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Product Development Life Cycle - Engineering

Updated: May 6

In Phase Four of the Zilker Trail Product Development Life Cycle, the goal is to build and perform Quality Assurance (QA) from the design concepts and prototypes of the items created in the Design Phase.

Delivering high-quality products while maintaining a rapid pace can be a delicate balancing act. However, as Brian Cahak, founder of Zilker Trail Consulting, emphasizes, the solution lies not in reinventing the wheel but in applying rigorous review processes to existing development practices.

The Importance of Rigorous Review

While the concepts of dependency review, code review, quality assurance (QA), and user acceptance testing (UAT) have been around for a long time, it is important to apply a structured and thorough approach to these processes. By implementing rigorous templates and playbooks, development teams can ensure that each step of the review process is executed with precision and attention to detail.

Dependency Review: A Technical Lens

One crucial aspect of the review process is the dependency review. This step involves taking a technical lens to assess whether the new designs and implementations have taken into account all the necessary dependencies required to bring the product to life. This proactive approach helps identify potential issues or roadblocks early on, preventing costly delays and rework down the line.

Code Review: A Standard Development Exercise

Code review is a well-established practice in the software development lifecycle. By subjecting code to a thorough review process, developers can catch bugs, identify potential performance issues, and ensure adherence to coding standards and best practices.

Quality Assurance and User Acceptance Testing

Quality Assurance (QA) and User Acceptance Testing (UAT) are critical steps in ensuring that the final product meets the defined requirements and delivers a seamless user experience. It is important to apply the same level of rigor to these processes as well, leveraging templates and playbooks to streamline and standardize the testing procedures.

The Benefits of Rigorous Review Processes

By implementing rigorous review processes throughout the development lifecycle, teams can reap numerous benefits:

  • Quality Assurance: Thorough reviews at every stage help identify and address issues early, reducing the likelihood of defects and ensuring a high-quality final product.

  • Efficiency: Well-defined templates and playbooks streamline the review processes, minimizing bottlenecks and enabling teams to move through the development lifecycle with speed and efficiency.

  • Collaboration: Review processes foster collaboration and knowledge sharing among team members, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and working towards a common goal.

  • Risk Mitigation: By identifying potential dependencies, technical roadblocks, and user experience issues early on, teams can proactively mitigate risks and prevent costly delays or rework.

When these reviews are complete, Engineering hands off the code to the Experimentation team, which will take the lead in ensuring that there is a methodology in place to track the business value of the item being deployed.

Delivering quality products at a rapid pace is essential for staying competitive. While the concepts of dependency review, code review, QA, and UAT are not new, what is new is the importance of applying rigorous processes and templates to these practices. By doing so, development teams can strike the perfect balance between quality and speed, ensuring that their products not only meet the highest standards but also reach the market in a timely and efficient manner.

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