Simple Bug/Feature Tracking With Google Docs

When you design small systems, there are some big benefits.

One of these is with bug/feature tracking. This is not to say that with a simple project it’s not important to track bugs and features. WRONG. It’s vital.

My point is that you can streamline your other processes, as well as those in this most simple of software you are building.

While developing Oldaer I’ve been using Google Docs to track my Bugs and Features through the builds.

How does this work? Well, very simply.

1. I have a doc called “Oldaer, <buildnumber> Todos”.


This document lists all the Todos I have. It’s a relatively small amount. Important Todos are bolded. Sometimes there is a further description underneath.

2. As Todos are completed, I “mark” them off.


You can see it’s a yellow background. I’ve found this is the best because of it’s immediate visibility to the eye.

Whatever you want though, it just needs to be quite distinguishable.

3. After the build is done, we copy the Todos document (using “Save as a new copy” in Google Docs) into a Changelog.


To make this document a Changelog is easy. You simply remove all the Todos that were not completed for the build.

4. We then copy the Todos document (again) into the new build number’s Todo list.


To make this into the new Todo list, all you have to do is remove all the completed (yellow) Todos.

There you have it. Simple. Efficient. And because it’s Google, finding specific stuff is easy.

Of course, this is not going to work in most development situations. More than a couple of people, more than a simple project, and it becomes very hard to maintain.

However, if you are creating a simple piece of software, and don’t have any bug/feature tracking processes in place, then I urge you to consider using Google Docs.

Do this, and get the basic patterns in place for when you take on a big project.

2 Replies to “Simple Bug/Feature Tracking With Google Docs”

  1. Hi Stu,

    I do something similar but with one less step. I use a ChangeLog file for each project and list “To Do’s” or “Bugs” at top of page. As tasks are worked on I move them to “Change Log’ section below ‘To Do’ section. List them under date completed and add any details below task title. If the task is not completed I leave a copy in the ‘to do’ list at top of page and add details of what needs to be done. When your to do list is completed your change log is already done. Example below:

    [ ] Translation
    [ ] download update problem
    [x] Import data
    -All CSV and XML data imported
    [x] multi-user login conflict

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