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Quora optimizes its bug tracking processes with Asana

Asanas effect:

  • Standardization of the entire bug tracking process: in the past, each team used a different form, today only one standardized form is used throughout the company.
  • Improvement of the cross-departmental visibility, especially between the development teams and those who are not involved in the development.
  • Reduction of duplication of work, as all employees at Quora now work with a single source of information.

Quora is an online platform for the exchange of knowledge. It enables people to work together with questions that are important to them and to get answers to them. On Quora, users can share facts or their opinions, depending on the question. From useful things to learn in 10 minutes to great uses for Asana, everything is here. You can be sure that if someone has asked themselves a particular question, you will most likely find the answer on Quora.

But the task of bringing people and knowledge together around the world naturally also poses challenges for the platform's operators. For Elynn Lee, Product Manager on the internationalization team, one of those challenges was translating Quora into 23 languages ​​to better serve the global community. To do this, Quora's product development team has implemented a continuous process to regularly release new features. The problem with this: the system for recording and correcting errors could no longer keep up with this speed.

The product development team used to be responsible for the defect capture process and managed it through a tool that the team had access to. However, this tool led to isolated work processes and reduced the visibility of projects. The reasons for this were as follows:

  • All Quora team members were supposed to report bugs, but only certain members of the product development team had access to the bug tracking tool.
  • Only those teams editing code could access the bug tracking tool - other teams had to request access to it, which in turn resulted in a lot of manual work.
  • All additional questions had to be clarified via email or Slack. This led to delays in providing relevant information.
  • In order to manage this system, Quora developers had to create custom functions to enable the bug tracking system for their team.
  • Quora product developers received a different error form from each team.

Elynn believed there had to be a better way to do bug tracking. So she decided on a new, challenging project: She wanted to network the entire company and find a system that all employees could access.

Question: What better way to report and capture bugs?

So Elynn started looking for the right tool to help the company capture and manage the fix. First, she spoke to other product development teams to make sure that the new tool had all of the features that they were already working with and were satisfied with. At the same time, however, it should also solve critical problems and, for example, not have to be constantly maintained, adjusted and prioritized by the Quora product platform team. After that, she held further discussions with other teams in legal, finance, and product departments to see what they wanted from a bug tracking system.

“We needed a platform that we could use to record bugs and manage projects. Many believed there was no solution to this until we discovered Asana. ”- Elynn Lee, Product Manager, Quora

The Quora team needed a tool that primarily met the following requirements:

  • A central platform for managing projects, so that responsibilities and progress are clearly visible for cross-departmental participants and no work steps are overlooked.
  • A single, unified channel to report bugs to product development teams so they can sort and work on them in one place.
  • A way to add information to a task to make it easier to route and categorize errors.
  • A system that can be expanded and individually adapted without external support.

Already using Asana for internationalization, Elynn's internationalization team knew that Quora's wish list, while challenging, was not impossible. Plus, Asana was easy to roll out for both development and other teams, which clearly set the platform apart from other, less user-friendly competitors. That completed Elynn's personal list: Everyone in the company should be able to use whatever tool they choose, not just the product and development teams.

Question: What other options are available to Quora in Asana?

The added troubleshooting visibility was just the beginning for Elynn. She knew teams would only benefit from having a centralized work management platform that allowed them to see everything in one place.

Since Asana was suitable not just for development teams but for all teams, Elynn made the necessary preparations to use Asana for other purposes as well: All Quora quarterly projects should be recorded in Asana. In the past, each team recorded and managed its tasks with its own work management tool (Elynn's team was already using Asana back then).

“It was virtually impossible to get an overview of a project or get a status update on work progress because each team was tracking their work in a different location.” - Elynn Lee, Product Manager, Quora

With portfolios, teams can now track the work of several projects at the same time and get an overview of progress reports on various projects. In addition, thanks to the reporting tool, team leaders can generate weekly status reports with just a few clicks. Company members can then view a team's progress reports at the portfolio level.

Question: How is Asana being rolled out across the company?

To make it easier for Quora to adopt Asana, Elynn took a two-part approach:

  • Bug Tracking: First, Elynn created a document with the new conventions for bug tracking in Asana. To do this, she worked with the bug team, which consists of a developer from each team. The resulting document answers any questions Quora team members might have, such as: B: How do I report a bug? How is a bug categorized? What should I do if I am assigned an error? That way, everyone had the information they needed to get started with bug recording in Asana.
  • Project and portfolio management: Elynn has also decided to introduce portfolio management at Quora in order to increase the visibility of the status of each project. To familiarize the Quora team with portfolios, Elynn used her own Asana experience and created sample workflows to show teams how best to use Asana for project and portfolio management. Each team leader then created their own portfolio for their respective team. The team leaders could then add the team's projects to these portfolios. Teams can decide for themselves what to include in their projects - the only requirement is that each team leader shares a weekly update so that all other team leaders have an overview of the status of all projects at the portfolio level.

“Since I had a lot of experience with Asana, I really worked hard on it. I just believed that not only would it be great for tracking work on an individual level, but that it would also improve team collaboration and work management. ”- Elynn Lee, Product Manager, Quora

For the Quora team, which eventually runs an online knowledge platform, that was of course not the end of the implementation process in Asana. Elynn also created an internal Slack channel that serves as a space for answering individual questions and exchanging tips and tricks about Asana. But what would the Quora team be if they didn't share their knowledge with others via their Quora platform? As a result, Quora users - both Quora employees and interested Internet surfers - now have access to an Asana Space, where they can discuss Asana tips, screenshots, and best practices.

Question: How does Quora use Asana today?

The Quora team has come a bumpy road, but now isolated workflows and ambiguities are a thing of the past. Today, all feasible tasks are in Asana, and team leaders share their progress reports weekly. Portfolios with the tasks and projects of the teams at Quora can be viewed company-wide, so that those involved can find out about the current project progress at any time, regardless of their department.

“The idea is that every project a team is working on has an Asana project report. Our team leaders create weekly progress reports that anyone in the company can access through portfolios. ”—Elynn Lee, Product Manager, Quora

In addition, all of the troubleshooting is done in Asana. This means that every Quora team member can easily report a bug using a central form; this form is then automatically assigned to a specific project. Team members use a dropdown function to select which team should be assigned an error. Asana rules then notify members of the selected team of the reported bug - so work is assigned faster and more efficiently.

In order to increase the visibility of the bug tracking process even further, the developers at Quora developed a custom API with Asana that adds the sender of the form as a participant in the task. This keeps the person who sent the form up to date, can answer additional questions and will be notified as soon as the error has been fixed.

“It used to be almost impossible to get an insight into the projects that were carried out across departments and across the company because everyone worked with different tools. Now we're going to record all of our work in Asana. The visibility we have gained has fundamentally changed the way we work. ”- Elynn Lee, Product Manager, Quora

Question: What are the future plans for Quora?

Now that Quora has established visibility and networking internally, it is also bringing these structures closer to its users. The platform recently introduced a new function: Quora Spaces offers users the option of creating Quora content on a specific topic. Elynn and her team are currently working on translating “Spaces” into as many languages ​​as possible so that everyone who uses Quora can create such a “Space”. The particularly popular "Spaces" include Simplify Your Life, Machine Learning and Straight From the Source (these "Spaces" are currently available in English).