Building A Product To Track Code Quality and Developer Metrics
As the interim VP of Product and a Front End Developer, I am helping the team at Bliss build a platform that tracks the performance of developers, while giving teams a better understanding of their code quality.
This is a fascinating product challenge, as quantifying developer performance based on code quality is an incredibly hard product challenge that nobody has been able to solve.
I joined the team after they launched an initial product and had 50 paying customers. Our main focus has been building product features that increase retention.
Customer Development, Wireframes, Interaction Design, A/B Testing, Rapid Prototyping
We are building a tool that must appeal CTO's, who have incredibly high expectations for how the product should perform and which metrics we should report on the dashboard.
We also want the platform to help non-technical CEO's gain a better understanding of their code quality, and to gain a better understanding of technical debt.
This is particularly important for development teams who face the inevitable "why are we focusing on technical debt and not building new features?" question from the business side of their companies.
How can we build a platform that appeals to both CTO's and CEO's? Should we focus on startups or enterprise clients? These are the questions we face as we make product decisions and debate the importance of building new features with a small team.
We started by reviewing 30+ customer interviews and determining the KPI's we wanted to impact. The team agreed that retention is the #1 goal, and that metric has informed everything we have built to date.
Prioritizing product features has been one of the main challenges, as we only have two developers on the project (including myself), along with a designer. To help inform this process, we created a public Trello board to help us track features and get input from our early customers.
We release product features on a weekly basis and
1. Focus on people
The product needed to allow engineering managers and development to focus on individual developers. To accomplish this, we built a team insights dashboard and a developer leaderboard that our clients use on an everyday basis.
As a front-end developer, I helped build the dashboard that "Team Leaderboard" that has since become the focus of our product.
2. Landing Page / Product Tour
As part of the retention issue, we realized that many customers simply did not know how to use Bliss after joining the platform. To tackle this, we needed to improve our landing page and create a Product Tour for users after signing up.
We wanted to keep the landing page simple and easy to understand, just like our developer dashboards. The end result was this:
We created a Product Tour that highlights key features of the dashboard for customers after they sign up. We used Shepherd.js to create a four-step Product Tour and are still optimizing the experience.
3. Make BliSS More Social for Teams
To improve customer retention, we needed to make Bliss an "everyday" product for development teams. We noticed that most companies had team member who would check the dashboard and report back to their team.
CEO's, CTO's, and Product Managers love using Bliss to track developer performance and many of our early customers told us they wanted their entire team to have real-time visibility into the health of their code.
With the Slack integration, your entire team can track the quality of your code with real-time notifications for each commit.
We build a very simple way to add teammates through a modal that allows you to invite your teammates. This was a quick product tweak that encouraged customers to add multiple accounts and made them aware that Bliss could benefit the entire team, and not just managers.
By quickly building product features, we have expanded beyond the initial product which was built for CEO's to understand technical debt. We realized that our clients wanted Bliss to function as a dashboard for developer productivity which was a major product discovery.
We have also shifted the product to an enterprise focus (while continuing to work with startups) and signed our first major enterprise contracts which has been a huge breakthrough.
"Jeff has an excellent design and product sense that helped us quickly iterate through some important product experiments at Bliss.AI Inc.
He is metrics driven as well which made him a pleasure to work with. He really understands the startup ecosystem, how we operate and was willing to dive into some pretty intense code to help get his vision turned into a reality." - Ian Connor, CTO @ Bliss