Friday, March 15, 2019

Who You Gonna' Call? #30DaysOfTesting Testability

Wow, time flies when you are doing actual work and you are trying to get your talk and workshop done and rehearsed for STPCon (seriously if you are coming up to STPCon in Northern California first week of April, come join my talk and workshop or if I'm not your cup of tea at least say "hi" ;) ).

Anyway, on with the "Thirty Days of Testability".  As you might notice, today is the fifteenth. This is entry four. Yeah, I'm going to be playing catchup. You have been warned ;).

Do you know what your top three customer impacting issues are? How could you find out?

This is surprisingly easy for my immediate team. It's less so for my extended team. I have no idea who is coming in at what point here, so I'll say this for those who are new.

Currently, I work for Socialtext. Socialtext used to be a standalone product and for a number of customers, it still is. However, back in 2012, Socialtext was acquired by a company called PeopleFluent. PeopleFluent specializes in HR Tools as their name might indicate. PeopleFluent is also a much larger company by comparison (Socialtext as a standalone group is all of ten people). Last year, PeopleFluent was acquired by Learning Technology Group (LTG) located in the UK and with offices all over the world. Thus, when I have to think about my top three customer impacts, I have to ask clarifying questions. Are we talking about Socialtext? PeopleFluent? LTG? Interestingly enough, since Socialtext is the base platform that many of the PeopleFluent and LTG products run on and interact with, it's entirely possible that Socialtext will not even enter into the top issues of anyone outside of Socialtext and at other times a Socialtext issue can be the number 1 issue for everyone. Still with me? Excellent :).

So to keep things simple, I'll focus on Socialtext standalone and how I would determine what the biggest issues are for us. The simple answer is I can reach out to our secret agent in the field... ok, it's nowhere near that cool. We don't really have a secret agent but we do have a great customer engagement engineer and frankly, a lot of the time that's just as good. I can count on one hand the number of times when I have announced an update on our staging server (read: our personal production server) and not heard a reply from this person of "hey, what's new on staging?" They make it their responsibility to be clear and up to date with every single feature and every option available in the product. They also make a lot of sample accounts and customizations to our product to push the edges of what the product can actually do. If there is any question as to what is a pain point or an issue with a customer, any customer, they are my first point of contact. Sure, we have a CRM and a bug database but the majority of the time, if I really want to see what is happening and what's really important, I know who I am going to call... or bring up in a chat message. I mean come on, this is 2019 after all ;).

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