Dogfooding: How QASymphony Uses qTest to Ensure High-quality Product Releases

Back in 1988, a software testing movement was born when a Microsoft executive determined that the team would need to “eat their own dog food” to test their product and make sure it worked as expected. Since then, the concept of “dogfooding,” in which teams use their own product to work out the kinks, has taken off, and we here at QASymphony subscribe to it fully.

I, for one, am a huge proponent of dogfooding, as I strongly believe that if we’re building a product to help teams like ours create software, we should use our own product. In fact, if we didn’t use our own product, we’d be doing something seriously wrong.

That said, dogfooding can mean many different things, so let’s take a look at how everyone at QASymphony eats our own dog food by using qTest day in and day out.

Practicing What We Preach: How QASymphony Invests in QA

First and foremost, we practice what we preach when it come to testing: Everyone at QASymphony has a deep understanding of why QA is so important and why we need to invest in it. We recognize that we’re not perfect, and we always strive to improve what we’re doing.

Testing is very much like insurance, in that you only really see the benefit of it when you don’t invest in it. So just like we tell anyone in the software development space to do, we invest heavily in testing our product. And for us, that very much comes down to having teams across the organization use qTest.

Building qTest with Automation and Load Testing

Our product development and QA teams use qTest for automation testing on the product itself. Since our recent merge with Tricentis, the teams have also started using the Flood tool for load testing.

Beyond conducting testing with the entire qTest product suite, our development and QA teams also use it for reporting to track progress and improve their efforts along the way. In fact, we have a company mandate that says any time someone touches the product, they must document test evidence using qTest.

Enhancing qTest Based on Feedback

We ask our internal users to do more than just use the full qTest suite and submit any defects they find — we also ask them to provide suggestions for how to enhance the product. Our QA team is our number one customer, and what they tell us about ways to improve the product carries significant weight. In general, a significant portion of our product roadmap gets determined by the feedback we receive from qTest users, including those who work at QASymphony.

Once we do begin a new implementation, we also make our release process transparent so that people at QASymphony and other end users who might be interested in the process can see how we do things and where we stand with testing for the current release. Specifically, we use an angular application called Protractor, and once we have a well-structured test framework, we make it available for viewing on our Github.

Extending Testing and Feedback Beyond Development

Best of all, it’s not just our development and testing teams that get to work in qTest and share feedback. Everyone in the organization from our sales and customer success teams to our product team touches qTest in some way or another throughout their day.

However, just because many of these users are less technical, doesn’t mean they can’t participate in the dogfooding process. In fact, members of our sales and customer success teams have found some fairly interesting bugs. And because these teams are often closest to our customers, they’re able to take on our end users’ perspective better than anyone else.

Dogfooding Comes Full Circle: Reporting & Fixing Defects

When someone who works at QASymphony does find a defect in qTest, we ask them to submit a ticket through the very same system our customers use, which helps bring the entire dogfooding experience full circle.

Best of all, the entire process works. We often talk to our customers about the importance of investing heavily in people, tools and processes, and we would be nothing if we didn’t make those same commitments ourselves. We pride ourselves on delivering a world-class testing suite, and the only way to continue to deliver the high level of excellence our users have come to expect is to eat our own dogfood — so that’s exactly what we do.

Curious about how we make sure our whole team has a deep understanding of QA? Read our article, “Developing Quality-Focused Talent Across Your Business.”

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