Bug tracking is part of project management. If your project management tool does not contain a bug tracker, look at Mantis Bug Tracker.
Read the documentation for Mantis Bug Tracker at www.mantisbt.org. You can also try out a demo and download the free open source application for testing on your computer or Web site. The application is Web based using PHP and a database of your choice.
You can throw Mantis BT into any of your Web sites using a subdirectory and a new database. When you manage a server using cPanel or equivalent, the whole setup process is 10 minutes plus reading time, which might be another 20 minutes. you should then step through the administration guide, a 2-3 hour process including trying out each step.
After you get the application running with your general settings, you start adding people, organisations, projects, tasks, whatever you want for classifying and assigning your bug report tickets.
If you accept support calls by telephone, you want the maximum information entered before the call so you do not waste call time identifying the caller, company, etc. Support requests from email give you the option of not entering a person or organisation until they actually send you a request.
I installed Mantis at several customer sites for a number of projects and in each case there were three deciding factors.
- The customer had experience with Web sites and secure access.
- The project was moving from the development phase to the bug fixing stage.
- I wanted to leave the customer with a working system for their own support people.
One major advantage of open source is the ability to set it up anytime for anyone. They do not have to use it because it is free and can be thrown away in favour of any other free open source alternative. I can set it up for a couple of developers then they can offer it to any of the other support teams in the organisation.
Mantis wins on popularity and frequently wins on features in the bug tracking area. Connection to project management is limited. If you already have project management in place and do not provide bug tracking, you would not want to waste your time replicating customer and contact information into Mantis. For those with no project management and a desire to have some bug tracking, there are project management tools the can be used for bug tracking without replicating data.
Web2project, the related dotProject are primarily project management tools and provide enough bug tracking to handle support requests except in large dedicated call centres. Storm is a project management tool with an even balance of project management and bug tracking but not nearly as many bug tracking features as Mantis.
One important feature in Mantis is the ability to accept bug reports from email. Not many bug trackers have that option and of those that do, some do not have the flexibility to make the feature useful.