Picnic was looking for a scalable monitoring and reporting tool that would help them accelerate from an early stage minimum viable product (MVP) to a large-scale multi-country solution while maintaining overall application stability.
Picnic now benefits from early awareness of stability issues and automated processes for faster error fixing. As a result, their product teams can handle product changes and build new releases with confidence.
Picnic is an Amsterdam based startup that makes grocery shopping simple, fun, and affordable for everyone. They launched in 2015 after building the platform and service in stealth-mode with 30 engineers. Then things came quickly together: 2015 challenger award, 2016 best start-up award, 2017 most innovative company award, 2018 fastest growing company award.
As Picnic’s engineering teams grew in size, their need for end-to-end application stability and robust service operations also increased. Daniel Gebler, Picnic’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO), explains, “For teams growing beyond 20 or 30 engineers it is absolutely essential to have automated monitoring, alerting, and recovery processes in place.”
Picnic’s engineering, DevOps, and QA teams initially monitored errors manually by relying on logs, but Daniel recognized that this strategy was falling short due to its lack of automation. “What was an implicit process needed to become an enforced process to add more discipline and give us complete control over our error monitoring,” Daniel states.
Picnic looked at a couple of tools that automate log management, but they wanted a more substantial solution that would support the three pillars of their technology roadmap, namely: business development in new countries and cities; logistical opportunities to better utilize assets; and process automation to improve operations and customer experiences.
Bugsnag is now used by all product teams at Picnic. “The decision was relatively easy. Our use cases aligned, and the team was comfortable after trying the tool,” Daniel explains. “Bugsnag also matched what we look for in partnerships, as we strive to work with technology-focused startup companies that are trying to make a real change in the world.”
Picnic now enables automated error monitoring across engineering, QA, and DevOps teams with Bugsnag. Through its integration with Slack, Bugsnag allows Picnic to benefit from seamless information sharing across systems, and teams are provided immediate alerts when issues arise.
Bugsnag is also integrated with Jira and Picnic’s purchase order management (POM) and warehouse management systems. These integrations enable each team to monitor the different stages to ensure error-free releases and application operations, with QA working on user acceptance testing and DevOps monitoring production.
“The two biggest contributions that Bugsnag provides us with are visibility and an enforced process around error handling,” states Daniel.
“We now have earlier awareness of errors, and the teams definitely have more confidence in the way they work on stability issues, how they create new releases, and how they handle product changes.” Daniel explains that Bugsnag plays an important role in application stability for two important reasons: first, whenever Picnic builds a new service or product, they can now move faster from an MVP to a scalable solution; and second, Bugsnag helps to keep their current solutions stable while growing the business. Even at increased scale and staggering growth rates, Picnic is able to maintain overall application stability.
Picnic currently runs their Java-based backend applications in Bugsnag and anticipates adding their mobile and Python applications in the future.
While Daniel views process enforcement as the most valuable contribution Bugsnag brings to Picnic, he also cites the decrease in time-to-resolution. With real-time error monitoring in place, his teams benefit from automatic notifications and the ability to find bugs faster.
“My observation is that the teams, especially the DevOps team and the quality assurance team, are much more efficient in how we compare releases and how we deploy, which means you start to deploy with confidence,” explains Daniel.
Bugsnag has also played a part in helping Picnic achieve broader company goals. As Daniel states, “We definitely see increased product quality and decreased crash rates, which Bugsnag has played a role in helping us achieve.”
Daniel believes that every midsize or large engineering team would benefit from enforcing process through a solution like Bugsnag. “Engineers won’t ever want to give it up once they use it,” Daniel states. “I would definitely recommend it.”