Test Manager in action – female perspective on IT career and working on the P1 project

We have already written about the P1 project (Healthcare Digitization) in the context of implemented solutions, and we presented our developer’s point of view. This time we want to invite you on a further “behind the scenes” journey with another guide – Marta Janiszewska.

Marta, as a Test Manager, can you briefly describe your main tasks in this role?

Marta Janiszewska: Sure! Test Manager is a person primarily responsible for the efficient course of testing implemented solutions. They coordinate the work of the test teams, keep an eye on the entire process, and make sure that everything works as it should. However, this is only a part of what I do on a daily basis. In addition to ensuring the quality and timely execution of all the tests, I also take care of solving various problems that may occur within development teams. Often, each of them consists of a dozen or more people, like in the P1 project. It can be quite challenging sometimes.

I can imagine it requires a lot of juggling many things at the same time. How does this testing process work from a backstage perspective?

MJ: It all starts with developers who create a specific application or solution. The testers work with what they get. They verify everything from A to Z. If they find a bug, they have to double-check it to confirm that something needs to be corrected. Then the case is reported and forwarded for fixing. Later, after uploading the patch to the environment, the tester verifies once again if the problem has been solved. However, we also have to double-check if improving one element did not break other functionalities and whether the whole thing works as it should. In other words, we make sure to perform regression tests. The tester, based on the received Use Cases, also creates test cases for the functionality and submits them for verification. If there are any doubts regarding the quality – they have to be corrected and the verification process starts all over again until the final acceptance.

How do you feel about working with such a numerous team?

MJ: Great! First of all, I appreciate the diversity – in a large group there are many different personalities and points of view. The greater the variety of knowledge, competencies, and experiences, the more interesting the problem-solving approaches are. However, we all share a common goal – we want to do our job as quickly and as best as possible to provide complete functionalities to the end customers.

In case of the P1 project, your end customer is every user of the e-health system. Does it change anything in your approach to this particular project?

MJ: The new and exciting aspect for me is that I can see the real effects of our production environment work. Usually, the projects we work on do not concern us directly, because they are used internally by the clients, e.g. in logistics or accounting. We do not have direct contact with the program or the end-user in our everyday life.

In this case, the effects of our work are widely commented on TV and Social Media, but also among our family members, friends, or doctors, so we get feedback quite regularly.

Besides, thanks to the fact that we work on this project and know it well from the inside out, we can tell a lot about it to your family or friends – inform, educate, clarify doubts and solve problems.

What is the most interesting about your work?

MJ: In the case of this project, we certainly influence the entire testing process. We have developed it ourselves and constantly improve it according to our needs. The client does not project anything on us, which is quite rare in such a complex project. Usually, the process and tool are predetermined. I am not saying that it is a bad thing. If it works well and a certain way of working has been developed for years, this is the most appropriate approach. However, the opportunity to participate in the construction of the test process framework is an exciting and valuable experience. 

And generally, in the broader context of what you do?

The most interesting moments in the Test Manager’s work are those when internal tests of given components must be carried out in close cooperation between different teams. They have to be planned so that all types of tests are performed efficiently without overloading anyone in the team with work. Additionally, there are acceptance tests. Although they are performed by an independent team of testers, we provide them with direct support and solve reported problems, while having the next internal tests planned in the sprint. That is why I supervise reported errors, check their validity, and mediate in fixing them or clarifying any issues.

I like working with people and solving problems. Probably it has to do with my personality type and completed socio-economic studies.

About that, how did you get the idea for an IT career? I know that you are a sociology graduate, so the tester’s job probably wasn’t a typical direction for you?

Partially that’s true, but it also depends on your point of view.

If we look at sociology as a typical direction for humanists, then you’re right. However, there are two faces of this domain: qualitative sociology and quantitative sociology (working on numerical data). I was interested in the latter and looking forward to exploring it further. Unfortunately it turned out that my university would not launch this type of master’s degree, so I moved towards economics. 

How did your career develop after that?

I started my first job as a consultant implementing ERP systems. I was given a topic and taking care of it from beginning to end: starting from analysis, solutions presentation, supervision and testing of customized functionalities, to implementation and service. When doing this, I realized that I’m really good at detecting errors, often not the obvious ones. It got to the point that my colleagues asked me to spend 10 minutes testing the changes in their projects, because ‘it has already been tested by 3 people, there are probably no errors, but just double-check’. I always found something. Since it gave me great pleasure, I began to seriously consider changing my position. This is how my adventure with testing began and it continues to this day. I regret nothing!

AM: I have one more “philosophical” question. Despite the growing popularity of the IT industry, among women too, it is still quite dominated by men. Do you have any ideas how to encourage women to try their hand at being a tester? Is this a good way to start an IT career?

To begin with, I would like to point out that IT is not for everyone, contrary to what the advertisements say. There is no profession at all that would be suitable for everyone.

Being a tester is a great direction not only to start in the industry, but also for life! However, if someone does not really see themselves as a tester and wants to go further – towards programming for example, there are many other positions in IT to ‘enter’ the industry. Like system administration, or a real-life example, from the position of a handyman in the IT company.

Speaking about women, they work very well as testers, because they are by nature more inquisitive and less likely to give up on developers who try to sell them off with the iconic line: ‘it’s not a bug, it’s a feature’. These are very important qualities that are the foundations for being a good tester and I think that women have it easier here. It’s just in our nature 😉

When it comes to motivation, I’d just like to ask a simple question: “How do you know you connot do this until you’ve tried?”

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