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I sometimes hear about pain points of customers using our app from sales people, but there really isn't a good way for us to currently keep track of these. I was going to write one myself but figured I would ask first.

I was thinking something so simple it would literally just be a small form for adding a new feature, and then it would appear in the list, like stackexchange questions. Then users can upvote them, or even record each time a user complains about something related to the request so we can order them in priority based on real data. Then I can easily go look every few days and see what's going on. That's really it, nothing more complicated than that.

Know of anything?

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When you say 'users', do you mean your customers, or your employees that will use the system? –  whatsisname Mar 18 '11 at 20:16
    
Seems like something this simple could be coded up in a day or so. Anything out there will probably bee too complex. –  Byron Whitlock Mar 18 '11 at 20:47
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@Byron Whitlock: I've heard that claim numerous times where the creator ended up spending weeks supporting their half-baked tool. –  whatsisname Mar 18 '11 at 21:32
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"then users can upvote them" - that's where the "simple" thing broke. Create an email form in your application that allow them to tell you what they would like to have improved, and attach a screen shot, so you can see what they are talking about. –  user1249 Mar 19 '11 at 19:53
    
I really like The Bug Genie! We recently started to use it and found that it is relatively simple to use. –  bluebill Mar 19 '11 at 20:16

5 Answers 5

Trac is an enhanced wiki and issue tracking system for software development projects. You can have a class of tickets that are just for enhancements instead of defects in the code base. There is also a plugin that add a voting system. I haven't done any management of a Trac system, but I assume you would be able to limit what the sales team have access to so they can only see the list of enhancements and not effect the defects.

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Most good bugtrackers like Bugzilla can be configured with plugins to track "enhancement" issues, and allow users to vote on them.

For a less complex interface, there are free (public) services to do feature request + voting.

UserVoice has a free "feedback" service which does aggregation and voting.

Google Moderator is a little uglier, but also has a free simple system for this

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Bugzilla and Good... in the same sentence?! –  CaffGeek Mar 18 '11 at 20:52

Redmine is an open-source project management web application. I'm not sure I'd describe it as simple, as it has many functions and not just feature-tracking. It may be useful within your organisation.

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For what you're looking for, you could almost get away with a Google Form combined with a Google Spreadsheet. Keep it simple, or use some out-of-the-box solution.

Who is going to support this new bug tracking software when it breaks? You? What is the opportunity cost of this action? (What job duties will you be giving up to change course and go down this path?)

Really, if you want to improve your application, I think you need to stay focused on building your application. When you start building something new to track your bugs, what are you then going to find out you need to build next? How will you track bugs in the bug tracking software? What else are you going to have to give up in terms of your primary goals as you continue to jump around chasing other ideas?

Unfortunately, there are way too many great ideas than there are time and resources to implement those ideas. My suggestion is to take a step back and think about what is really important to you and your organization.

UPDATE: Here is a link that may help you prioritize your goals: 11 Ways of Staying Focused. By writing everything down you need to work on and writing down the benefit, you can more clearly determine the ROI of the many different ideas you have and then focus your energy into the ones that give you the most bang for your buck!

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the point is to let users decide what is the most important thing you should work on instead of you going alone isolated and guessing what should be the most important thing. Sure crowd is misled sometimes but wisdom of crowd is more often at better odds then our isolated guesses. This is the basis for lean startup as well. –  Muhammad Umer Jun 15 at 17:44
    
Sure @MuhammadUmer, and a bug tracking software solution and mailing list is perfect for documenting what users want. However, the point of my post is this: Don't go off trying to build bug tracking software yourself if you're actually tasked with building sales CRM software. Your sales CRM software will suck if your engineers get distracted by trying to build other things, especially when there are already great bug tracking and mailing list solutions in the market. Hope this helps clarify. :) –  jmort253 Jun 15 at 17:56

When you mentioned upvoting bugs, I thought about the Stack Exchange network and how the community voting model has such an impact in determining what is important. It might be possible to use a similar format for bug-reporting.

I would be interested in seeing someone implement a bug-tracking strategy using a format such as this.

There are literally Hundreds of Open Source Clones of Stack Exchange and other Q&A models that could possibly be used for your Sales Team to report bugs, comment on them, and vote on them.

Here is OSQA, an open source clone of StackExchange, written in Python, and there is also Shapado, an open source version written in Ruby. These two appear actively developed, usable, and fast!

Perhaps the most important takeaway from this is that if you can make reporting bugs fun, your users may be more likely to report bugs. Assuming badges are configurable, you could create badges for the best bug reporters, reduce bug reporting privileges for those who report petty, unimportant, or distracting bugs, and make a game out of it. I don't know what it is about these concepts, but they are kind of motivating.

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have you been using any of them (OSQA or Shapado)? Are there any clear differences if one compares one to the other? I really appreciate any help! –  DanielTheRocketMan Feb 26 at 14:11
    
@DanielTheRocketMan - Nah, I haven't. Mostly because many people mistakenly think that what makes SE so awesome is the software, so they take these clones and use it for things it wasn't intended for and end up building ghost towns. The software is only part of the picture, the other part is sticking to a clearly-defined set of rules to produce great content that spurs growth. Thing is, it's the rebels wanting to do this, and rebels don't like rules... With that said, this is something you'd need to try, which might work, since you're not trying to build and grow a public community... –  jmort253 Feb 26 at 14:48

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