7 months ago
Teams of Scale: Quality Engineering
Our Quality Engineering team is as wonderfully interesting as the people in it. Many of them come from different backgrounds and bring their unique personalities to a community, which collectively believes quality is a mindset. Our QE teammates are masters at upholding high standards across projects and processes even when doing so requires putting a foot down. Their positive energy singles them out as one of the warmest and coolest Scalefocus teams. Dive in to learn what makes them so loveable and great to be around.
Introduce us to your team – how many specialists are there and what do you do?
The Scalefocus Quality Engineering (QE) team consists of over 80 highly skilled professionals who are engaged in the entire software development life cycle (SDLC). We follow a holistic approach with practices that focus on the quality of development at every stage of the project. We strive to enforce a culture in which everyone, no matter their role, is committed to following all established processes and standards. In this way, the entirety of a team is responsible for the final product and its quality.
What technologies do you use?
We select technologies that best fit the needs of а specific project. Sometimes this means opting for established ones such as Selenium WebDriver, Rest Assured/RestSharp, Cucumber/Specflow, Cypress.io, Appium, etc. Overall, however, we don’t limit ourselves and the variety of our projects allows us to explore niche or new technologies that would be most optimal in а specific situation. For one of our projects, for instance, we use Groovy based framework to test an integration solution based on Oracle Service Bus.
What projects are you working on?
Our projects are extremely diverse when it comes to the technologies we use and in terms of industries – Energy, Healthcare, Finance and Banking, e-Commerce and Retail, etc. The complexity of the projects allows us to use innovative solutions in our work every day, which in turn helps us build on our skills and helps us grow.
How do you work and how often do you go to the office?
Our model is flexible because working from home is here to stay. Our colleagues are completely free to choose whether to work from their place, in one of our 7 office locations or from a co-working space with a breathtaking view of the seaside. We hold internal and cross-team knowledge-transfer sessions for which most people opt to come to the office. We use the opportunity to discuss work-related topics and to just spend quality time together.
How does a typical workday look like for people in your team?
The day is different for everyone depending on their role and on the tasks they perform in a project. Generally, however, everyone has a Scrum meeting, which is a project meeting about progress updates and action plans. We spend the majority of the day working on distributed tasks, mostly software testing with all testing approaches (manual or automated). From the early stages of implementation, we ensure constant quality improvement of solutions, as well as the prevention of serious omissions or inaccuracies. We cover all phases of the SDLC and tailor testing methods to the project phase and work model. It’s very dynamic, but in the QE team we try to learn constantly and share what we know.
What other teams and departments do you collaborate with most frequently?
Apart from QE specialists, a project’s entire team typically consist of developers, DevOps, business analysts, and project coordinators, so we mostly work with these units. There is collaboration across all technology departments but also close cooperation with our project and delivery management teams. We also work with colleagues from HR, particularly with training and development specialists, as well as with colleagues from recruitment.
Tell us about something your team is proud of.
We are proud of the perseverance of our team members. It’s a key trait for the modern QE specialist. Working toward quality improvement, not only when it comes to software, but also when we talk about processes, means that we will be facing a level of resistance. Therefore, persistence and consistency are important to implementing new ideas. We are happy we share this tenacity, which is why we have repeatedly been called trendsetters in the company.
What do you like doing together outside of work?
Like most IT teams that haven’t spent much time together for the past three years, we like to see each other in and out of the office when our schedules allow it. Many team members love to be outdoors and go on group hikes. Recently, colleagues in North Macedonia did a go-kart ride. In Sofia, we organized Scalefocus Summer Fest, a large-scale get-together in Maimunarnika, and colleagues from all offices spent time together for the first time since the pandemic started. We also enjoy after-work birthday celebrations in the office – that’s when some of the most memorable parties happen, often featuring karaoke performances by the bold ones among us.
What brings your team closer together?
We have built a culture of acceptance and collectiveness – we always look for solutions to problems on a team level, we don’t waste time and energy discussing whose fault it was. This makes our work more efficient, but also brings us closer as people because everyone makes mistakes. It’s important what happens next, how people get past it and what conclusions they arrive at.
How do new people fit into your team?
We do our best to make new people become a vital part of the QE team as smoothly as possible. Our Technology Team Leads tailor a mentoring program for each new colleague. Senior engineers are always available to pass on their knowledge and experience, too. If the question is whether newcomers fit in quickly – absolutely! What unites our QE team is that the people in it have nothing in common. Everyone has their interests and previous experience. Even if it sounds counterintuitive, this doesn’t harm our work or sense of community; on the contrary – it makes us enthusiastic about being part of this team and giving each other different perspectives.
How would you answer the question, “If you are…….…, come join our team”?
If you are a team player, if you not only know how to identify problems quickly but also enjoy finding solutions for them, and if you want to be part of an international company and work on interesting projects, join our team!
Overcoming your fears
Alex has 13 years of experience as a Quality Engineer, 6 of which at Scalefocus. When she first began programming, it intimidated her, even though she got a degree in Informatics from Sofia University. She started out with manual testing but went on to do automated testing and writing code around the time she joined the company.
Thanks to her persistence and with the help of her teammates, Alex managed to overcome her fear – her biggest professional success so far. She managed to build her character by running. Alex started to jog when she was a student and today, a decade later, she hasn’t given up on it. She loves spending time outdoors and says there are people in the company who may not know what she does, but most of them have heard of her passion for sports in all its forms.
Back to the roots
At the beginning of the pandemic, Tsvetan returned to his native village of Mogilitsa where locals have managed to preserve their kindness and the traditions of the Rhodope region. Because of the Work from Everywhere model, Tsetso chose to stay there even after the loosening of Covid restrictions. There, he learned to do a bit of everything.
He met Salih Pashov, known as the Pasha or the last keeper of old dairy farming in the Rhodopes, who passed on to him a five-century old recipe for home-made cheese. Later Tsetso found out that it belonged to his great-grandfather. He brews apricot rakia, which his colleagues have had the pleasure of trying. Together with the people of the village, he is making improvements in the environment to turn Mogilitsa into a better place to live. Tsetso is also behind the website www.mogilitsa.com offering detailed information about what the beautiful Rhodope village has to offer its visitors.
Motorcycles as a worldview
Anton doesn’t stand still. He gets on his motorbike, which has been his great passion for 8 years, and drives off. Even if he doesn’t know where he’s headed, the road leads him. He likes meeting new people on the go and believes that motorcycle lovers are a special breed – friendships in such communities last a lifetime. Anton used to be a bartender for 10 years, but decided he needed more freedom in his life.
After completing a Quality Assurance course and with a pinch of luck, he re-started his professional path and has been part of Scalefocus for over 2 years. He took this leap of faith after the start of the pandemic when he joined an initiative to help people affected by Covid. This experience was transformative and made him realize he had nothing to lose. He says that the decision to become a QE specialist was the best he ever made, and different social initiatives, like Bulgaria’s Different Children, are now an important part of his life.
Chasing the perfect frame
Alexander loves drama, but only in photography. For him, the perfect landscape photo is one in which a storm is raging, for example. He bought his first Nikon 6 years ago to capture the beauty of the mountains he climbed. А photo of his was published by 38 official social media Nikon pages in Europe, as well as by the official Instagram account of Nikon USA. Another picture he took, a breathtaking shot of an Irish lighthouse, was among the top 6 in the Landscape category of the prestigious competition 500px and Neil Dankoff.
Over the years, Alex has also been involved in acting, sketch comedy and voiceover. If you are in North Macedonia and you hear his voice in a TV series, don’t be surprised. He is happy to be a part of the Scalefocus team in Skopje because he keeps developing his skills through to interesting projects and thanks to his dedicated teammates.
Finally, how would you describe your team?
Our team is large and relatively dispersed – we have colleagues in all 7 Scalefocus locations (Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas, Skopje, Bitola, and Istanbul), but this doesn’t make us less close. For us, Quality Engineering is not only the technologies and tools ensuring quality software development; it’s a way of thinking.