How Laurel is accelerating their software development lifecycle with Jam

The problem

Reproducing complicated bugs was making the lifecycle to ship products days vs minutes.

Time is finite for Laurel and its customers, and they're on a mission to give busy professionals back that time through software that automates reporting and tracking billable hours. This means the Laurel team holds a high bar to align building and launching products according to their mission.

Niket Desai, who looks after product at Laurel has implemented a development lifecycle that supports fast and iterative product updates. This is vital to build trust with their customers and highlight their ability to be responsive to their new way of thinking about time. Once a feature is promoted internally, the expectation is that it will be shipped to users in a seamless manner.

As Laurel was scaling the product rapidly to support the increased usage of its customers, capturing and reproducing bugs was extremely challenging. Each customer had a unique environment making it complex to pinpoint the exact state the user was in when encountering an issue. Asking users to utilize inspection tools to gather network traffic data felt like a byzantine and daunting process, saddled with cumbersome steps.

"Every aspect of the debugging process was complicated and time-consuming" - Niket Desai, VP of Product

The Laurel product team is tasked with all the testing and communication with customers to ensure any defects are accurately identified. However, to get to a baseline of identifying the bug, the engineering team would have to sift through all the varied and incomplete inputs across screenshots, QuickTime videos, and gifs (if lucky), not to mention endless DMs and ticket comments.

Reproducing bugs became the most time-consuming activity during their testing process, slowing down not only the engineering team but also the product team that was trying to quickly fix problems for users. It was frustrating!

Niket and the team needed a tool that would seamlessly integrate into their current workflows and tooling while alleviating the inefficiencies their team experienced trying to reproduce bugs. As non-technical and technical teams were trying to communicate how to reproduce bugs to each other, the tool needed to be intuitive and easy to use by the whole company.

The solution

Finding the perfect tool to automate capturing bugs

One of the product designers, Nanz, introduced Jam to Niket who was immediately impressed by the founding members, the initial product, and how the team was open to feedback and easy to work alongside. Within a matter of weeks, the entire Laurel team was using Jam as a part of their development and debugging workflows.

"Previously, someone would report a bug and the feedback loop would begin with 'Can you show me or record?’ Now it's - 'Here is what happened and the Jam link” - Michael Tobias, Software Engineer

Capturing the bug as it occurs and sharing an instant reply

Unlike other video recording or screen capture tools, Jam will instantly record the last 30 seconds of the browser's state and screen to capture the bug as soon as it occurs. The team no longer has to go through all the steps to reproduce the bug, and can simply jump straight into the Jam to see the bug in action.

All the developer logs captured

Once the bug is captured through instant replay, all the developer logs such as network errors, console logs, device information and more are pre-recording within the Jam. No more Jira tickets that are 50+ comments deep or unnecessary calls with the engineering team to download the network traffic or HAR files to identify bugs locally or not.

Integrated with top-issue tracking tools

As Jam is integrated directly with Jira, Linear, Slack, and more tools, it seamlessly supports the Laurel team’s current workflows by automatically sending the Jam link and details to their Jira instance as a required field.

A user-friendly platform that emphasizes team collaboration

Introducing new tools can be cumbersome and take time to learn, but Jam was built to be so easy that non-technical teams could convey deeply technical details to engineers. This allows for clearer and faster communication and fosters a more positive culture through the testing process. The Laurel teams each have their own dashboards and can track the most important Jams relative to their side of the business.

"The idea that you can freeze a point in time and gather all the data within that point in time is just huge" - Shaun Bernhardt, Quality Software Engineer

As the teams can record a voiceover of what they were seeing, it makes a friendly tool for learning how people feel about the feature or experience in general. This is something that can be hard to capture and allows for more connection when fixing bugs.

The outcome

The perfect tool to instantly replay and communicate bugs

The Laurel team firmly believes technology and tooling choices enable them to return time, which includes their development lifecycles. This allows them to shorten feedback loops across releases and rollbacks and stay true to the company ethos of achieving a highly efficient fixed rate for their customers.

When the compression rate of your product development cycle is so short, you don't have to about worrying about breaking code anymore, it's just how fast can you fix it" - Niket Desai, VP of Product

Jam has helped them achieve a shortened development lifecycle by making the debugging process significantly shorter, so they can now in a matter of minutes - find it, fix it, and ship it. Jam will act as a parallel processor to an engineer, PM, QA, and customer success team member to articulate a problem and the root cause.

About Laurel

Laurel's automated timekeeping software frees professionals from tedious time tracking so they can focus on their work and understand where time is being spent.

The Laurel team is working on exciting product releases, powered by Jam. Recently they shipped a calendar view for users to see their billable hours across days. The feature was launched to a subset of users after early product previews in less than two weeks. You can find out more about their product here:

Dealing with bugs is 💩, but not with Jam.

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