We’re Going On A Bug Hunt!

Rukmini Reddy

SVP of Engineering at Slack



"When I joined Model N as Senior Director of Engineering, two years ago, I met my direct report who was the Director of QA Engineering. When I asked him what the product quality was, he said he didn't know and explained because they were using an ancient tool, they couldn't do reports, and that they knew there were bugs but they didn't know how many."

Actions taken

"I invited him for coffee to discuss the problem further - a QA manager should know how many bugs there are in the system at all times. Because his team was really behind, I bought a new tool with my personal credit card, as I knew this needed to happen quickly, and migrated the team to the new tool overnight. I personally exported everything out of the old tool and into the new one, and when the QA Director saw this he then asked how he could help me, as he saw I was engaged and wanted to help." "I then told the team that we were going to have a bug hunt. There were bugs that hadn't been closed for months to years, so I asked them all to spend a day together searching for bugs after having ordered some pizza. I worked alongside them, and with a team of 20, we were able to close 350 bugs and we cut our backlog down by a third in one day, and it turned out to be a great team-building activity. The team saw that I meant business and that I wasn't afraid to get my hands dirty, and they saw that if they could accomplish that much in one day, they were underselling their potential." "Our company now includes bug hunts as a part of our release process - every four months I buy everybody lunch and we search for bugs together. I always block out my calendar and make sure I participate because I think it's important to build up relationships with your teams."

Lessons learned

"Three years later and the team's productivity has increased by 300 percent. Getting people together on a small but clear project may not initially seem impactful, but it can actually help to motivate employees and get them to believe in what you aim to do. With moments like this, engineering leaders have an opportunity to take a terrible situation and make it meaningful for the team. It creates a sense of purpose - if I had just made the QA Manager triage the bugs, it would have taken a month, but with 20 people and pizza, we could do it just six hours."

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Rukmini Reddy

SVP of Engineering at Slack

Engineering LeadershipLeadership DevelopmentCommunicationOrganizational StrategyDecision MakingCulture DevelopmentEngineering ManagementPerformance MetricsLeadership Training

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