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Stop focusing on bug fixes if you want to really improve product quality (VB Live)

Presented by unitQ


Companies that consistently deliver great products and experiences beat the competition. Automated product quality analysis helps you identify and respond to actionable quality issues in user feedback faster and smarter. Learn more in this VB Live event!

Register here for free.


“Quality isn’t about the number of bugs and your ratio of fixing them,” says Greg Burch, VP Engineering at StyleSeat, a booking and payment platform used by hair stylists and beauty professionals. “It’s about setting up the culture to understand and have empathy for your users.”

If your quality process is centered around engineers focusing only on QA numbers, you run the risk of spending more time on that than building the next feature — but as Burch emphasizes, fixing bugs isn’t going to give you a great product.

Quality should be far more holistic, not compartmentalized as QA only. All employees should be involved in the process, able to bring up issues that might be important to users. In addition to engineering and quality team members, squads can be created including product and customer success or customer service employees, working together on an end-to-end solution.

And in engineering, it’s important to ensure that backend engineers, full stack engineers, and frontend engineers all work together, says Burch, “In this way, you’re ingraining quality the entire way. You’re not losing quality every time you have to throw something over a wall.”

At StyleSeat, they called it the papercut syndrome; they were fixing bug after bug, but in reviews, users weren’t mentioning the bugs. Instead there was general sentiment from users that the application wasn’t wowing them. They were giving it three stars and saying, “I guess it’s okay, it meets my needs.” So it checked the product-market fit box, but StyleSeat wanted to get to where users would award it five stars.

They broke quality out of that engineering silo and began to look at it as a larger issue. And they began to consider how bug fixes impact their planned features and looking at how users were responding to workflows.

Introducing an automated user feedback platform allowed them to experiment with new features, using it to measure outcomes by analyzing what users were saying.

For instance, now if they’re working on the appointment power-booking feature, they can hunt for all users talking about all things appointments — both the customer of the salon and the salon professional (StyleSeat’s direct customer). Then they drill down to find people having problems booking appointments the way they want to. In that way they’re able to understand and have empathy for both the customer booking an appointment and the professional taking the appointment.

This had a direct effect on their app store ratings, Burch says, which are now consistently five star.

“It’s very hard to get to that point if all you’re doing is fixing bugs,” he explains. “Getting away from that, we’ve seen our retention has doubled, and our churn has halved.”

But one of the most important ways to address product quality is by using the product yourself asserts Burch. “That helps you find the signal in the noise and improve your empathy and understanding of the user,” he says. It’s also how you establish a quality culture, especially if you’re at the top — employees will follow that example.

It’s also important to set some principles around things that you will not allow to happen. For instance, at StyleSeat, any bug that directly touches any revenue, no matter how small, is a fire. No questions.

“Setting those principles allows even the person that started last week to see that principle and engage on it,” Burch says. “Keep that quality, keep that trust, and keep that delight of the users.”

To learn more about how automated user feedback systems can directly impact your company’s most important metrics, the best way to integrate tools into your workflow, the best tools to use, and more, don’t miss this VB Live event!


Don’t miss out!

Register here for free.


Attendees will take away:

  • A broad overview of how product quality impacts user retention, brand equity and revenue
  • An in-depth look at how to drive significant improvements in product quality in a cost-effective manner
  • How to select and implement the right automated quality analysis platform
  • And more!

Speakers:

  • Greg Burch, VP Engineering, StyleSeat
  • Kyle Nesbit, Chief Resident & Technical Lead, Gradient Ventures
  • Anthony Heckman, Head of Growth, unitQ
  • Ben Ilfeld, Head of Product, VentureBeat (moderator)

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