Sifter: Straightforward Bug and Issue Tracking

Today’s online communities give people any number of venues to discuss the products they use. From trivial gripes to critical bugs, users are more than happy to let the general public know about their satisfaction with every application they use. Sometimes, they even share these issues directly with the people responsible for solving them.

Larger software companies possess complex bug and issue tracking systems to help them capture, triage, and respond to this type of feedback, but smaller companies often still struggle to find a way of managing this information. Sifter hopes to change that with a simple and straightforward bug and issue tracking app.

Developed by Garrett Dimon and team, Sifter provides a thoughtful set of features that cut to the quick of issue management for small teams. Those entering issues can immediately create, categorize, and assign issues. And those who receive the assignments get a clear picture of the situation – and whether it’s anywhere from critical to trivial.

Admittedly, a number of products have attempted to solve this tracking problem, simple or otherwise. What makes Sifter different? Sifter is built in the “less is more” vein of product development. There’s just enough there, but not too much.

When I saw Sifter, I immediately thought of it as the perfect complement to Get Satisfaction. Get Satisfaction makes gathering customer feedback incredibly simple. And Sifter proposes to make dealing with that feedback just as simple. What’s more, Sifter is so straightforward that practically anyone – not just developers used to issue tracking systems – can use it. And that has the potential of making every person on the team a valuable contributor to the system.

But there’s something else happening here. Thanks to its simplicity, Sifter actually makes bug and issue tracking accessible to groups who may have never considered it before: Web developers, blogging teams, community managers, graphic designers, and the like.

When it comes right down to it, tracking issues shouldn’t be terribly complex. There’s a problem that needs to be solved. And someone needs to solve it. Unfortunately, that apparent simplicity leads many smaller teams to forego the cost of a traditional management system by using email or spreadsheets to manage the incoming requests and assignments. Then things begin to fall through the cracks.

Yes, tracking should be a simple process. But there still needs to be process. Sifter seems to understand this. And they’ve priced their solution accordingly.

In terms of product development, Sifter has something else that makes it interesting. Sifter’s whole development history was transparent. So you can go back to see why decisions were made. And get an idea of what might be coming next.

If you’re part of a small team of developers who find typical bug tracking software too arduous or don’t want to deal with having to set up a service of your own – or if you’re someone who deals with issues but has never considered a bug tracking system to manage them – Sifter may be for you.

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