Whats slowing down your release cycle

What’s Slowing Down Your Release Cycle?

How Global App Testing Speeds Up Your Release Velocity

The pressure engineering teams face to release quickly is undeniable. In a world where development processes move faster than ever, keeping pace with such a lightning-quick industry can seem like a daunting task.

That’s why the slickest engineering teams have well-oiled DevOps workflows that enable them to deliver quality software, at speed, time and time again.

But, as we all know, no team is perfect. 

Nothing can prevent life’s hiccups getting in the way. Bottlenecks can come out of nowhere and slow down your release cycle, leading to mounting pressure and a CTO that might need 10 minutes of meditation. 

Aaaaaand breathe.

So, what are these pesky issues that might be slowing down your cycle - and how can you fix them quickly? We asked a number of experts, as well as providing our own top tips so that you can make sure nothing slows you down. 

Issue 1: Testers are not available when you need them

Imagine the scenario...

“Ok everyone we need this new code we just introduced tested…. And fast. Our pool of testers are all in India and have finished work for the day. Release date is fast approaching and any extra hours spent waiting to brief our testers is going to really slow down the process. What do we do?” 

The fact of the matter is, if all your testers are in a location that’s in a different timezone to yours, this can mean they are simply not available when you need them. 

More than this, if your testers are on specific working hours and on your company payroll, this can create issues too. You might require testing outside of normal working hours, but you cannot expect team members to conduct these when they have their own lives and commitments. 

This can act as a bottleneck.

What’s the fix?

The fix is, put simply, more testers! 

Having testers across the world working on different time zones and working hours means that you will never be short of help. 

This might sound daunting, but it can be achieved without going through the time-consuming, expensive recruitment process. 

One way to achieve this is by partnering with a crowdtesting solution like Global App Testing. Having access to a ‘crowd’ of testers can provide you with 24/7 test coverage across the entire world. Moreover, we have found that the number of high quality testers applying to be in our crowd has dramatically increased in recent times. This is because testing can be conducted safely in the homes of those who are self-isolating. 

So, now you have an even bigger crowd ready to test your apps!

Issue 2: There are too many features being pushed in parallel.

Christian Raroque, CTO at Aloa, told us that “releases being too large or constant increases in scope (scope creep) continually delay releases.” 

The term scope creep can send shivers down the spine of any engineering professional, and it’s something that both QA testers and developers often have to contend with.

If your next release is becoming a bigger and bigger beast, the capacity of the entire team will be pushed to the very limit. Inevitably, your release cycle starts to slow down.

What’s the fix?

The fix here is: plan, plan and plan again. 

Meticulous attention paid to carefully thought out plans will prevent the chance of scope creep. Make sure you break down releases that seem to be ever-growing and time-consuming, to ensure that bugs don’t slip through the cracks in a rush to release.

As Shayne Sherman, CTO of TechLoris says, 

“To mitigate this, careful planning needs to be done during scoping. For example, if the features are intertwined, more code needs to be updated by more hands, which can lead to further miscommunication and delays. Instead, if the features are scoped and produced independently of each other, then the risks and side-effects of complex production can be avoided.” 

Issue 3: Lack of device coverage

Picture this: The new iPhone comes out next week. Suddenly, your team is scrambling to buy the device to send to your QA testers home in preparation for the impending release. You hope and pray there are no delivery issues, and everything goes smoothly - just in time for testing. 

Sounds stressful right? And expensive. 

Lacking device coverage can seriously slow down your release cycle.

It requires either purchasing new devices or recruiting testers with a few more devices than you have internally. Neither way is particularly fast. 

What’s the fix?

Find a testing partner that has wider coverage. Global App Testing, for example, has access to testers with hundreds of device combinations on a range of networks across the world. 

Testing partnerships act as a long term investment and will help you achieve that extra test coverage you need to feel confident in release.

Issue 4: The Friday 5pm Code Freeze

Code freezes are a practice that can truly divide the engineering community. 

Some teams swear by it, saying it helps maintain order and structure. Geetha Ramaswamy, CTO & Co-Founder of Menerva Software uses code freeze regularly, saying:

“We freeze every production release so when updates are made, we can confidently revert back to a previous version.”

However, others claim it acts as a bottleneck, slowing down the process considerably.

“As a code freeze nears, developers will attempt to rush and they'll make mistakes.  This creates more work for QA and the developers as they have to correct their mistakes.  During the code freeze, work doesn't cease, so this means that, after the freeze is lifted, a large deployment of code will go out and that will require more effort from QA to test.”

- Shayne Sherman, CEO of  TechLoris

If you feel your QA and your code freeze practice are not a match made in heaven, this could be what is slowing down your release process.

What’s the fix?

Ensure your engineering and QA teams are aligned and integrated. 

If, as outlined by Shane, developers rush to meet code freeze this can cause problems down the line for QA, and inevitably create tensions between teams. Instead, make sure there is integration between QA and development - working in harmony isn’t impossible!

You can also work with a crowdtesting company that can ease the pressure caused by code freeze. 

With Global App Testing, you can send your testing results after freeze at 5pm Friday and have the results ready to analyze on Monday. This fast turnaround will streamline the testing process so that no one in engineering is awkwardly waiting on test results, desperate to make fast progress.

Issue 5: lack of QA resources

Every team would like an endless pool of QA resources. It’s the dream.

But this isn’t always possible.

If your QA process is stuck in its old ways with no scope for scale, a lack of internal resource will always slow you down when curveballs are thrown. 

According to Shayne Sherman, CEO of TechLoris:

“A lack of QA resources slows down our release process.  When doing any kind of web development the smallest change needs to be tested in every browser, on every platform, and in multiple versions.  Anyone who has worked in the web development industry knows the pain of hearing QA say they found a defect on a particular version of a particular browser on a particular operating system.  Imagine the pain they go through having to test all of them each time a change is made.” 

Especially in the current world climate, where many people are forced to work from home, looking after their children or vulnerable people and employees are being furloughed due to economic issues, QA teams can be stretched to their very limit. Of course, this will slow things down.

What’s the fix?

Elastic QA. No, really...

To boost your internal resources, you need to scale up your QA and increase your testing capacity. Elastic QA is all about stretching those existing resources and building on them with new solutions.

We understand that this sounds potentially unfeasible, especially in the current economic climate.

But, in fact, there are simple ways to achieve elasticity in your QA.

The Global App Testing Way

Partnering with Global App Testing will give you access to a wealth of testing resources which may have previously seemed out of reach. 

Using our platform, you can conduct exploratory and functional tests with testers across the world and results in under 48 hours. You can also have access to fast automated test case execution, with instant results. 

Global App Testing works with your current QA process, building on it to increase your testing capacity. It is not a replacement for your internal team, but welcome addition to it - ready to help ensure your release cycle runs quickly and smoothly.

Click here to book a meeting with one of our growth specialists today - we’d love to show you how we work.