When people ask me what my company does, I generally give them one of two answers. One answer is simple and the other not-so-simple. The simple version goes something like: “We provide an issue tracking software system for professional teams.” Most people these days have some level of understanding of the concept of software, but few understand what issue tracking is. I started my professional work life in the software development/consulting world, and most people in the software development world have some idea of what the term issue tracking means. If the person I’m talking to is familiar with the term issue tracking, they may guess that we provide some way to record some technical details when a software program encounters an error. While that relates much to the concept of what issue tracking was in the early days of the Internet, these days the concept of issue tracking has expanded past the IT department and has spread to many other places within an organization.
The longer version of what AdminiTrack does involves me talking about how people today are chronically overwhelmed due to all the projects, corporate initiatives, 100’s of emails, phone calls, requests from clients and all the rest of the things that fill our days with tons of urgent fires. All this urgency is happening at the same time organizations are looking to get more done with limited resources. Professionals reach the end of their work day feeling like they can’t seem to get enough done to go home with a clear head. Then I talk about why it is like this for so many, and then describe how an issue tracking system plays a key role in helping remedy the current state of confusion.
I realize that there is a wide a gap between my simple and not-so-simple description of what AdminiTrack does, but I will work on addressing that another day. For now, I want to share with you the first of 3 unexpected business benefits an effective issue tracking system can provide:
Benefits of an Effective Issue Tracking System
Benefit 1) Speak with Confidence During Status Meetings
Speaking with confidence during status meetings sounds like one of those skills you join a Toastmasters group to develop. Speaking with confidence is a valuable skill and Toastmasters is a great organization to help develop that skill, among others. What I’m talking about here however, is not the style or effectiveness of communicating that can be described as speaking with confidence. What I’m specifically talking about is that feeling you experience when you walk into a meeting, on top of your game with all your ducks in a row. This is a much different feeling compared to that uneasy feeling you get when you walk into a meeting and you think; this could go smoothly or this could go really, really, bad. What feeling you walk into the meeting with, is determined by what happens before the meeting.
Depending on your team and how well they brief you is a major factor in how prepared you are. Let’s face it, in the real world, how many times have you gone into a meeting in which you have to provide a status, and you hope what your team told you is accurate. Not that they would try to deceive you intentionally, but because they want to make the best impression possible they sometimes gloss over some of the all-so-important details, which I will expand more on later. And, of course, there is the other end of the spectrum, where certain team members seem to always over dramatize the size, impact, or urgency of an issue. You learn over time the tendencies of individual team members and try to adjust their description to approximate reality. The gotcha is, sometimes the extremes are correct, and unless you have access to the details, you are playing a version of Russian Roulette with your credibility and reputation, which have an effect on your job security and career path.
Having an effective issue tracking system provides you the rare advantage, compared to others, of being able to quickly review the details of a prioritized list of relevant and current issues, so you can walk into your status meeting with the confidence provided by having a firm grasp on your current reality.
Benefit 2) Tune in next time…
for Part 2 when we take a look at how an effective issue tracking system helps you command a healthy respect from your co-workers and management…