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Deployment and QA Workflow

WadeLovell edited this page Apr 29, 2020 · 31 revisions


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The main outcome of following this approach is so that as a team we can deploy, well-tested, working features on a daily basis. It's also so that we can get much more involvement from the client or the client's representative. Read on!

Story creation and start

  • Project Manager adds a new story with as much detail as possible ('As a..., I want..., So that...')
  • Project Manager will include in the story the text to be used for the RSpec specification.
  • Project Manager needs to keep these stories as small as possible. This ensures that we will be able to deploy as often as possible.
  • Developer estimates the story
  • Developer clicks 'Start'
  • Developer branches from stable branch always naming the branch starting with the story id e.g. 150350058_some_new_fancy_feature where 150350058 is the Pivotal Tracker Story ID of the feature being developed. This is so a comment can be added to the story automatically after deployment to Staging to notify QA.

Story completion, pull request, code review

  • Developer submits a Pull request to the Master branch (this should automatically trigger a message in the teams Slack channel to notify the team that there is code ready to review)
  • Code is reviewed by your peers having a constructive discussion together about it. Who performs the code review? Anyone on the team! When can I perform the code review on someone's pull request? We have two daily time slots: 9:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. reserved exclusively for code review. Any pull request requiring review which comes in must be reviewed during the next time slot reserve for code review!
  • Ask the Product Manager ('PM') to review the specification text so it can be re-written if necessary.
  • During Code Review please follow our best practices.
  • Eventually the code passes review and we move on to the next step!

Deployment to Staging

  • Developer merges the feature into the Master branch (which triggers an automatic deployment to the Staging environment). NOTE: if there are merge conflicts then always resolve these conflicts by merging your branch INTO master and keeping both sets of code. It's recommended to do this on your own development machine rather than the Github UI.
  • When the deployment is complete, the Developer clicks 'Finish'

QA Testing Process in Staging

  • Notify QA with a comment in the story like '@panha here are the links: + adds screen shots from Staging if necessary'). The QA team will test each feature based on the specification written for the feature.
    • If feature FAILS QA, then:
      • QA will comment back to the developer if feature is not working / not delivered as expected. Some reasons are: not following 'Design Principals', does not follow expected requirements, breaks or crashes app, etc.
      • Developer will continue to make changes on their feature branch, commit code changes to github and submit a new Pull Request for code review.
    • If the feature PASSES QA then:
      • Writes comment '@damon QA passed' if passed QA
      • PM will write comments back to the developer to either make further changes or to deploy the feature to Production.

Decide whether to add a feature flag or not!

  • At this point the feature has gone through lots of testing but still needs more - in Production!
  • Developer can decide at this point if the feature needs a feature flag or not. It really depends on the size of the feature and the risk of breaking in Production.
  • So take this time to discuss it with the PM before deciding.

Feature Branch Deployment to Production and Performance Testing

  • Developer will merge stable INTO their feature branch
  • Developer then deploys their feature branch to Production
  • Feature branch deployments to Production at this point are LOCKED
  • Developer checks that the Production server is still running as expected, that response times are good, error count is stable etc,etc. This should take about 10 or 15 minutes.
  • IF any issues seem to be happening now (like error count shooting up rapidly) then simply deploy the stable branch back to Production and figure out what is happening using logs and further testing in Staging.
  • Developer then merges their branch into the stable branch (which should trigger an auto deployment of stable to Production).
  • Developer then checks the Production server again and keeps a close eye on performance, errors and so on.
  • Developer clicks 'Delivered' in Pivotal Tracker.

Feature testing in Production (optionally behind a feature flags)

  • Feature is now deployed into Production and is optionally behind a feature flag
  • Project Manager will ask the Developer for the test specification report from CodeShip specific to the feature being deployed and will add these details to the story. This is basically the feature spec output.
  • Project Manager can notify client and/or client representative to test the feature directly in Production
  • Anyone at Rotati can also test the feature
  • Specific users of the client's team can also be given access to test the feature
  • Once the feature is approved by the client the story can be finally Accepted (and the feature flags removed if there are any - see below)! Yay!
  • Project manager will click 'Accepted' on the story in Pivotal Tracker.

Removing feature flags from Production (only for features where feature flags have been applied)

  • Developer will branch from stable branch
  • Developer will remove the feature flags for this feature
  • Developer will perform a 'branch deploy' to production
  • Developer will perform some performance and error checking as mentioned above
  • Developer will merge their branch into stable, thus triggering a deployment of stable to Production which essentially will make the new feature live to all (since the feature flag has been removed).
  • Developer will merge stable into master to update the Staging environment.
  • Developer will delete their feature branch :)

Application Demos

  • Demo the application to the entire team every two weeks so that everyone is on the same page
  • Demos allow for cross team collaboration, ideas and knowledge sharing
  • During the demo remember to update the ScoreCard in Stemware

Keeping the client involved and the team happy!

Do not leave too many stories in a 'Delivered' state (i.e. pending 'Accepted / Rejected'). To avoid this we need to ensure the customer checks the feature as soon as possible while its behind the feature flag.

If we delay too long for the client to give feedback then we risk the following issues:

  • Reduced Velocity (in Pivotal Tracker),
  • Increased likelihood the app is not being developed in the correct / expected way
  • Increased stress levels on the project manager from having to review too many stories
  • Increased chance of stories being rejected which halts progress toward reducing the backlog
  • Increased variance in the estimates - being off by anywhere from a few days to, possibly, weeks
  • Reduced team moral and motivation since they like to see their work accepted as soon as possible
  • Reduced client engagement with product development and, potentially, with the project itself

Keeping the client involved ensures that we keep momentum up and expectations are met!