Arlene lives in Richardson, Texas and has been married for 19 years. She has three daughters, one of which still lives at home. And when she isn’t hard at work within our Quality Assurance Department, Arlene enjoys volunteering for her daughter’s high school band program.
SARAH: Arlene! It’s so lovely to meet you and congratulations on being our final spotlight selection for 2018!
ARLENE: Thank you! I was happy to be selected.
SARAH: I understand that you work in our Engineering Department as a lead for Quality Assurance (QA). What exactly does that mean?
ARLENE: Testing! I work with the team responsible for testing our products as part of each release cycle. As a team lead, I also work to define quality standards, collect metrics, and to determine testing strategies to improve processes.
SARAH: Wow! It sounds like you and your team are very busy! What does your day to day look like?
ARLENE: It depends on where we are in the development cycle. For the most part, I review stories and bugs – which are really just the developers’ work plans – to determine how we can best test them to make sure the changes to the software are beneficial. We want to make sure we didn’t negatively impact anything with the modification.
SARAH: Stories and bugs? Can you elaborate?!
ARLENE: A story is part of an agile approach for software development. User stories are short, simple descriptions of potential additions to our solutions, told from the perspective of someone who would benefit from the addition. For example, a story would be a statement involving what type of user they were, what goal they were looking to achieve and the reason for that goal. So, we literally write “stories” about what our customers could or would be doing with our solutions. After that, we test them, and that’s where the term “bugs” come in. Bugs are just problems in the software like an error, mistake or defect.
So, stories help us build our software to meet the needs of our customers, and bugs are just glitches we have to fix along the way before we release our solution. Our team uses test cases to make sure we test thoroughly every time. We write test cases to verify a capability is doing what we want it to do. We also have to work through unexpected user scenarios like missing or invalid data to make sure that we are handling requests correctly. It’s important that we cover all the bases.
SARAH: How long have you been at Trintech?
ARLENE: I’ve been here for about one and a half years now.
SARAH: What do you like most about your job here at Trintech?
ARLENE: In one word – autonomy. I have the freedom to get done what I need to on my own terms. I’m allowed to drive my projects and complete my work in a way that fits best for me. We have a fast-paced environment with a lot of work to be done, but the working atmosphere is quite relaxed. We have some stress because of the nature of what we do, but because of the personalities and demeanors of the people I work with, I find myself at ease and calm. Overall, this is a very positive environment to work in.
SARAH: Well that sounds like a unique situation. I imagine this allows you to stay balanced even when you’re busy. What do you consider to be the key to your success?
ARLENE: Never giving up and focusing on the end goal. If you are chasing down a bug, trying to figure out why your testing isn’t working, it is easy to get lost in a rabbit hole. Having the proper perspective on all the work that needs to be accomplished keeps us all on track, it’s a cooperative effort.
SARAH: Productivity is critical for success in this industry. What kind of changes have you seen in the area of SaaS (Software as a Service) over the last few years?
ARLENE: Over the last six years I’ve noticed a real trend towards increasing the security for customers using SaaS products. Our Engineering Department regularly completes security awareness training to keep us updated on threats and possible vulnerabilities, and we use tools to run against our software that detects those types of things.
SARAH: Let’s change directions a little, tell me about what you like to do to relax. What are some of your hobbies?
ARLENE: I enjoy gardening, flowers not vegetables, and playing the piano. I’ve been playing since I was a kid. Now that the weather is turning, I like to knit and crochet, but what keeps me really busy is volunteering for the BABC-Berkner Area Band Club where I’m on the board. My board position is called Game Day Meals, which means I am responsible for feeding the band students before and after the games. Luckily, marching band season is just ending so I can take a breather for a bit.
SARAH: It sounds like a lot of work, but also really rewarding. Do you have any other children?
ARLENE: Yes, I do, I have two daughters that are out of the house. One is a kindergarten teacher, and the other is a researcher with Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
SARAH: You must be very proud. Speaking of jobs, what was your first job ever?
ARLENE: I worked in my mom’s sandwich shop. Her shop was very much like the little shop we have here in our office building at Trintech. My first real job was after I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Electrical Engineering, where I worked for General Dynamics in Avionics as a radio-frequency engineer. I went back to UTA and got my master’s degree in Electrical Engineering not long after I joined the workforce because I wanted to keep learning. Beyond that, I’ve worked as a systems engineer most of my professional life, and really enjoy what I do here as a senior QA engineer.
SARAH: You work with a team here at Trintech. How would you describe your leadership style?
ARLENE: I like to lead by example. I don’t like telling people what to do or even how to do what they are doing. If I disagree with how something is being done, I prefer to try to understand why they took a different approach. It’s important to encourage open discussion so that we can determine how best to accomplish the task at hand. I work with an amazing team day in and day out and our dynamic is what leads us to create great products.
SARAH: It sounds like your leadership style and the team dynamic are a perfect combination. Thank you so much, Arlene, for sharing. I really appreciate your time, and I hope you have a fantastic holiday season!
ARLENE: You are very welcome, and you do the same!