My fiancé and I have used many project management systems for work. There’s so many great options to choose from and the companies that we have each worked with have used a variety of these tools. Between us we have experience with Asana, Basecamp, Harvest, Jira, Lighthouse, MantisBT, Pivotal Tracker, and Trello. This list is loosely defined as project management tools since MantisBT is really just used for bug tracking and Harvest is focused on time-tracking, producing invoices and getting paid. When it came time to start planning our wedding, we decided to go with Trello and we couldn’t be happier.
Trello is a simple, but powerful, system that lets you track each action and quickly see what stage each component of your project is in. Recent activity is displayed in an unobtrusive side-bar keeping you appraised of what’s going on without distracting you. Trello is a very customizable system meaning you don’t have to shoehorn your project into preset categories or states of completion. Each card can use a colored label which allows you to assign your own color-coding system. Boards, which are where the cards live, are used to indicate what state of completion the cards contained on that board are in.
Since our wedding is one big project with a great many components that will come together seamlessly over the course of a few hours this coming June, being able to take a global view of our progress is essential. Considering that Trello’s motto is “Your entire project, in a single glance”, it was a natural fit. We’ve labelled our boards based on what sorts of actions are needed, such as: “Deposit Needed” or “Choices”. Some cards contain checklists and some represent parts of the wedding that will undergo many different steps before they can be moved to the “Completed” board (wedding dress purchasing is a good example, apparently).
There’s something incredibly satisfying about seeing the “Completed” board grow as cards move through the various stages that each board represents. Trello allows great collaboration as the discussion under each card includes conversations we’ve each had with vendors and links to cool ideas. Both of us can be pretty intense when it comes to making plans and putting our noses to the grind-stone. Trello has been the perfect tool for us and we hope that others consider it for projects like this.
When you deal with customers on a day to day basis, there are a few reasons why being able to understand a bug and put together an effective a bug report can be very helpful. I’m not going to explain how to write a bug report (perhaps in a future post), but rather why knowing how is so important. It will help you close your sale, give your customers a better experience once they become users, and ultimately it will save your company valuable time and money.
For starters, in a sales role you’ll have plenty of opportunity to think on your feet. Sometimes this means coming across a bug when you’re on a demo and it’s very possible that a customer will be watching over your shoulder. When this happens, you’ll probably find the need to immediately explain what you were expecting to happen (and what should/will happen when they perform the action). If that sounds familiar it’s because that’s basically the core of what a bug report is - what happened in relation to what should have happened. Communicate how the current behavior is different than what’s expected and you’ll be turning the script back to the product and it’s functionality so your customers will understand how the feature will work when they use your product.
Besides being able to close the sale, showing your customer how to react to a bug can turn a sticky situation into a teachable moment. These things happen in software and let’s be honest, it’s possible there are more bugs in your live environment. With a calm approach and good communication, hopefully your customer will understand how they should approach, and ultimately report, a bug when they ever encounter one. If they are equipped to deal with it effectively then they will be more understanding when it happens and, more importantly, their feedback will help you get a fix into the works as soon as possible.
What this all translates to is helping your developers develop. No matter what bug reporting tools and process you’re company uses, at some point in the life of each bug someone is going to have to figure out what is actually wrong. Wouldn’t it be good to get that at the onset of the bug’s discovery? Whether the bug is discovered in the sales process or reported by a customer through support, the sooner a proper report of the issue is on paper, the more time (money) you’ll save. And after all, what we’re really striving for here is that everyone on the team should possess a complete and comprehensive understanding of the product and it’s functionality - truly understand your product and you’ll be better prepared for this and many other situations.