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Near Me Quality - How do we do it?

Welcome to the Near Me Quality Assurance Blog series.

Julien_Photo_1_copy.jpgAs Director of Quality Assurance here at Near Me, I will be sharing what we do behind the scenes to test the platform and give our clients, and their users, the best marketplace possible.

 

First a quick introduction...


In my previous post, I introduced you to our Quality efforts here at Near Me. Using a mix of automated and manual testing, we work hard to ensure that our customers’ Marketplaces work as they should, so our clients can focus on sales and marketing and grow their client base, not worrying about technology. The Engineering team introduces new features every week and it’s our job to test them thoroughly to make sure that they are ready for prime time.


This time, I will go into details about the processes we use to ensure quality in our Near Me Marketplaces.


So, what’s our secret process for ensuring high quality?

 

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So, what’s our secret process for ensuring high quality?

 

There is no secret sauce here. We use some of the principles of Scrum and continuously tinker with our process to make us a better team. As the Scrum Alliance describes it, Scrum is a framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value. The concept of Scrum was defined by two professors in Japan in 1986. In the 1990s, it evolved thanks to the efforts of many to become what we know today. Learn more here!

  

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What is our Typical Release Cycle?


We release a new version of our product every Monday morning (CEST) as a planned release, and will sometimes patch our production servers during the week if some urgent issues are found internally or externally.


A few of us, representing, Development, Product Management and QA, meet on Thursdays to define the upcoming sprint. The Product Manager will work with the Dev & QA Leads to get a backlog of issues (ranked) together. Those issues are then given Story Points (in our case, we use the Fibonacci Sequence: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 where the number represents the number of work hours estimated to complete the card) and assigned to individual developers/testers to work on for that sprint.


Here is how it looks like in Jira (our bug tracking tool):

 

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(This view shows you some of a card’s details, including the Type, Priority, Sprint, Story Points & Status)


When Monday comes around, the team works on its new assignments for the week.


Our sprints last 2 weeks.


We divide a sprint in 2 portions:

 

  • Week 1: The Developers fix the bugs and implement new features.
  • Week 2: The QAs (testers) verify that the bugs are fixed and the new features are working per specifications. Our Account Management team works on preparing updates to our Knowledge Base with information about new features being released with that sprint.

Note that some features are rather big so they will span multiple sprints.


The sprints overlap. When Developers are working on week 1 of a sprint, QAs are working on week 2 of the previous sprint.


This process allows us to quickly update our product with the highest quality and prioritize the fixes/features that bring the most value to our clients.


To learn more about the Engineering team, I recommend that you read Chitra’s excellent post.

 

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What’s Next?


We always strive to improve our processes so we can keep our quality very high. One thing we will do in the future is involve our team members more in the Sprint Planning and Retrospective sessions. Among other benefits, that will give them a chance to have a stronger sense of ownership for the features and fixes they work on during each sprint.


In my next blog post, I will introduce you to some of the tools we use to get organized so we can ship solid and reliable code on time. Feel free to reply to this post or contact me at [email protected] if you have any questions about the Near Me Quality Assurance process. I look forward to keep sharing with you my tips and secrets about how we do things at Near Me.

Topics: Quality Assurance

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