When I started managing IMVU’s Quality Assurance team about 18 months ago, we were just beginning to implement big changes to our product development process. Some of those changes were in the area of quality assurance, and I finally got around to writing about how QA actually functions today at IMVU. Here is an excerpt:
We’ve heard a lot of interest from folks we’ve talked to in the tech community and at conferences about our Continuous Deployment process at IMVU, and how we push code up to 50 times a day. We’ve also received some questions about how we do this without introducing regressions and new bugs into our product, and how we approach Quality Assurance in this fast-paced environment.
The reality is that we occasionally do negatively impact customers due to our high velocity and drive to deliver features to our customers and to learn from them. Sometimes we impact them by delivering a feature that isn’t valuable, and sometimes we introduce regressions or new bugs into our production environment.
But we’ve delivered features our customers didn’t like even when we were moving more slowly and carefully—and it was actually more costly because it took us longer to learn and change our direction. For example, we once spent more than a month of development time working on a feature called Updates–similar to the Facebook “friend feed”, and we guessed wrong–way wrong–about how our customers would use that feature. It took us a way too long to ship a feature nobody actually wanted, and the result was that we delayed delivery of a feature that our customers were dying to have: Groups.
Asking customers what they want takes guesswork and internal employee opinions out of product development decisions, making it easy to resolve questions such as, “Should we build tools to let users categorize their avatar outfits, or should we build a search tool, or both?” We make the best decisions we can based on available customer data, competitive analysis, and our combined experience and insights—then build our features as quickly as possible to test them with customers to see if we were right.
Read the rest of IMVU’s Approach to Integrating Quality Assurance with Continuous Deployment …