since then, TestTrack Pro—the application we currently use—has helped us better address the needs of our clients, and to make enhancements to products in a more efficient and effective manner.
We’ve found TestTrack Pro ( www.seapine.com) to be a flexible system that adapts to the various workflows of technical support and product development. At SSI, two of our divisions and four of our product teams use TestTrack Pro to track the evolution of their products. The application allows for searching the history of issues previously reported, allowing our technical support staff to provide effective workarounds to clients quickly, and to pinpoint common training and technical issues to be addressed by the development and training staff. The system also provides a variety of ways to document the development of the systems created and maintained by SSI for our clients. Each member of our technical support staff and product design, development, and quality assurance teams—and our clients—utilizes the system to document and track the progress of reported issues.
To understand the TestTrack Pro application, I’ll show how we use it at SSI in our tracking of enhancements and defects. We’re currently in the process of upgrading to Test-Track Pro's newest version, 4.0 (released a few months ago), with new features that include customizable field relationships, integration with Microsoft Visual SourceSafe source control systems, and improved database speed when saving large amounts of data. But since the basic functionalities from 3.1 (the previous version) are carried over to the newer version, the following examples are relevant to either release, and will offer you a window into both versions' usability.
Submitting Issues Clients have the ability to log into TestTrack Pro via the Web site to submit and review the status of requests for support, and to submit ideas for enhancements. Clients can also contact our help desk directly to report issues. When that happens, our help desk staff determine if the issue warrants entry into TestTrack Pro for resolution.
Entering issues into the system is a very simple process, and allows the user to put in as little or as detailed information as desired. A user can add only defect description and severity, or can also add any workarounds and file attachments of any type for review and documentation. The system tracks the history of who enters the information for future reference if any reviewer should have questions regarding details.
Once the issue is added, it’s normally assigned to a staff member for review; but the submitter can also assign it to another user of TestTrack Pro. From this point on, the issue will pass from user to user. Each reviewer and commentator can add any comments to the issue, and those comments will then be available in the history for review at any time. Users can also attach any form of documentation to the issue using TestTrack’s attachment feature. The attachments can then be accessed and opened by any reviewer of the issue. This helps track the development of the system and provides a stronger foundation for release information.
Issue Review The staff member assigned the issue decides whether it's