Web & Mobile
Reduced Time-to-Market and Fewer Bugs
Viralheat started out providing viral video analytics. The company quickly expanded to include comprehensive platform coverage and monitoring capabilities, and now provides overall social media marketing tools. As the company expanded, so it did its development and testing needs. Viralheat adheres to an Agile development process with weekly iterations and releases and continuous integration, but with no full-time internal QA team, the company found that bugs were slipping through the cracks.
“We were overwhelmed with the number of bugs not covered by our automated tests that we have built as part of our development process,” said Mark Lubarsky, Director of Engineering at Viralheat. “Sometimes we would delay our weekly release when blocking issues were present. This was disrupting our otherwise streamlined delivery process.”
Viralheat contemplated building an in-house QA team, but was concerned with the cost of that approach, as well as the disruption it would cause to its development team and other departments. Applause offered a solution with a quick transition and little disruption. Applause was able to work with Viralheat’s in-place project management tool and allowed the company to set its own in- and out-of-scope instructions and specific bug information criteria.
"uTest (Applause) could work based on iterations aligned with our development process. Specifically, we are now able to finish our iteration by Friday, cut a new release, run a test cycle over the weekend, and then deploy on Monday."
-- Mark Lubarsky, Director of Engineering, Viralheat
Embracing Applause resulted in several real-world advantages for Viralheat. Some of the specific results Mark reported seeing include:
- Streamlined delivery process, not-interrupted by bugs or last-minute findings. This resulted in a quicker time-to-market.
- Reduced Churn rate as fewer bugs make it to production system. Applause helps Viralheat ensure that releases are stable and they have not missed unintended changes that may affect end users.
- Viralheat’s single internal QA resource can now spend 50% of their time working with Applause to filter bugs, manage test cycles, communicate with testers and perform supplemental testing not covered by Applause. The other 50% has been reallocated to regular development activities.
- Viralheat can now focus on the product development as well as invest into longer-term quality improvement based on discoveries from QA cycles.
The Benefits of Crowdsourcing
In addition to having an on-demand team of testers that can work over the weekend, Viralheat has found that crowdsourcing added several unexpected and pleasant benefits to its testing practices.
“uTest (now known as Applause) provided a diverse set of testers that increased the stability of our product,” Mark said. “Each tester had their own independent type, so collectively they covered much more ground than we could have in-house. Additionally many testers provided valuable feedback in terms of UX.”
The Applause community also provided Viralheat with a “novice user perception” of their product which more closely mirrors the experience of new users – something that cannot be recreated by an in-house team.
Applause has allowed Viralheat to ramp-up its testing efforts quickly and for a much lower cost than creating an internal QA team. As a direct result, the company has improved its product – and users have noticed.
“Now, our customers mostly face only issues that are very difficult to identify pre-production, such as specific data-related issues or very specific integration problems with external platforms,” Mark said. “One of the most obvious feedbacks that we receive is the improved level of stability and reliability of our product.”