What’s it all about?
As the Talent Team QA specialist, I am considered an honorary member of the vibrant ASOS QA community. I was challenged by our Lead QA group to enrich my knowledge in the subject by getting as close to the ground as possible — in particular to learn more about analytical thinking and agile working practices. It was decided that a great way to achieve this would be to spend a few days embedded within our Customer Experience (CX) Technology Domain, and the idea for ‘Lee’s Testing Safari’ was born. The aim of the safari was to provide me with a two-day experience that included testing sessions and workshops, mixed in and around the usual business activities of our QAs. My job was to ‘get stuck in’, and that’s exactly what I did.
I think it goes without saying that I wasn’t going to come across any lions or tigers during my adventure with CX. However, what I did find was an incredible group of people who are warm, considerate and generous with their time. Our QAs were happy to share their insights and provide tuition in a manner that was suited to a non-tech minded person like me. I like to think I already knew a fair amount about technology, but I’m a strong believer that it’s always good to know more and so I embarked on my safari eager to delve deeper!
What did we cover?
During the sessions, a multitude of subjects were covered. Here’s a summary of the itinerary:
· Introduction into the Agile testing mindset/modern testing principles — We love testing at ASOS Tech, but we also understand that approaches change and evolve over time. I was introduced to these at the start as a foundation for anything that I might also learn throughout the day.
· The ASOS QA values — These are a set of values that our QAs and engineering teams can use to help them deliver software of a high quality. I’m sure there’ll be a blog post in the future explaining just what these are!
· Shadowing a production release — We do a lot of releases at ASOS Tech (last year we put 3,000+ releases into production) and our QAs play a big part in that. This involved sitting down with the QA who was performing the release and helping them in any way I could.
· Continuous Integration (CI) & Continuous Delivery (CD) workshop — To help us complete more releases this year, we are moving towards CI & CD. CI is all about gathering feedback from automated checks about the state of our software, and CD is about being able to continuously deliver software that is of a known quality. This workshop provided an understanding of the why and the how behind it.
· Introduction to API Testing — An API is a way for two programs to talk to one another using a common language. As we are in a micro-service architecture, we have a lot of APIs, and they all need testing.
· Introduction to Usability Testing — This is all about understanding how easy it is to use something. It very much involves thinking about how people will interact, and making sure that they have a high-quality experience when using our apps and site.
· QA community debate — exploratory testing vs automated checking — This was an interesting debate, and most definitely eye-opening for me. We came to the conclusion that (like anything), it very much depends on the context and what you are trying to achieve.
· Load testing an API — As you know, we now have a lot of APIs. We also have a large amount of traffic! This means we need to be sure that our APIs can handle this. We use Visual Studio Load Test and Azure to help us manage this, and this involved sitting with one of our QAs to take me through how we do it on a daily basis.
· Introduction to BDD — BDD stands for Behaviour Driven Development; it’s about identifying behaviours that you want out of a piece of software and then using that to drive your acceptance criteria and subsequently your acceptance tests.
· System Integration testing (focusing on a new feature) — This involved sitting with the QAs and testing a new feature. I learned how they go about identifying what new features to test — I got the chance to do this myself!
What did I learn?
I think it’s fair to say that no day is ever the same for any of our QA Engineers at ASOS Tech. You could be preparing for and executing a new software release in the morning, then breaking away from core activities in the afternoon to participate in a debate on that age-old question: ‘exploratory testing vs automation testing, which is more useful?’ Or, you might be creating a brand-new test case for the latest usability feature. At the same time, you could be preparing a presentation, in which your research will be shared with the wider tech community.
At ASOS Tech, we are proud of our agile mindset when it comes to the products that the teams are delivering. It is also very clear that our QAs are masters of more traditional agile behaviours in the workplace, such as swarming, spontaneity and adaptability. The whole experience was a true eye opener for me and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Why did I take part?
Put quite simply, it made sense. A key function of my role is presenting ASOS QA to the external world and attracting great people to our organisation. Beyond using our awesome brand to pull people in, it’s great to be able to engage with them on a more technical level and get them excited about the future of QA at ASOS.
Before signing off, I would like to thank all the QAs from the CX team for inviting me into their world. It was an absolute pleasure to spend time with you all.
If you would like to find out more about our open QA opportunities at ASOS, please visit our careers site.
My name is Lee Clements and I’ve been at ASOS for almost a year. It’s been an incredible experience so far and I’m proud to play my part in the wider ASOS journey.
I’m a football enthusiast, both managing and playing for a Sunday league team. I also have a passion for live music, making sure to attend a gig at least once a month with my partner.