Is your team taking too much time to solve software defects? Sharpen your tools.

One thing that surprises me is when teams or organizations do not invest in building the tooling to quickly recreate a testing environment with the same configuration that the customer uses in production. It also surprises me that the capability of reproducing bugs is not mentioned in books such as Accelerate (although there is a related capability in data management for tests).

But what do I mean by customer configuration? I mean all the settings and all the options the customer or the company has configured in their product, which, of course, can impact the behavior of the software and will be needed to reproduce an issue.

Engineers can't reliably fix bugs they can't reproduce

Throughout my career, and mainly when I worked as a VP of SaaS Operations, I had the chance to observe how engineers and technical support teams collaborate on more than fifty different software products. During that time, I learned that many organizations do not invest in providing a great experience to engineers that allows them to reproduce the customer configuration in their local machines. The main impact was that most of the issues that Engineers can't reproduce either couldn't be solved or took too long to resolve.

Proper tooling is now more needed than ever due to data privacy

Many years ago, when there were fewer concerns and regulations regarding data privacy, engineers just had access to the entire customer database and configuration. Today, those companies who did not invest in the tooling to help their engineers have to choose either not being compliant with data regulation (introducing a business risk) vs. having their engineers spend more time trying to reproduce the issue without having access to customer configuration and data.

If you can design the product in a way that whenever you want to reproduce it in a sandbox environment, then your technical support teams can go and touch things in this environment that do not have any customer data but have all the configuration. That can be a powerful differentiator when building a defect process.

Tooling facilitates the work of technical support teams

When your tooling can replicate a customer's production environment in a testing environment or local machine, your technical support team can focus on capturing and providing your engineers with the steps to reproduce the issue.

When you don't have the tooling that copies your configuration, the technical support person will have to provide the steps to reproduce the issue and all the configuration steps.

Matias Lespiau

Matias Lespiau

Madrid, Spain