Marius Balteanu: Head of Quality Assurance and the Newest Member of Zibord

When he came to Zitec, on a Monday, November 5th 2012, the first thing he noted was the quiet in the office. He had worked in an advertising agency, where the noise and the hustle were common practice, but he quickly adjusted to online communication, daily stand ups and efficient time structuring.
Marius started working at Zitec as a QA Engineer, and was subsequently assigned the QA team coordination, as Head of Quality Assurance.

What new procedures and changes have you brought to the testing process, while you were a QA Engineer?

I think it is a bit much to say that I brought new procedures in that period, because I am sure those “novelties” were already on the to do list of several colleagues. I had the necessary time and then the support to implement them. To answer your question, I think the first significant change in which I was involved was “hiring” Jenkins. First, it provided the flexibility required to implement the static code verifications both depending on the project, and depending on the technologies used. If before that you could activate or deactivate a well-defined set of PHP verifications, now you can configure them depending on the need. Then, Jenkins became a very important tool in our development and testing process because we can use it to organize both the static code verifications and the automated tests for the new projects and releases, in the testing or production media.

Approximately one year after joining the team, you became Head of QA Department, and another year later you joined the members of Zibord, as a partner. What do you think were the achievements and qualities that helped you get to this point?

The QA in me feels the need to correct: approximately 8 months and, 15 months, respectively.
I don’t know either, what exactly were such achievements/qualities, perhaps my colleagues in Zibord can answer that, but if I were to guess, my money would go on the fact that I got involved and I always tried to help whenever I could, whether it was a QA, HR or Development matter. And it probably mattered that I was oriented towards automation.

What’s it like to be Head of QA? What are your main activities?

Currently it is challenging, for 2 reasons:
– We are slowly becoming one of the largest teams in the company (we are heading towards 22, with a bit of luck, soon maybe even 23 colleagues) and the organization we were used to is no longer appropriate.
– The direction we are heading to is quality assurance, not only for the developed application, but also for the internal processes/flows.
As to the activities, they differ with each period. There are weeks when the effort is almost entirely focused on implementing an objective we assumed, or periods when I mostly provide support for various activities (automated tests, problems with Jenkins, Redmine, etc). I still haven’t found the key for a balance between these activities, but I’m still looking for it :).

What has changed since you joined Zibord?

Short version: one more meeting, more e-mails in the Inbox and of course, the ominous jokes (good ones, in fact) that come with each promotion.
As for the activities, they are mostly the same I had before, because there is still a lot to do in the field of automation, streamlining and, not lastly, quality.

You have certainly learned interesting things from the people you work with. Can you give me some examples?

At Zitec I learned the most, particularly in the technical area, because I had the chance to interact daily with very well-prepared colleagues who are willing to share their knowledge. Since they were new things, they all seemed interesting, it is hard to classify them. There are however 2 things that stayed with me, regarding organization and personal efficiency:
– it is ok to add a reminder to a reminder
– “interruptions are “the devil himself” :))

In your oppinion, what do professional QA Engineers need to know, what qualities they should have and what would you recommend candidates to learn, in order to become members of Zitec’s QA team?

I think any professional in any field should do their job out of passion and should want to obtain results. Otherwise it’s almost impossible to become a professional. The rest can be learned.
As for what they need to know, it depends on the position we are talking about. Should definitely know what they say they know. I’ve seen many cases where people mistake hearing about a certain technology and knowing the said technology.

What are your plans for the QA department for the following year?

If I manage to achieve what I planned for this year, next year I want to focus more on the team, on developing it and on learning new things. And I refer to both tools to help us test more efficiently, as well as mobile testing, performance front-end, to which we want to dedicate more time than we do currently.

Can you mention 4 things you like here, at Zitec?

1. The flat organization structure
2. The work environment: the colleagues, the offices, the communication and the fact that communication at all levels is encouraged
3. ZiHack
4. My colleague Florica’s emails on the internal list

What do you do in your free time?

I try to have fun. And sometimes it works. I like to go out as much as I can, to go to certain bars in the city or to leave the city. I go to events (music events, in particular), I ride the bike (I can still count on my fingers the number of times I’ve ridden a bike) and, again, I listen to a lot of music (at work, at home, in the city, except when I walk, so I don’t get hit by the bus). In the summer I don’t miss Vama Veche and the Electric Castle.

What are your hobbies?

My new hobby, though I am still a beginner, is to ride the bike. I just learned how to do it (a bit late, I know), but I am catching up. In the winter I do snowboard (I am a more advanced beginner in this field).

What would you like very much to achieve this year?

Professionally – what I planned and mentioned in the Company Report, but if I were to choose only one of the objectives, it would be migrating the entire workflow to Jenkins.
Personally, to learn what I should have learned when I was young: English, swimming and riding a bike. And last but not least, the stance on a snowboard.

An interesting thing about you, that your colleagues don’t know?

I’m going to tell you something that already surprised some of my colleagues, they didn’t expect that of me: I watch football, pretty much actually, and is about the only time I get really angry. I’m working on it, I’m trying to quit. Getting angry, I mean, not football.

Introvert or extravert?

A little bit of both, If I were to choose, I would go on introvert.

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