Let’s talk about QA processes at Innocode — meet Ira!

Iryna, Innocode Lviv
Tema: Q&A, Development

Meet Iryna, our QA Lead. We invited her at Innocode to help us optimize QA processes. Ira has 7 years of experience in tech and a background in Culturology (and it’s not what you think). She joined us less than half a year and results of her presence are already visible. We’d like to share our problem-solving story with you. Hopefully, you’ll find something useful here!

Say hi to Iryna!

How I started at Innocode?

My first and most important task when I joined Innocode was to stabilize QA processes on all products and projects we do. I had to analyze the existing process of testing on each of them and after — optimize them and adapt to our routine, using the best of QA tendencies.

When I just started, we had quite a small QA team at Innocode, and that’s the reason why the load on everyone was high.

The biggest problem was that we had more projects, than QAs, and at the same time, we had to keep the high quality on each of them.

Here came my first difficulty — to learn how to work in a team, where one person works on different products and belongs to several scrum teams. I came from outsource, where it was never expected to work on many projects at once (for most people). So first, I got to adapt to Innocode’s approach.

For a moment I had this internal conflict — how to avoid telling everyone: “…okay, guys, we have to change something, so from today we’ll do everything in a new way…”. For me it was important not to stress everyone out during this quite stressful times. We didn’t have time for gradual changes — we had the strategic development plans approved. As QAs we had to catch up with the development teams fast and finally start testing on all levels.

For me it was a very interesting task — how to start working effectively in a high load routine; how to avoid all the “exhaustive testing” (to my opinion), and prevent people from burning out.

People can do a lot, but not for a very long time.

So, how I analyzed:
1. Looked at all types of work QA does in a sprint;
2. Collected metrics;
3. Carried Risk analysis and Impact analysis;
4. The last one — analyzed the sprint as a whole: what did we do, what we didn’t, and the reasons.

Results:
Most often, the reasons why we fell behind sprints, were urgent issues, that we had to solve “now”. We had to switch from the planned work, and do the firefighting: provide support for a new client, release a new license etc. Clearly, it’s important to focus on the new clients: if they are happy — we are happy. But the unplanned urgency prevented QAs from fully completing the sprint.

Though, not everything was so obvious. When we analyzed production defects, it took us days to understand them — these were old issues that we didn’t have time to pay attention to long ago (apparently because we were firefighting). So. here what we did.

What we did:

Before, as QAs, we used to do a lot of high-level functional testing, support and a bit of regression. Now, we decided to pay more attention to regression testing and documentation. We already managed to update checklists, used for regression. Regarding test cases, we decided to skip them — one thing is that there was no time for it and also, we don’t actually need them on products. But what we did is that we updated test scenarios for existing functionality and added up new ones. It gave us the possibility to become interchangeable and, for example, now we can take vacations without putting the whole process at risk.

Plans
Now we look for qualified QA Engineers to join our team. And before Christmas we would like to make everyone be able to replace each other on all the products if needed. That will allow us to move towards our goals simultaneously. Since our products are very much aligned with each other, QA team has to work very close and share the common base of knowledge. And I’m happy to say we are on the way to reach this goal.

Additionally, we plan to synchronize testing environments and sync activities as well. With that in mind, we’ll soon get to integration testing (in addition to regression one).

Background
I graduated from Cultural Studies. And you know, whenever someone hears about that, the first thing they imagine is traditional Ukrainian embroidery and gopak 🙂 But Culturology is a very interesting science and I loved it so so much. It’s like.. to analyze what the guy by that table could think about your keds. Or, for example, you are given a painting of the late Renaissance and you are asked to evaluate it as if you were a peasant from a small French village. Nowadays, culturologists participate in forming trends. Take the Pantone of 2018 — it’s not just the popular color, it was chosen to be so, based on many factors like cultural differences in countries, their economy etc.. That’s why society can catch up with it so quickly. In software development that means for e.g. — to create a feature that would not only fit one client’s need but would work in the whole market. And that’s something I would like to do someday.

Something we don’t cover in this story — Ira’s passion for traveling
All in all, I have 7 years in tech. First, I started at the HR department of SoftServe Certification Center. But for me, it wasn’t much fun, and I wanted to do something connected with Cultural Studies (that days I had a second CV always ready:) ). So, when I had the opportunity to work with the Slava Frolova Cultural Fund, I took it. We supported young Ukrainian artists, organized exhibitions for them and made sure their works were needed. It lasted for a year or so — the first half of the day I worked in the Certification Center, the other half — remotely on Fund’s initiatives. After that, I took the QA course and started to work with the girl, who had 9 years of experience as the QA Lead — everything she did was perfect and I learned a lot from her. The project we worked on was very demanding itself — for e.g. we had to pay attention to rounding up to hundredths in calculations. After that everything I started didn’t seem hard at all 🙂

I am one of those people, who can’t stay for too long (like 5 years) on one project. That’s why I changed a lot of projects and domains. If I realize, that I can answer any question, and there’s nothing left to discover, I know it’s a sign to move on. And now I’m happy to be at Innocode.