At Avinode, we are constantly (you could even say voraciously) improving our products and expanding their features. In order to move quickly, we move carefully. This is where the indispensable perspectives of our software testers come into play — to help make sure a new feature works as it should, often before it even exists!
Here Akshaya Ravishankar, a Test Lead at our Gothenburg office, gives us a rundown of how testing fits into the bigger picture of building great technology.
Let’s begin from your beginning shall we! Can you tell us about the “young Akshaya” growing up in India and her interest in all things technical?
I’ve always been into tech, ever since I remember. I’ve always curious about how things worked. My dad bought us a computer and I was strictly told not to play games on it. When I got home from school early, I would play Age of Empires. (I still do). I secretly installed it and put it in a folder that I knew he wouldn’t find! And I remember one day when a technician came over to fix the computer and he opened the CPU. My god, I loved how it looked on the inside!
Fast forward, you are a Test Lead at Avinode Group’s Gothenburg office. What is testing exactly and why is it important?
Testers essentially ensure that new code doesn’t break older code and that everything works well all together. They also look out for how a new functionality works with the other features in the codebase.
But as a Test Lead, we not only test, but we like to highlight risks early enough to create efficiencies in the way we develop and deploy software. Because the cheapest bug to fix is the one we never wrote!
At what stage of the development process do testers usually get involved?
It’s best when we are involved as early as possible. But, mostly, it depends. Sometimes we involve ourselves when the specifications for a project are ready and start asking questions then. Officially, testing starts during the “grooming” process at the latest. During grooming, everyone in the development team discusses and asks questions about the feature before the programmers start to code. Testing starts before even a single line of code is written.
The sooner the Test Leads get involved, the easier it is for us to build a mental picture of how the new feature will work and the sooner potential issues can be flagged.
So, it takes a village!
Yes! The teamwork is great here, unlike in strict waterfall-process companies where a tester is considered only the gatekeeper for quality. Here at Avinode, everyone contributes to ensuring quality, and if something goes wrong, the whole team comes together. No one wastes time on post mortem, we just take a look at what needs to be done and do it.
And what does this village do for fun?
Well, there’s a small gang of us in the tech department that play Pokemon GO. We’ve been playing for two and a half years now. When we’re working, sometimes we look for raids where we can catch a special pokemon. We also have gaming Wednesdays where we play board games and sometimes play on the NES classic. There are a few that play FIFA. Some of us also do yoga every morning. Almost. So there is a lot of work and fun!