July 26, 2019 | 11 min read
Humans of MacKeeper: VVK, QA Team Lead
Humans of MacKeeper is a series of interviews with our team. We talked to engineers, designers, product managers, analysts, marketers, and many others to take you backstage at MacKeeper. We believe that people are the heart of any business, and we want you to meet the heart of ours. Welcome behind-the-scenes!
Position: QA Team Lead
Random fact: Driving, traveling, and music are the things VVK feels very attached to. Whenever he needs a break, he finds himself getting into a car and driving far, far away.
Let’s travel back to your first day at work. What was it like?
It was the first of March 2017. The project I worked on in my previous company had just closed, and I decided to apply to Kromtech for a second time. I heard a lot about this company because my friends worked here. As this was my second application, I really wanted to make it a success. So when my efforts actually paid off, I came to my new workplace and found a branded picture, a notebook, and a t-shirt waiting for me on my first day.
It is my fourth job as a QA, and honestly, it’s the best company I have ever worked in. All these perks like FAT32 (our company cafeteria), the gym, and overall corporate culture make me feel awesome about the work that I do. And even though I often spend more time at Kromtech than at home, I always come here with pleasure. Just because this is the first company that doesn’t make me think about what company I should work in next.
Here I can clearly see where to grow and in what direction to develop. I have a feeling that over the next three to five years, I will still be here. Well, at least I feel it could be true.
Your nickname is VVK. What does it mean for you?
First, I wanted to choose “Boss” as the nickname, but then I understood that it wasn’t the humblest option to go for [laughing]. So I decided to be brief and straightforward, using my initials instead.
Tell us about your team at MacKeeper.
I tend to believe that a good team happens just once in a lifetime. But I am lucky, as this isn’t the first excellent team I happen to work with. It’s the team I love. The crew I rely on. The people I trust.
Though some of my team members are quite young, they are well organized, technically proficient, and socially responsible people. I would never trade this team for any other.
Describe your typical day at work.
First, it’s good to have some coffee in the morning. Without it, it’s hard to tune into a day and turn my brain on. Then, it’s time to check my inbox, review tasks, and sort them by priority.
Periodically, we receive requests from support or complaints from customers and it is my team’s job to investigate and propose fixes. Of course, we’re trying to address requests as quickly as possible. But before taking any action, we study the problem, assess how critical it is, and make a specific decision.
Apart from that, I have a bunch of additional tasks. In a perfect world, technical tasks could take up to 50% of my time, but in reality, they take just about 30-40% of the time. Given the position of the lead, I am involved in various processes that are more or less connected with MacKeeper and the company.
What are your most and least favorite tasks?
First of all, taking part in our internal grading system is enjoyable itself, along with all the parts of the process—organization, modeling, structuring, etc. Having some relevant experience in managing people from different teams and companies, I enjoy the opportunity to influence the process—especially if it goes beyond the team to the company in general.
From a technical standpoint, I don’t really enjoy monotonous tasks. But my current position allows me to switch between different activities, so there’s always some balance between purely technical and organizational work.
I’ve been working as a standalone developer for a very long time. Previously, I wrote a set of programs for wholesale deliveries of vehicle spare parts. And everything seemed to be great, with the only exception: I felt stuck in a comfort zone and could not get out of it for quite a while. Luckily, the competition on the market made me think bigger and look for something else.
In 2010, I met an old friend in Lviv. He’s the real IT guru who studied with me back in the old days.
We talked about business for a while, and suddenly he said, “Friend, you are no longer a developer. You need a change—try QA. Even though in Ukraine, there are some negative age stereotypes, given your previous relevant experience, you have all chances to succeed—quickly and easily.”
So I listened to his advice—and never regretted it. After six months of working in my new position, I was promoted to a lead.
That’s why I know for sure: QA requires a meticulous person. Attention to detail should be in the blood.
Name a few character traits or skills that are necessary for your job.
The first is observation because the work of the QA implies repetition—a set of routine activities you do from day to day and from sprint to sprint. Hence, a person who gets bored repeatedly doing the same thing will probably not be able to work as a QA for a long time.
Attention to detail is a second important factor. Because, even when you check a bug following some standard scenario, you should pay attention to any non-standard behavior that crops up. And when this happens—stop for a while, investigate the moment, and only after that, return to your task.
If you could choose any superpower to help you with your job, what would it be?
Superpowers? I have all of them. [laughing]
I wish I had a super ability to memorize everything—the particular set of features, bugs, user complaints, and technical data on the project. All this should always sit in one place and never be forgotten. Let’s call it a super memory.
Describe your job in three words.
People. People. People.
Is there something about your job you feel proud of?
Yes, there is. Whatever day in whatever company you work in—people are the first thing that comes to your mind. That’s why I appreciate the comfortable and congenial environment that makes the relations between Kromtech people special—no matter if you take a small team or the whole project in general.
My teammates come to me with various questions. Some of them go far beyond business stuff. This kind of relationship is among the most valuable things to be proud of. Because without this special bond, our work would be completely different.
On days when you lack motivation for work, what helps you to pull yourself up and do it?
Music. In most cases, it’s hard rock—rhythmic and empowering. This type of sound is always with me wherever I am, when driving, working, or just staying home. Sure thing, humor helps as well. But the right type of sound can pull you into work, especially when concentration is needed.
What is your personal anti-stress recipe? How do you recharge after a busy week at work?
There are a few things I feel very attached to. These include music, driving, and traveling. Whenever a hard working day comes up or something just falls apart, I find myself getting in my car and going far, far away. Not necessarily to another city—just a quick ride around can feel like enough. The very fact of moving elsewhere with the right music in the background allows you to soften the corners that may have appeared and just improve your mood.
If you could swap places with any employee in a company for one month, who would this be? Why?
With a coach from GYM64, our company gym. Sports is an excellent antistress tool, switching the brain from one activity to another.
I’d like to swap places with a coach because it’s an opportunity to gain new knowledge and apply it right away. But the crucial thing is for this knowledge to stay with me once that exchange is over. Otherwise, what’s the point?
For the record, I am so in love with my current position, that I don’t need any change at all.
Describe your dream job.
So far, I don’t see any companies in Ukraine that would attract me as much as Kromtech does. I am not interested in working in world-renowned companies because of their talent acquisition approaches. Companies like Facebook or Google welcome creative thinking emphasis, while I personally have a more conservative one.
I probably would enjoy working in a foreign company for a couple of years. But this is rather for exploring the culture, gaining new experiences, and coming back—in a year or two.
Now imagine you've got the job offer of your dreams. It's too good to reject, so you're leaving. What piece of advice would you give the company and your team before you head out?
Take care of the people. Nurture the relationship and maintain it, no matter what. Work is what brings you together. What really matters is the relationship that evolves during it.
People. People. People.