Situational awareness: Personalizing issue tracking systems

  • Baysal O
  • Holmes R
  • Godfrey M
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Issue tracking systems play a central role in ongoing software
development; they are used by developers to support collaborative bug
fixing and the implementation of new features, but they are also used by
other stakeholders including managers, QA, and end-users for tasks such
as project management, communication and discussion, code reviews, and
history tracking. Most such systems are designed around the central
metaphor of the “issue” (bug, defect, ticket, feature, etc.), yet
increasingly this model seems ill fitted to the practical needs of
growing software projects; for example, our analysis of interviews with
20 Mozilla developers who use Bugzilla heavily revealed that developers
face challenges maintaining a global understanding of the issues they
are involved with, and that they desire improved support for situational
awareness that is difficult to achieve with current issue management
systems. In this paper we motivate the need for personalized issue
tracking that is centered around the information needs of individual
developers together with improved logistical support for the tasks they
perform. We also describe an initial approach to implement such a system
- extending Bugzilla - that enhances a developer's situational awareness
of their working context by providing views that are tailored to
specific tasks they frequently perform; we are actively improving this
prototype with input from Mozilla developers.

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  • Olga Baysal

  • Reid Holmes

  • Michael W. Godfrey

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