I had lunch with a VP of Engineering for an Atlanta based software company yesterday. He run a large development shop in the past, but, most recently, he ran development shops with a variety of start-ups in Silicon Valley, Boston, and Atlanta. My objective in meeting with him was to get his insights on how he manages quality assurance today and what would make him improve his operation. While he gave lots of great technical insights which I’ll share in another blog of mine, what I found most helpful was his insights and validation of how important it is for us to really nail down how we get the development and QA community to embrace us.
From his perspective, we need to build a great product, and then focus on building a strong community. That is how we’ll be successful. We’ll need to think about pricing and our freemium model, the dynamics of the marketplace today, what’s available in the open-source community today, etc.
He encouraged me to look at Splunk’s go-to-market strategy. His perspective is when Splunk came out that the dynamics of the IT Administration Space was similar to the dynamics of the Quality Assurance Management Tools market today. The market was well established and mature but had only really experienced innovation from niche players. He believes Splunk has a compelling pricing model, a great product,and have done a fantastic job of building a community.
He also suggested looking at FogBugz (a bit of a competitor of QASymphony) and looking at how they have leveraged the personal brand that Joel Spolsky has developed to spread their message. QASymphony’s development and quality assurance team is hard at work building a great product. In the meantime, we need to determine how to best engage the community and get them excited about what we are building.