What is Feature Tracking?
Feature tracking is the process of staying updated on the progress of feature development in every discipline involved.
Feature tracking helps aligning every member across disciplines on a common goal, to handover work easily, and ultimately ship quality features.
Instead of tracking issues that make you run after teams for updates, feature tracking lets you bring members from every team together, so you can get a full blown picture of the entire feature’s progress. Across every team. In real-time.
How Feature Tracking Helps Your Team Ship Quality Software
There’s a problem with the way we build features today - it no longer matches with our end goal.
Think about it - every product team wants to ship quality, bug-free features. When a feature needs to be built, members from different functions start tracking work assigned to them.
This works well when each member cares about fixing only a specific issue.
But you aren’t just fixing issues, are you?
You are building features and capabilities that help your customers solve their problems.
You need to plan features, prioritize it, and bring in designers, developers, and QA team to build it. We ask for updates to understand its current status and gauge when the it will ship.
And yet, we spend our day tracking specific issues when we should really be tracking features as a whole.
Building features is hard enough already. It gets ridiculously hard to align team members on a single goal when everyone is thinking in issues.
And when members aren’t able to view the progress of the feature as a whole, they resort to simply walking up to each other to handover work, leaving everybody else in the team with outdated, stale updates.
Teams need to go past simple issue tracking.
Feature tracking aligns members across disciplines on a common goal, gives a bird’s eye view of the development, and helps build quality features.
Feature Tracking vs Issue Tracking: When To Use What?
Issue trackers are great when you want to track, well… issues. But if you want to go beyond simple issue tracking and build products and features, issue trackers just fall short.
Sure, issue tracking lets you wring a list of issues together and track them. But you can't get your team aligned and care about the feature unless you pester them with updates.
How To Switch From Issue Tracking To Feature Tracking
Getting your team to start tracking features instead of issues doesn’t force you to change your current process upside down. It’s simple and the easiest way for you to keep everyone aligned on shipping your feature.
The best part?
Irrespective of which process you use - scrum, kanban, or even simple task management - you can switch from issue tracking to feature tracking today.
Let’s jump in and see how you can do it step-by-step.
Step 1: Bring Members From Every Team Together
What happens when you bring every member involved in building your features together?
For most teams, it keeps everyone updated on everything needed to build the feature, show which discipline is working on which aspect, and keep all members aligned.
Step 2: Handover Work in Seconds Instead of Walking Over To Their Desk
Now that you’ve brought members from every discipline together, you are probably wondering how the workflows would look like and how your team can move work forward.
Most tools oversimplify this into assigning specific tasks, adding deadlines, and having conversations with teammates. And when you’re working on solving some of the hardest problems, simple collaboration features aren’t going to cut it.
They forget that at the core of every team is a group of people who are different and have their own unique ways of working. So, when it comes down to getting everyone to work together on a feature, teams find it hard to adopt new workflows, collaborate, and handover work.
Zepel lets you add a board for each discipline involved in building the feature. That way, every discipline gets to work just the way they want.
When you need to see what’s happening in a specific discipline, you can simply open up their board and get a quick overview of their progress. And when a team needs to handover work to another team, you can move an item from one board to another by simply changing its status.
Step 3: Track Feature Progress Across Disciplines
By now everyone involved in building your feature should be making progress either using their Board or from within a Sprint. But how do you make sense of all the updates they made?
You need to distil all the progress your developer, designer, and QA team made while building the feature.
With Progress in Zepel, you can go from tracking the status of a single user story to knowing how far away you are from completing an entire feature. That means no more outdated comments or endless meetings.
Irrespective of what process you use - you could run sprints, use kanban, scrumban, or even just a simple task management - with Progress in Zepel, it’s all there. In real-time. Across disciplines.
5 Benefits of Switching To Feature Tracking
1. You get to keep everyone aligned on a common goal
With feature tracking, your team is no longer working in silos without clarity. Now you can actually communicate everything needed to build the feature and finally deploy to production without hiccups.
2. You see progress in real-time in every team
Feature building is a team effort. You need to bring members from every team together to build quality features. With a Board for each discipline, not only can everyone work with a workflow they are comfortable in, but you get to view their progress with every update. And watch your feature come to life literally.
3. You ship quality features faster
At Zepel, we shipped three features, fixed countless bugs, and redesigned our entire app in less than two months. And they weren’t even small enhancements!
Going from simple issue tracking to feature tracking let us ship more features to production without dropping the ball.
4. You get the big picture overview
Knowing just the status of a single issue or user story is hardly enough if you want to take important decisions.
When you are a week away from deploying, you need to know if you’ll be able to ship to production on time, where your feature stands, and how far away you are. And Zepel gives you just that across every discipline.
5. Fits right into your process
As your team grows, the process you use to build features will change. You’ll switch from having a continuous deployment policy to running sprints and shipping features on a specific period.
But no matter what process you use or change to, you will always want to know the status of your feature. Zepel is process agnostic, so you can choose to run sprints or track on a kanban.
Frequently Asked Questions About Feature Tracking
1. If I switch to Feature Tracking, how do I then track bugs?
Getting started with feature tracking doesn’t mean you have to stop tracking your features. In fact, feature tracking helps you keep track of your issues even better.
There are two types of issues - related to a feature or at a more core engineering level. If you need to track an issue related to a feature, you can simply track them from within a feature. If the issue isn’t related to a feature, you can add it to a list separately and track it on a sprint or on a board.
2. Can I follow Agile methodology with Feature Tracking?
Sure thing! Feature tracking is not a new methodology. It is a new way to keep your team aligned and improve your team’s ability to ship great features.
You can run Sprints, track work on a Board, or have Sprint Boards. Whatever process your team is comfortable using, Zepel lets you follow that with none of the hassle.
3. Can’t I just do this with Epics?
Technically, you can.
But would you rather spend time getting your team to learn terminologies or have them spend time building the feature? Would you rather spend time linking user stories to epics or spend time conceptualizing your feature effortlessly like you would on a document?
When you and your team spend most of your day thinking how you can build better features and products, you deserve a tool that maps to your thought process.
4. What types of teams can use Feature Tracking?
If you are team that spends time building features either for your own product or for your client, you can start tracking feature today with Zepel.
It gives managers and team leaders the high level overview of the feature in progress, so they can ensure everyone is aligned and plan for the road ahead. And for team members who are building the feature, it lets them work just the way they want without having to learn any new concepts or processes.