QArea: I’ve heard from colleagues that you sometimes visit our offices. Do you think it’s mandatory to travel to your offshore partners, or is this a personal preference?
Alex: Both. Each company has its own policy, and since it’s Shuttefly’s policy — I do it. But more than that, I also think it’s just the right thing to do. It allows people to talk to you directly, to “skip” a level of management and talk to the manager who is above their manager. It’s often a good practice.
It brings morale up, allows people to have a face-to-face discussion, and gives me a lot of information that I probably wouldn’t see if I was sitting in my office far from where the real action is happening.
Right now we have 17 people working with us at QArea, and while I periodically talk to the project manager, I also try to visit the office in Lviv once or twice a year. I talk to the engineers, hear their concerns, answer questions directly, etc. But I do this for all other outsourcing vendors as well. It’s a standard procedure at Shutterfly.
I’m not involved on a day-to-day basis, but I’m always up-to-date on what people are doing, who’s working on the project, the attrition rate, and so on.
QArea: Let’s talk about the future. What are some of the changes and trends that you see in the industry?
Alex: The main direction that everyone in Silicon Valley is going towards is pushing people working in QE to move from manual testing to software in testing engineers. This means that they should know the code base, be able to debug, and know how individual parts of the whole system interact with each other. Plus, there is a further emphasis being placed on automation and using machine learning in the QE process.
And finally, companies in Silicon Valley continue to strive towards shortening the release cycle even further. There is a lot of emphasis placed on being able to bring new features to customers quickly and to make sure the time-to-market for new products is as short as possible.