Bug tracking software is designed to help programmers keep track of bugs that have been identified through the testing process. Bug tracking tools usually require testers to manually record the identified defects, and these tracking tools are typically integrated with a database as well as other software programs that are managed by the company’s IT staff.
Most tracking tools will monitor the status of the identified defects throughout their life cycles, and most allow administrators to configure specific permissions based upon the status of each bug. Some tracking tools will even send emails to key organizational stakeholders based on user-inputted parameters.
The information allows programmers to improve future iterations of deployed software to avoid similar problems. In particular, these tools often provide visibility into root causes of identified defects so the issues can be avoided in the future. Additionally, organizations as a whole often use bug-tracking software to monitor the performance of their developers and testers.
Some tracking tools even allow administrators to maintain revision control, as well as to selectively distribute and add comments or insights to the bug reports. This is especially true in organizational environments in which similar software will be developed by different groups of developers. The sharing of information enhances organizational learning and improves performance and efficiency gradually over time.
The bottom line is that bug tracking tools are no longer just nice-to-have. They are now organizational necessities and are covered in industry certifications like ISEB and ISTQB. In general this is a very positive development, as it allows for the creation of more reliable software that is less prone to show-stopping fatal flaws.