I used to work for a professional consulting firm, and we worked under many different contract terms. When we could get a time & materials project, we ran it with SCRUM and tracked the backlog in our issue tracker system.

Most of the time, however, we had to deliver under a fixed price contract. This required a specifications document as an appendix to the contract. So we always ended up batch importing work-items (or worse, manually entering) from the spec. Change orders took a lot of time to make sure everything was in sync, especially towards the end of the project.

Is there a methodology or software tool out there that keeps this whole process DRY? I've done some searching and I'm apparently not using the right terms. Most of my professional network doesn't do fixed price work.

I'd be open to:

  1. Switching my bug tracker or buying plugins (currently using FogBugz).
  2. Following a different development methodology
  3. Writing software to manage the specifications and update the bug tracker and specification document (but this sounds like it will be a lot of work for dubious benefit)

Lastly, is this really worth solving? It cost us quite a bit on some projects, but on other projects it didn't end up affecting us.

  • -1: ...And how does this relate to programming?
    – Jim G.
    Jan 26, 2013 at 0:37
  • @Jim Can you give an example of where this should go?
    – Cole Tobin
    Jan 26, 2013 at 2:17
  • Why not use bugzilla?
    – Cole Tobin
    Jan 26, 2013 at 2:18
  • @ColeJohnson Is there a feature that actually solves this problem? I didn't see anything specific when looking at the bugzilla site. Jan 26, 2013 at 8:31
  • 3
    @JimG. I thought this question pretty solidly fell under both 'development methodologies' and 'business concerns' listed in the FAQ: programmers.stackexchange.com/faq Jan 26, 2013 at 8:33

1 Answer 1


I would export the spec as HTML, where every section and item has an anchor. Host that export on a web server, that is accessible to everyone that has to deal with it. Then you can link from your issues to that file and use the correct anchor for addressing a certain section or item.

To keep everything in sync, you should have your spec in version control and do the HTML export automated with every check in of the spec.

When the spec changes you could also scan your issues for links where the anchor doesn't exist anymore.

However this doesn't address the problem of newly created sections or items.

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