Berlin 2013 - Proposal

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How the QA team got Prezi ready for DevOps


Prezi would not be where it is today if it wasn't for DevOps and continuous delivery. And for that, we can thank the QA department, since without tests we can depend on, the operations guys would be nervous having 20+ deploys to production per day by people who don't understand every part of Prezi's infrastructure. The classical DevOps balance between developers (who are measured by their speed) and operations (whose goal is maximizing availability) needs a third entity, QA, to make sure the user-perceived quality of the product is acceptable.

In the beginning, the Prezi codebase was poorly tested, as the primary goal was getting something working out the door as soon as possible. As the volume of untested code began to grow, product quality deteriorated. In response, the first QA hire, and eventually the establishment of a dedicated QA team came to pass. This team made a major contribution to how Prezi works in three ways:

  • QA established quality as a value within the organization, now taken seriously by every employee.
  • QA made it easy for developers to write tests by creating the necessary tools and documentation.
  • QA made us realize that if a bad commit got deployed, we should blame our lack of tests, not the author of the faulty code.

Similar to QA, the DevOps culture at Prezi has also matured considerably. Today, there is no longer a QA or a dedicated DevOps team, as each of the product development teams have assumed responsibility for the quality and operations aspects of their output.

The topic of my talk is the journey from the beginnings of Prezi to where we are today from the vantage points of QA and DevOps. Emphasis will be placed on the organizational, people-centric problems and solutions, but I will also share the technical aspects of how we work.


Peter Neumark

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