Elemental Machines: Freeing Up Resources and Mindshare

“Nobody wants to deal with regression testing. For me, it’s a special kind of hell.” John Rodley is not a man to mince words, but he states directly what others often dance around: web regression testing is mission-critical for bug-sensitive applications, but it’s highly resource and mindshare-intensive, error-prone, and simply unenjoyable. For startups that need to move fast, with limited resources, while not compromising quality, regression testing moves from being an irritation to a major burden. John Rodley realized he needed to make a move to give his startup an edge.

John is the VP of Engineering at Elemental Machines, an IoT-driven platform that gives research laboratories unmatched visibility of and control over automated processes. For Elemental Machines, quality is not optional: their system controls incubators, refrigerators, and other lab processes that contain millions of dollars worth of samples. John’s customers depend on these alerts working every time.

“We put a lot into quality at every level, from the hardware to the network to the dashboard; robustness is the name of the game. We’re a startup and have to stay nimble, and don’t have the luxury to move-fast-and-break-things that others have…any opportunity to help my team focus and pivot resources to more efficient use is something I’m going to hop on.”

Efficiently Splitting Regression and New Feature Testing

John already had one QA automation engineer and had published a job description for another in order to support his team. In a previous business, he had inherited a testing process that was highly flawed, and he didn’t want to repeat past mistakes. “Back then we didn’t realize that we should be thinking of regression testing very differently from how we think about new feature testing. We would just roll our new feature tests into the regression suite and hope it worked out. The result was an unstable suite that took a long time and nobody really understood what it did.”

John had planned to assign each QA automation engineer a separate focus: new features and regression. He was dreading the task of helping manage regression testing, but it seemed to be the only option. It was during a long and fruitless search for this new automation engineer that someone on his team turned him on to ProdPerfect. After a demo he realized he had just what he needed: he could leave new feature testing to his QA automation engineer, and use ProdPerfect to build and maintain an accurate, lean, and ever-changing regression testing suite that kept up with changes his team was making.

After the month-long trial, ProdPerfect became one of the easiest purchases he ever made. “The ROI on ProdPerfect is really obvious. I’ve hired one fewer automation engineer by using it, so I have a cash savings that I’m spending elsewhere on product. But it’s also less mindshare for me and my leadership team; that’s hard to measure but definitely valuable. Finally we just have greater confidence when we ship new code that we haven’t broken the dashboard’s functionality, and that’s huge for my business and my team.”

John’s been a happy customer for over a year, and doesn’t plan on leaving. “This is a god-send. I never have to think about regression testing again.”