I Am Fourth

Today we are meeting you with Velichka Zhezheva (Villie), who has over sixteen years of experience in Quality Assurance and since the beginning of this year is occupying the role of QA Technical Lead at Fourth.

Villie, would you please share how your role at Fourth has evolved over the years and what has stayed the same?

I’ve joined the Fourth family in 2017 as a Principal QA in the FourthApp team. In this role I worked closely with my scrum team focusing to deliver a quality product for our clients. My responsibilities included writing UI automation tests with Selenium, Specflow and C#, testing mobile applications (iOS and Android). I also collaborated closely with Product Owners, Product Managers, Scrum Masters, Software Engineering Manager so we can all achieve better results. The hands-on experience which I gathered during the years as a QA prepared me for my new role – QA Technical Lead. I am in this role since January 2021 and my focus is to apply best practices within the different engineering teams at Fourth, define the Global QA Strategy, work closely with the different engineering teams, consult and guide them when needed, introduce new tools and technologies, develop and extend the existing Fourth Automation Framework used by all teams.

What is the role of the Technical QA @ Fourth?

The Technical QA at Fourth is a strategic and consulting role that is part of the Engineering department and acts as a subject matter expert for testing consultancy.

Тhis is not a standard QA role that is part of a Scrum team. The Technical QA defines and assists in implementing the company QA Strategy, tools and frameworks, as well as drives continuous improvements in the testing processes and practices of all delivery teams. My team also assists with defining and reviewing quality KPI’s so we can measure the effectiveness of our quality gates and achieve higher product quality.

Another aspect of the role is the close collaboration with Software Engineering Managers, Product Managers, and other key stakeholders – we work together on the daily basis and agree on strategic initiatives and improvements for the company. The most inspiring part of my job is that I can really make a difference and drive positive change on a company level. It is in my hands to speak up, share my vision and present my ideas for driving technical excellence and high quality.

What are you and your team currently working on?

Everyday is different and challenging, this is why I love my role. On a day-to-day basis we work with the engineering teams when they have technical challenges or a question – me and the team help them with ideas, guidelines, and suggestions on different approaches and ways to get things done.

On top of that, one of the initiatives that my team is currently working on is called “Product Quality” – it has been kicked off with one of the Agile Release Trains (ARTs) in the company and the general goal is to identify areas of improvement in the QA processes of the different engineering teams, drive alignment and of course improve quality of our products. My role in this project is to do something like “audit report” for each engineering team and provide recommendations. These suggestions are then discussed with key stakeholders, an action plan is created for each team and technical user stories are created and planned in the sprints.

Another interesting project that I have recently worked on is defining KPIs for product quality at Fourth. Such KPIs are new production defects per month, fixed production defects per month, open production defects backlog, Priority 1 and Priority 2 incidents for a selected period, successful vs. failed releases for a selected period. By tracking and analyzing these results, we as a company can make informed decisions and suggest areas for improvement.

And one more interesting aspect of my role is to be an active contributor in the Technical Excellence community at Fourth. The goal of this internal community is to promote best practices within the teams and drive technical excellence. Once per month we held a QA Community of Practice meeting during which QAs from the different teams discuss different topics which are interesting for everyone, exchange experience and ideas.

What are the biggest challenges that the development teams are currently facing in terms of Quality and how are you and your team supporting them?

There are different types of challenges, depending on the maturity state of the products that the teams are working on. Some of them struggle to get the Performance tests created and running, others are setting up their automation project for writing UI tests, others are migrating to Azure pipelines, etc. Me and the team are supporting them by providing guidelines, discussing the different options, and sharing what are the pros and cons of each approach and recommending them how to implement the agreed next steps.

Your team is growing – what type of person are you looking to join the team?

Yes, we are looking for a friendly, open-minded, experienced QA with good communication and presentation skills and excellent technical knowledge to join myself as a Technical QA in the team in Sofia. The perfect candidate for this role will have hands-on experience with different tools and technologies, experience with functional and non-functional testing, practical experience with designing Test Automation framework, experience with DevOps tasks. We are looking to welcome a team player that is positive, proactive, able to adapt and make suggestions for improvement. Being able to see the glass half full instead of half empty.

What has been the most valuable advice you have received from a friend/colleague/mentor that you still remember and apply in your everyday work?

Once my manager told me that “Going outside of your comfort zone helps you grow as a person and professional.” Which is absolutely true! Very often there are situations, decisions, events that we haven’t expected, we were not ready for them, not happy with them. Sometimes there are even instances when we feel disappointed, but every challenge which we face helps us learn, makes us more adaptable and forces us to improve.

So change is always for good!

Describe Fourth with one word.

If I have to say only one word, it would be “Caring”.

At Fourth we help each other, respect the different opinions, we communicate openly with each other, have fun together and work as one big team.

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