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It has happened in our team that our issue-tracker is down. Happens about once a week now (yes, wow), and there's not really much we can do to get it back up, since it's hosted by our client in a different timezone. It sometimes takes several hours for it to be operative again.

In the meanwhile, we can't really tell which issues we were working on, and in case we do, we cannot update those issues, as in moving them through the workflow, logging used hours, checking the issue's description, leaving comments, and so on.

So the question is: how can we, as a team, work in the meanwhile so that when the issue-tracker is up again, we have the least possible hassle updating it with what we've been working?

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did you create a respective issue in that "outside tracker"? Like frequent outages and downtime blocking work of the team. That would be the first thing I'd do to track and report all the outages and losses related to this bloody shit. Next thing I'd do would be to set up my local tracker and use it as a "master" one, to update outside crap with only minimal styuff / references to local tracker –  gnat Nov 13 '12 at 13:18
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While it's essential to find a way to work even when it is down, communicating this problem to your client is as well. I think it might be good to tell them about the costs this incurs to you, and that you may have to have client pay for it if this keeps happening. Of course, this should go hand in hand with offering several solutions like the option of hosting the tracker yourself. (The possibility of this all of course depends on your relationship and the contract with your client and the fact that you're unhappy about the current situation should be something they already know.) –  Jasper Nov 13 '12 at 14:28
    
Can you get out of the obviously-not-ideal client-is-hosting-the-issue-tracker arrangement? –  user16764 Nov 13 '12 at 18:56

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Use a Local Cache

Might not work for yours, but it might be looking at whether it's a viable route to look at. Maybe you can implement a local proxy/cache for this tracker.

We used to have an SVN proxy to prevent similar issue at a company I worked for.

As pointed out in comments, you could use a local tracker. For instance Fossil is a decent tool for personal management.

Good Ol' Whiteboard & Paper

Just keep track of what you do one way or another and update. Nothing much more you can do.

Hybrid Cache-Whiteboard :)

That's a not-so-serious option, but it might work none-the-less: implement a simple facade that will screenshot the current task list and have that projected on a wall or displayed on a screen. if the remote one is down, at least you sort of still have a list.

But I'm half-joking with that one...

SCM-ed TODO

Here's another half-baked idea: have a scheduled job export a list of tasks every N hours or so to a text file, and commit them to your SCM.

Then have developers track their daily updates in a separate file named after the ID of ticket they work on.

That's also not so great, but it might be better than nothing.

Report and Complain

Obviously that's an issue that needs to be addressed, and your client needs to be made aware of the impact it has on you and your team.

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not necessarily proxy/cache in the direct sense, there could be simply a local tracker, even if a different one. Other than that, firm +1 from me –  gnat Nov 13 '12 at 13:21
    
@gnat: yes, I guess you could write something to provision a local tracker, but establishing sync would be tricky. Would be best than nothing I guess, but it needs to be tested to see if reporting what was in the local tracker when the remote one is back up is worth the effort and time. Maybe just thinking "sod it" and going about your day as good as you can with personal notes might be best. YMMV. –  haylem Nov 13 '12 at 13:55
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@gnat: that makes me think though, they could use Fossil for a local tracker as you mentioned. Adding that to the answer. –  haylem Nov 13 '12 at 13:59
    
well I wouldn't even attempt to establish automatic sync I guess. I'd rather manually sync minimal info with references to "my tracker", maybe using semi-automated scripts –  gnat Nov 13 '12 at 14:00
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@gnat: yes, that's why I think a SCM-ed todo might also be a decent low-tech solution, if the team is rather small. And if their SCM isn't down as well :) Thanks for the edit btw. –  haylem Nov 13 '12 at 16:11

Having that degree of downtime is not normal. I'd suggest using Atlassian Jira on-demand or another online issue tracker like Trello, and suggest it to the client (show it to them once you have data in it), but if the client's solution is setting you back, have your own.

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