From gatekeepers of quality to enabling teams: Software Quality Engineering at N26
Traditionally, Software Quality Engineers at N26 were the only ones responsible for quality and testing within their team. Recently, with integrating quality considerations into the delivery process and distributing these responsibilities to the whole team, Software Quality Engineers are no longer the sole owners or gatekeepers for quality-related matters. So what’s left for Software Quality Engineers to do?
I’ve worked at N26 for 4 years and lived through this shift of focus, so let me tell you what my day-to-day work looks like as a Software Quality Engineer at N26.
One of my primary responsibilities as Software Quality Engineer is to enable team members to test. This can be done by various means and on different levels, starting from basic information like how to generate test data, where to find test devices or test cases, to broader topics like the release process, different types of testing and what to automate. We try to find the best way to convey information on a given topic, in the form of concise documentation, presentations, workshops or 1-on-1 pairing.
To benefit from the creative power of the group, every planning meeting includes specifications for testing. We try to figure out what to test in a given story and how to make sure it’s possible to test it, using predefined questions that help us brainstorm ideas. We note those ideas in the user stories, so anyone implementing or testing a given story can have a clear overview of the risks and mitigate them early.
Apart from that, I am still a tester. I put my main focus on exploring and learning about the product. Thanks to this, my team can stay informed about requirement gaps and hidden issues, and is able to decide how to build a resilient product and implement automated checks to avoid certain issues in the future. Team engagement in exploratory testing sessions is really beneficial — a fresh pair of eyes can spot issues that were missed before.
At the same time, together with the other engineers in the team, we are trying to increase the coverage of automated checks on API, mobile and web platforms to minimise the manual regression effort. It’s important for team members to participate in implementation and code reviews, but also to know how to run checks, where to find results and debug failures. My work also focuses on improving current tools and frameworks and evaluating new ones, together with my team or other Software Quality Engineers.
While my development team can do most of the testing activities independently of me, I am driving the release process. This includes making sure that all testing phases are completed, we have sufficient test documentation and stakeholders are informed.
Since testing is not a bottleneck anymore, I also have the capacity to look at quality holistically, find where we’re missing confidence, efficiency and productivity, and propose improvements. Based on the team’s definition of quality, together we can set up quality metrics and see the state of our products’ quality at any point in time.
Interested in joining Quality Engineering as we grow?
If you’d like to join us on the journey of building the mobile bank the world loves to use, have a look at the Software Quality Engineer roles we’re looking for here.