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Why Small Bugs Matter at Cribl

Nick Tankersley
Written by Nick Tankersley

May 18, 2022

Everybody is used to dealing with the bugs on their smartphone and other technology devices In their homes that have been an issue for years. The fact that they may never be resolved is just one of those things that we’ve decided to accept. At Cribl, we approach this situation differently — we’re not okay with bugs of any size.

Our customers come first at Cribl, so the goal is always to have zero bugs that impact customer experience. Our first priority is to catch everything that we can and ensure that nothing reaches the customer. But sometimes bugs make their way through; when it comes to actual customer-reported bugs, we take reports seriously no matter the size or complexity of the problem. Even if a bug affects a single customer, that bug matters to us.

How We Approach Fixing Small Bugs

Just like you’ll hear actors say there are no small roles, we like to say there is really no such thing as a small bug. We treat them the same way we would major ones. We are constantly doing one-week sprints where we rebalance our workflow to make sure we’re focused on the most important issues — and when there’s a bug we can fix quickly, we just get it done.

On the surface, minor bugs may not seem like the worst thing in the world. If a small UI interaction doesn’t work correctly, you find a dead link, or you have to deal with a save button that is not always reliable when you click it, these things won’t necessarily interrupt your workflow as a customer or make the product unusable — but if over time you hit four, or five, six of those in a row, that’s going to equate to a bad user experience. Not cool.

We look at not only long-term strategic initiatives that we have on our roadmap but also look at what are the incremental improvements we need to make to ensure that customers have the best experience possible, whether it’s with Cribl Stream, Edge, or with any of the other products that we’ll have coming out this year.

An Open Line of Communication Through Our Community

The act of building software in and of itself has zero value — it’s all about what problems you’re solving for your customers. If you don’t talk to them directly, how do you know if you’re solving those problems? We have telemetry in our products and the ability to measure NPS scores. We also have formalized ways of tracking adoption for our products, but nothing really beats hearing day-in and day-out how people are using the product, where they are succeeding, where they’re struggling, or where they’re confused. That gives us a better sense of the fact that people are actually getting value out of what we build versus sending out a survey.

As a company grows, there is a tendency to create separation and layers between you and the customers. You start scaffolding other teams in place, creating official feedback forms and all that kind of stuff. There is value to some of that, but one of the things that break down when you do not prioritize a real community is the two-way nature of the conversation. As customers get further away from product and engineering, what ends up happening is the conversation becomes very one-directional. When customers tell somebody, “Hey, I would really like this feature.” That person tells a product person, that product person files a ticket, and there’s no conversation back and forth – no questions, no getting to the deeper level of the problem, no real chance to understand what the customer really needs.

For that reason, one of the things we focus on is keeping the Cribl Community engaged and open so that there’s a way to have a conversation regularly. Because not everything people ask for is a feature — sometimes it’s clarification, other times its documentation. We take each interaction and every bit of feedback as a gift – a great opportunity to be responsive to where customers’ real needs are.

Besides putting the customer first, another thing that’s important to us at Cribl is transparency with what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, and our priorities. We hope this gives our customers the feeling that they know they can be transparent with us as well. Cribl Stream and Edge solve really hard problems — our customers have unique issues and a wide range of challenges, so we want them to feel like we’re all having a round table discussion.

Accelerating Time to Value with Cribl Packs

A surprise bonus that came from addressing our customer concerns and fixing all of our small bugs was the idea for Cribl Packs. When you look at the timeline or the flow or the customer journey, there comes the point where every customer has to do things like author regexes or really make the data work for themselves in some way or another. We created Cribl Packs to accelerate customers’ time to value through that part of the process. We also have a contest going to keep things interesting.

We’ve taken in the collective experience of our sales engineers, solutions engineers, professional services folks, and customers, and we have bottled that up into these Packs. For a customer who is trying to reduce their Syslog traffic, shape their Windows event data or control their Palo Alto Networks logs, getting the data in is one part of the problem — we’ve made that as easy as we possibly can by giving customers all the flexibility that they need to get the data to us. Once it gets to us, Packs step in by helping the customer derive the value from that data they’re trying to derive. So whether that is reducing the overall volume of data so they can focus on what’s important, letting them optimize their license for downstream tools, or allowing them to reshape the data so that it is more usable when the time comes to analyze it — Packs deal with all of that for the customer.

The intention goes beyond just the ease of onboarding, but as something that becomes mission-critical. Packs become the thing that processes the data and does all of the heavy lifting. By interacting with customers daily, we learn exactly what they’re looking for — so whenever we find a unique or compelling use case, we find a way to pack it up and ship it out.

The moral of the story is that small bugs matter. Addressing them promptly makes things better for customers, makes our jobs at Cribl more gratifying, and creates a space for innovation, resulting in more vendor-agnostic solutions that allow you to control where your data lives, reduce volume, control costs, and shorten the time to derive key insights from your data.

The fastest way to get started with Cribl Stream and Cribl Edge is to try the Free Cloud Sandboxes.

Questions about our technology? We’d love to chat with you.