"aut viam inveniam aut faciam"
Before you start working on something, it is essential to have a ticket system like Jira, TFS or the like. Before you choose a ticket system or issue tracker, it is important to define for what you will be using it. TFS for example is mostly focussed on Software Development projects, while Jira is more focussed on overall issues which are more related to processes on a higher level.
This is not a blog about the differences between these ticket applications, but it is about telling you that such a system is essential for work tracking. Without it, you swim in the dark and the project manager, supplier, contractor and client are not able to get the proper insight in what needs to be done, what is already done and are we getting the work done in time, with the given resources and with the given budget.
Often I see Excel sheets, documents, email and what not, miss used for issue tracking. If you are in such a situation; be sure of the fact that you have blind spots and you are not aware of all the work done and work coming your way. In other words, you are throwing away money, which belongs to the client.
As a contractor it is your responsibility to always make it for the client as transparent as possible what you're going to do, what the workload is, what can be done with whom and for what money. Some sort of an issue and work item tracker is in such cases indispensable.
Doing without it is hiding your work behind curtains. The client can be sure that the work done, being done and must be done will stay in the dark and its money is used in some sort of gamble.
I give you some links to TFS and Jira, as examples. You can relate these example to other programs alike.
I do not believe in gurus. But Brian Keller is a guy I respect a lot for the contributions he did on the topic of Software Development Life Cycle Management with TFS. Check him out and stick with the guy.
Brian Keller on TFS and SDLMS
Scrum at Microsoft: See the TFS Agile Team do a Scrum
Jira in a nutshell
Jira tutorial for beginners
Jira tutorial video
Jira to improve visibility and productivity