Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Home bugs

The longer I stay on the homeowner's association board of directors, the more I feel that we need what would essentially be a bug-tracking database. We get reports of various issues that need to be resolved, and we talk about them every month, but we often don't have the history nearby and handy (so we have to rely on our memories of details), we often don't have all of the supporting documentation, and it's mostly just an unfocused mess that we make the best of. The president keeps an agenda of the things we need to talk about each month, at least, and without that we'd be totally lost.

I mean, we get by, and we don't exactly need anything fancy for 16 houses and condos and 1 rental unit, but it would make meetings and HOA stuff go much more smoothly. We could have a bug tracking database on a server somewhere, and we could scan bids and documents and store them with the bugs, and accumulate all of our emails and decisions there. It'd be a searchable set of records. Seeing as I work on that very product, it is kind of silly how long it took me to realize that SharePoint would actually be nearly perfect for something like this. I don't need integration with Visual Studio or source control or other sorts of things that software bug tracking systems use. I just need a fairly simple list with issues that can be assigned to people and can be marked "resolved" or "in progress." I could get it running pretty quickly. Probably for free on Office Live.

And then I'd use it for a month or two and it would languish and we'd forget about it. It would be a lot of work for one person to keep track of all those things, and that's exactly how many people would agree to keep things in there instead of their heads or scattered paper documents. Two of us on the board are technologically savvy, one is competent, and the other two can barely read their email. Realistically, we would not be collaborating. It would be one person trying to keep track of every document and thought and decision and bid. We actually have a guy doing that already, but in a technology-free way with stacks of papers and hand-written notes. If that guy ever decides to leave the board and we actually have to do all that crap ourselves, I'll definitely have to look into setting up a bug tracking website for our HOA.