Better Collective Spotlight: Staying on top of the tech game through QA mindset change

For the latest Better Collective Spotlight on SBC News, we delve into the quality assurance (QA) work behind the scenes at Better Collective, helping popular platforms such as to work as efficiently as possible.

Toms Jurjaks, Head of QA at Better Collective (pictured), explains more about how the company’s products benefit from these processes, why it’s so important in terms of spotting defects, and the automation work that takes away some of the load from agile testers.

SBC: What is Quality Assurance? And how can your products benefit from it?

TJ: Overall, the main goal of our Quality Assurance – or QA – work is to prevent and catch software defects, ensuring that Better Collective’s platforms are accessible, they load fast, the users have uninterrupted experiences and they get what they came for.

QA is often overlooked and some companies do not manage to build sufficient QA teams. Also, QA and testing are often thought to be synonyms, however for us the testing is just a part of QA along with Quality Control (QC).

At Better Collective, we have built a complete team that allows us to complete efficient testing, control quality and improve software development process in order to deliver the best products in the most efficient manner.

SBC: Why is it so important? What do the numbers tell us?

TJ: A study on structured systems analysis and design found that in agile software development, 56% of defects occur in the requirements phase and 27% emerge in the design phase, but only 7% during the actual coding phase. On top of that, the cost of fixing the defects increases 100x if they are found on a live website versus when they are found at the design stage. Therefore, it is essential that we do more than just testing.

SBC: Okay, so what is your approach to QA at Better Collective?

TJ: QA is heavily integrated with our development teams on a day to day basis. We invest in people and aim to change not only the QA mindset of the team, but the whole organisation – the message is that everyone is actually responsible for the quality of our products. 

Better Collective follows agile software development and therefore QA uses agile software testing practices. In the past year, we have adopted the “shift-left” testing principles, which means that the main goal is to find and prevent defects as early as possible in the development process rather than finding bugs in production.

And it doesn’t end just there. QC is also a big part of QA as we make sure all processes are followed and the quality remains high throughout the development of a product.

SBC: How can you make sure that testing practices are efficient?

TJ: In short, we have the right people in our teams. They are highly skilled and motivated, and we constantly optimise our processes to achieve high testing efficiency.

First, we have the agile testers that are present at all the development stages to ensure the “shift-left” testing. Then secondly, test automation engineers take away some of the load from agile testers by automating the tests which otherwise would have to be done manually over and over again. These automated regression tests ensure the stability of the application and offer greater test coverage and faster testing results.

And lastly, we have our own developers in QA who work very smart to provide all the tools for the testers and make sure that the testing is made as efficient and simple as possible.

SBC: Does the change in mentality supersede the importance of the process?

TJ: The QA processes at Better Collective are continuously developing, but within that we  are dedicated to changing the mentality of what it means to provide high quality products.

This means everyone taking some responsibility for delivering the best product possible, through finding and preventing issues as early as possible. That has been one of the key characteristics of change within QA at the company.

An additional side-remark is that the profile of a tester has changed a lot – those are not (as some might think) introverted people sitting on their own as it typically was a few years ago. Now they are energetic, communicable and deeply integrated with the whole team.

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