How and Why to Run a Bug Bash
This is a guest post by Matt Lackey, product manager at Classy.org. Here, he walks through one of the quality assurance techniques used by our team and the benefits it provides.
A lot of people hate bugs.
Whether it’s a lurking spider, pestering fly, or a troublesome piece of code, bugs are a common source of frustration. Engineers hate when a bug is discovered in their code. Support teams hate running into bugs as they try to help their clients succeed. It pains quality assurance teams to know a bug made it into production. It deflates companies when a customer spends precious time trying to understand why something isn’t working correctly.
While bugs are a natural and unavoidable part of the process, here at Classy, we take steps to ensure users rarely, if ever, experience them. Whether you’re at a startup or powerhouse corporation, there are several different techniques you can use to combat bugs. Quality assurance teams, automated tests, outsourced testing teams, and bug bounties are all modern examples. Here at Classy, another technique that we have employed is the Bug Bash.
What’s a Bug Bash?
A Bug Bash is a collaborative effort across our entire product team. We typically stow away in a room for a set period of time with a few boxes of pizza. Generally for an hour, we focus on a few areas of the product and work to discover as many bugs as possible.
What’s Are the Benefits of Bug Bashes?
Bug Bashes are a great tool for unearthing bugs in any part of a product. In an hour, we can have 30+ talented and focused engineers, designers, QA testers, and product managers closely examine the product. These individuals have an intimate knowledge of the product and test everything from the expected user flow to less common use cases.
Internal Product Learnings
Another benefit of Bug Bashes is that they offer our internal teams a chance to use parts of the product they maybe be less familiar with. As Classy grows, different teams are beginning to specialize in certain parts of our product. A Bug Bash is a great opportunity for teams from other departments to use and become familiar with other team’s latest work.
Strengthened Relationships Across Teams
We quickly discovered our bug bashes are a great time to build camaraderie among our different teams. While these sessions are brief in the grand scheme of things, Bug Bashes bring our entire Product Team together in healthy competition. This time is not short on laughter, jokes, and compliments.
Is There a Winner?
Yup! Our Bug Bashes are still a work in progress, but so far, we’ve determined two ways to distinguish a winner:
- Who reported the most bugs in an hour
- Who found the most severe and unique bug
With over 30 people reporting bugs as fast as they can, a lot of post Bug Bash “clean up” is needed. While this is an extremely productive exercise, over time, we found that it takes a considerable amount of time after the bash to confirm reported issues and remove any duplicates in reporting. To combat this, we now focus on awarding the most severe and unique bug discovered.
To the Winner, Go the Spoils
A friendly competition wouldn’t be complete without a trophy. Mike Young, our CTO, went out and found the meanest, slimiest looking trophy he could find. Whoever wins the latest Bug Bash gets to sign the base of the trophy and house the Bug Bash trophy with pride on their desk until the next competition.
When Should You Run a Bug Bash?
At Classy, we typically run these right before a major product release to address any critical show-stopping problems. For example, we hosted a Bug Bash two weeks before our recent Crowdfunding Beta and Peer-to-Peer Beta milestones. This allowed us to fix a number of things before the product was exposed to our clients and their supporters.
While a Bug Bash can’t always find all of the issues in our product, it does help us root out critical issues. This important step allows us to present a polished product and enhance our customer experience.
Interested in learning more about fundraising on Classy? Download our free guide, The Anatomy of a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign, below.