As a contact center professional, do you ever wonder what happens behind the scenes for products of the highest standard to reach you? Products that enable you to fulfill your role for your customers?
We interviewed Patrick O’Connor, Quality Assurance Manager at Spearline who gives us some behind the scenes insights and describes his team as customer representatives.
Please briefly explain your role.
I'm the QA manager at Spearline and I've been working in the area of QA for about 10 years. QA stands for Quality Assurance. We're the last stop before the customers receive the product and we're that last check before it’s issued, just to make sure everything is the way it should be. In some ways, we are a customer representative. Half of the role is part of the development team with the other half being the customer. The role becomes a nice healthy mix of everything and in between. Our goal is to make sure that what we produce is to the quality we all expect and we're putting our best foot forward for our customers.
Would you consider QA to be the last step of the project pipeline before releasing the product to the customers?
Yes, the last thing that happens, any feature, any bug fix, anything like that, gets QA verified, which basically means, someone from QA is taking a look at it and fixing any issues. One of the big things we do is we want to make sure that if the development team adds a new feature, it doesn't break existing functionality, which can sometimes happen. We have what's called a regression suite for that, which means even though the fix/new feature is in the number section, we'll also check the campaign section as well as checking the manual tester. We need to be careful as we never know what happened under the hood or some unusual knock-on effect might have happened. A big part of what we do is making sure that the new features don’t imp the existing ones.
When you test the platform to ensure the customers have optimal customer experience without any issues, is there any danger of being too careful?
While there's no real danger of being too careful, you could be too pedantic for sure. We have a complex platform, so there's millions if not billions of ways of making numbers and making campaigns. Even with the best automation in the world, you're not going to hit every single one of those so it's about picking our spots and making sure we get the best coverage in the time we have available to actually do it and not go down rabbit holes at the last second.
What types of programs and languages do you use?
Similarly enough to what the development team use, we use Python. We do that just to keep things simple, meaning we're not having to chop and change between various different languages and technologies. Python is a great language, it's easy to understand and it's very well supported. With any new features we want to try, it usually has great support for it. We use various different modules or plugins to do our work. We rely heavily on a module called Selenium, which is how we interact with the browser. If you were to see one of our programs running, it would look like the computer is erratic because the mouse would literally be moving around the screen on its own. This happens because we want to simulate what the user does. Selenium allows this to happen. We would manually test if it was something small, but we want the computer to do our work for us because there are thousands of tests inside there and it would take me two weeks, or more, to run that, while a computer will do it in two hours. It's less time-consuming and more efficient. When I’m away from my desk, the computer is doing my work for me. So selenium is that bridge for us. It takes our Python script and it's able to feed those commands into Chrome and actually do those button clicks and enter text and much more.
To listen in on more of this interview, be sure to tune in to the latest episode of the Spearline Podcast.