This week on the Intridea Insider, meet Maggie Lubberts, QA Manager at Intridea. Her favorite color in kindergarten was "clear", her brother is a cage fighter, she majored in English, and she actually likes living in Kansas! This might be one of our most interesting Insider editions yet!
Maggie studied English in college and although she loves writing and reading (sci-fi and fantasy, mostly), what she loved most about English was editing: "I wanted to be an editor, because I love taking what other people have already made and then making it better." She says that her love for editing combined with her perfectionism is "great for this kind of job. Not many people would spend 5 minutes ticketing a slight misalignment of a button if it's off by 3 pixels. Who's gonna notice that? ME!"
After finishing college, Maggie began working at T-Mobile, in a tech and customer support role. She worked there until last summer when Michael Bleigh, referred her to Intridea for a QA position. "Michael knew how much I was on the computer, hacking my iphone, and basically self educating to make my stuff better. He heard that Intridea was looking for a QA person, and he connected the dots." Now Maggie has her "dream job" and she's always pinching herself to confirm the reality of it all.
Maggie already had the right personality and talent for QA, and she was able to quickly teach herself the tools for the job. Now she has a really solid process established.
Here is her basic QA bug ticketing process, in her words:
- I take a screenshot of the problem with Skitch.
- I mark it up with giant arrows in obnoxious colors as a form of stress relief, and so that the dev trying to fix the problem will be able to easily tell what they're fixing.
- Then I create a ticket, and come up with a name for it; I include the URL and embedded screenshot along with a description and then set any indicators like which browser and operating system I am using.
- The devs come behind me and fix the errors and then mark them as "resolved" in our system.
- Finally, I go back after they've released the new code and "verify and close" those tickets to make sure the problem was really fixed.
Maggie uses Unfuddle for ticketing (and sometimes Pivotal Tracker, depending on the project). She also uses an app called Test Run, as a focused tool for test case management. She often finds herself reading two of her favorite QA blogs for support and insight, Testingreflections.com and QAInsight.net. She has been doing long-term QA work on Present.ly and a large gaming site. Recently, she has been working on HowAboutWe, a fresh dating site for one of our clients. Maggie is also in charge of support for a number of our internal products, and uses Zendesk for the majority of her communication with users requesting help.
Before my interview with Maggie, I sent out an update to the team in Present.ly, asking people what they wanted to know about her. Joe Grossberg wanted to know about one of the craziest QA experiences that she's had. Maggie shared a story about button confusion: "Once, a dev had forgotten to change the text for a button: it should have said 'disable', but instead it said 'DESTROY!' (not my emphasis). I had a customer write in concerned (really concerned) about what would happen if she were to click the "destroy" button."
Joe also wanted to know what it was like for Maggie to work "that remotely"; he was no doubt referring to her location out in Kansas. So I talked to Maggie a lot about Kansas and why she loves it there. She describes Douglas County as "the liberal mecca for Kansas" and she spoke about the cohesive community in her town of Lawrence (home of the Kansas University Jayhawks). She lives across the street from a farmer's market and says that the people in her town make it a point to contribute to the community by eating local, volunteering, and supporting each other's businesses. "When I moved to Lawrence I saw what a town could be if people supported local businesses. All I knew from the town I grew up in was Walmart and Target, Hummers and chain food. Only the 'poor people' did garage sales, and no one knows their neighbors. Every cool person in Kansas lives here. Appreciating my blessings aplenty and giving back has been easy here because there are plenty of opportunities to do good."
I know that you're thinking that Lawrence, Kansas couldn't sound any cooler, but wait for it: during our interview, Maggie was missing the Adult Swim block party in her neighborhood. "Apparently you can win inflatable meatwads. INFLATABLE MEATWADS!!" Maggie didn't win an inflatable meatwad, but she was able to go join the party after our interview.
She isn't lonely in Kansas. Maggie lives with her partner, Stephy and their three dogs. They have a garden and love to cook together. Her family also lives there, and she visits them often. She loves playing with her nieces and nephews, and prides herself on being "Cool Aunt Maggie". She thrives on social interaction, so she depends heavily on our Present.ly app to feel "connected" to the other Intrideans. She admits that "it's hard not being able to see the people I work with, but luckily our company built an awesome tool that helps! With Present.ly I'm able to get the "water cooler" talk that you get in an office, and I can get to know the people I work with daily, even if it isn't face to face."
In high school and in college she was involved in extra-curricular programs like debate, forensics and Mock Trial Competitive Speaking. "It was fun being around a bunch of like-minded people with awesome interests on a day-to-day basis". Her grandma was once the English teacher and debate coach at the high school she attended, so she was able to learn debate and English skills early on. "When I was little my favorite game was the "National Geographic Game", where I'd read out loud to my grandma from the National Geographic until I found a word I couldn't pronounce or define and then I'd have to figure it out. It sounds lame, but it was so much fun for me because I loved learning."
And she still does love learning. The successful transition from her tech support job at T-Mobile to a QA position at Intridea is proof of that. She worked diligently to learn the skills and tools necessary to be great at what she does. She loves the challenge of hunting down bugs, and nothing is worse to her than when someone comes in behind her and finds something that she missed. But the fact is that Maggie is so good at what she does, that she was recently promoted to QA Manager. Thinking back to her earlier years when she dreamt of being an editor, I can see how she does so well in QA. In her own words, "I think of it like editing; behind every amazing author is a great copy editor." And behind every great dev, there is a great QA engineer. Fortunately, we have Maggie!
This post is part of a weekly series, called "Intridea Insider"