The Future of Testing
As Founder and CEO of PowerInbox, Matt Thazhmon doesn’t mince words when it comes to his company’s vision.
"Our goal is to create the future of all email,” said Matt. "Email is an important part of everyone’s life, but it really hasn’t changed on a fundamental level in quite some time. We’re hoping to change that."
And change it they have, by transforming traditional email into an interactive app platform. With their product, for instance, users can post to Facebook, follow people on Twitter or watch YouTube videos directly from their inbox – and that’s just scratching the surface.
Since their product is meant to be consumed on multiple email platforms (Yahoo, Gmail, Outlook, etc.) and on multiple browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) Matt and his team would need to find a practical way to cover an exhaustive testing matrix. Also, being in startup phase, their solution would need to be cost-effective as well.
"Because we're building something that works across many different platforms, it's very important to be able to test across the whole matrix. We don't have the resources to do that internally. It's a lot of work. So uTest (now known as Applause) was a great fit there."
-- Matt Thazhmon, Founder and CEO, PowerInbox
Getting Started With Applause
Unlike many startups, Matt and his team immediately recognized the need to make testing a top priority. This mindset came from having previously worked in the games industry at Electronic Arts.
“Testing was big at [Electronic Arts]," he said. "In fact, every task you did, once it was complete, went straight to testing, so we were already used to that type of QA process. When we got started at PowerInbox, we immediately noticed that was missing."
To fill the void, Matt and his team signed on as Applause customers in December 2011 as they prepared for the major launch of their API. After a kickoff call with their dedicated project manager (there’s one assigned to every Applause account) they were ready to begin testing their platform and application with professional testers from around the world.
Running several exploratory test cycles – where testers searched the application with a minimal set of guidelines – Matt would receive bug reports across a wide range of email clients, browsers and operating systems. This extent of testing coverage, he noted, would have been nearly impossible to replicate with in-house resources.
More important than the quantity of bugs was the quality of bugs. Having worked with many successful companies in the past, Matt was accustomed to certain testing standards – and he would not be disappointed by Applause.
"It was very similar to what we saw at EA," said Matt. "The tester would actually take the time to find the edge cases; the really tricky cases that take a lot of time to reproduce. As developers, these were things that we didn’t really have to time to deal with."
With the Applause platform, Matt and his team of developers would be able to sort and organize their bugs according to frequency, severity and other factors. In all, the process would fit in nicely with their agile development methodology.
"We would usually get a build or release candidate to uTest (Applause) on Friday night and testers would work on it over the weekend," said Matt.
Summary and Next Steps
After a wildly successful launch, PowerInbox understands that their testing challenges are just getting started.
"It’s not going to get any easier," said Matt. "As we grow and get more partners on board, we're not going to be able to test everything, so having uTest (Applause) do that is really helpful. We’re already considering uTest (Applause) for other services like load testing and security testing."