Tackling Bug Fixes with a Monthly Kaizen Day

It’s easy for any development team to get wrapped up in the exciting parts of their job and neglect some of the more tedious, though still important, tasks.

That’s true for most of us though, isn’t it? Who wants to audit a spreadsheet or pull data for a report when you could be brainstorming big campaign ideas or challenging yourself to learn a new skill?

Developing new features for a product is fun and challenging. Most developers would love to spend every day working on something new that ultimately changes the face of their product and the future of the company they’re working for.

Unfortunately, there’s a less glamorous side to every job. And for developers, that’s usually bug fixes and service improvements.

The problem is, bugs don’t go away on their own! And they certainly don’t delight customers. Eventually, they have to be dealt with.

How the Typetalk deals with the tedious

Team TypetalkTeam Typetalk at work.

To solve this common problem, the Typetalk development team decided it would dedicate one day each month to focus solely on service improvements.

Handling service improvements this way has a few benefits:

  • It ensures that the entire team is contributing to bug fixes, so one person isn’t stuck with them unfairly.
  • It allows the team to focus on the work they love to do more often, without getting distracted by less enjoyable or impactful tasks.
  • It ensures that bugs don’t get put off for so long that they start to get out of control.

They decided to call this day “Kaizen Day”—Kaizen (改善) being a Japanese word that means “continuous improvement.” Each Kaizen Day, the Typetalk team collaborates to tackle as many bugs as possible.

How Kaizen Day works

When our users find bugs in Typetalk, they report them to us using our contact form. Our team of developers then add those bugs into our project management tool, Backlog (another collaborative app created by Nulab.)

Obviously, we want to fix these problems as soon as possible, but we often focus on other tasks like developing new features for the platform. When we noticed that bugs were starting to take longer to resolve, we came up with a plan.

Starting in 2017, the Typetalk developer team started holding Kaizen Days each month.

At the beginning of the day, they go through the list of bug fixes they have in Backlog, self-distributing who is going to work on what evenly across the team and committing to completing their tasks by the end of that day.

By the end of the day, they’ve released all their updates.

Users end up with a more seamless Typetalk experience, and developers get their more annoying tasks out of the way in one fell swoop thanks to a little focused teamwork.

May’s Kaizen Day results

In May, we tackled a lot of important bugs, but there are a few that we think you’ll appreciate the most.

Topic UI

Replying to messages at the bottom of a Topic

Some users were having issues when trying to reply to a message at the bottom of a Topic. They found that part of the input area became hidden if their message was too long.

We fixed this with improved automatic scrolling when entering new text. You’ll no longer have to deal with any hidden characters before hitting enter.

Replying to messages at the bottom of a Topic

Know by whom and when bots/integrations are created

Bots and integrations are no longer a mystery. We added creator and date information for all bots and integrations.

Know by whom and when bots/integrations were created

Notifications

Desktop notifications

Now when you click desktop notifications, the Typetalk app will open directly to the Topic the notification is in reference to.

Example:

If you click this desktop notification,

Click the desktop notification.

the Typetalk app opens right to that Topic.

the Typetalk app opens right to that Topic

Notification sound

We had multiple requests from users for a softer notification sound, so we happily obliged.

To hear it, make sure you have your notification sounds turned on under Settings, and turn the volume up on your computer. Give it a listen!

Search

We improved the search function in Typetalk to work with partial match searches for:

  • Words (e.g. You can search for the message “Typetalk is awesome” by searching for “talk”)
  • Attachments (e.g. You can search for messages with an attachment file titled “image.png” by searching for “png”)

Performance

Likes Activity

You’ll see your “Likes Actively” faster than ever.

Likes Activity

Final Thoughts

This isn’t the first time one of Nulab’s products has used Kaizen to focus on certain tasks. Our project management tool, Backlog, previously did their own full Kaizen week. Click here to read more.

 

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