I’m thinking about how do we know if a release is successful or not - what are your thoughts on this?
This is a question that I think spans far beyond the efficacy of development and testing. A release may be implemented to spec and functioning properly, but the release may not be successful if, for instance: it isn’t marketed to customers well, or perhaps the initial requirements don’t actually meet their needs. There’s a lot of non-technical work that goes into making a release successful. For this reason, I always enjoy hearing from our business team as to what customers think of our last release, as it’s really the only way to know for sure if it was successful. I think frequent communication between business and technical teams is crucial for this reason.
Now, from a purely technical perspective, I would consider a release successful if we were able to deliver a high-quality product that met the requirements given in the time-frame we committed to.
I think I need to learn more about product success in it’s entirety - not sure if there’s any resources out there to look into this. I’ll have a google to see what i can find.
Some of these might help to create a bigger picture
- automated sanity tests in production
- Monitoring in production
If the automated tests in prod fail (which are inside of the CI/CD pipeline) it will automatically be rolled back.
I think it can be subjective to the team/product what counts as “successful”. So this sounds like a team activity to me. Find out what this means for you and judge your releases accordingly.
For our team, working with a highly configurable product, we are happy with a couple of critical bugs, while for others this might be bad. I think @alanr also brought up a good point. A release might be technically good but if customer reception is bad is it still a successful release?
Some ideas on what release success could be based on:
- bugs found after release (number, severity, …)
- usability (features, documentation, …)
- release process (downtime, problems during release, …)
- team feedback (speed, delay, process, …)
- customer feedback (hotline calls, acceptance of new release, …)
Releasing late with no bugs is also a failure, for the business. And probably means your team needs to make a load of process improvements. It’s fair enough to think only about what you do control as a team, but as pointed out by @sles12 and @alanr , getting to production early with a healthy strategy to deal with the issues after release can also count as success.