Testing for the Financial Sector: Q&A with Asha Gopal & Alessandro Fusco
Working together in our Berlin office, Asha Gopal (Test Architect) and Alessandro Fusco (Solution Delivery Manager) often collaborate on testing projects for the financial sector (among many other projects). We sat down with them to understand their daily activities and collect insights on software testing in FinTech.
Hello Asha and Alessandro, thanks for your time. First of all, could you explain what you do at Applause?
Alessandro: As a Solution Delivery Manager, my role consists of consulting the client on which testing strategies to adopt in order to achieve the best possible results and maximize ROI with our testing services. Externally, Solution Delivery Managers are the face of Applause. Internally, we are the voice of the customer and responsible for their satisfaction.
Asha: As a Test Architect, my role is to ensure a valuable and precise execution of our testing solutions with our global community of testers. I lead a team of Test Engineers within the community to develop, design and execute the appropriate testing solutions. I work in constant interaction with our Solution Delivery Managers and other stakeholders to make sure we meet customers’ needs.
What do you like most about your job?
Asha: Every day is different for a Test Architect. I handle more than 30 projects, and to see our customers satisfied at the end of the day with the results we deliver makes me extremely happy.
Alessandro: It’s very similar for Solution Delivery Managers - but we handle fewer projects and customers. I find the possibility to work on many different projects across very different industries super interesting. It gives me flexibility – which I really appreciate. You never get bored.
Asha: That’s for sure. One other thing I really love is to see people grow and give them the support they need to do so. Being deeply involved with my team of engineers, guiding them where possible, highlighting the areas for development and eventually watching them develop is very satisfying. I myself started as a “simple tester” in the community and eventually was hired full-time as a Test Architect. So, it’s a wonderful feeling to show to my team members that I have their backs and that we can contribute to each other’s skill development and eventually provide higher quality results to our customers.
On which types of projects do you enjoy working the most?
Asha: I work on a wide variety of projects from media/entertainment to complex banking projects. I really love banking and travel related projects the most.
Alessandro: I would say I really enjoy working on ecommerce and FinTech related projects. And, in general, any project that involves some challenge and where results aren’t so straightforward.
What was a great surprising thing you discovered after joining Applause?
Alessandro: When I started working as a Solution Delivery Manager, I was surprised by the well-known brands and the variety of the customers we work with. From market leaders to big corporations, they all chose us to help them improve their customer experience – I find it very rewarding to contribute to this.
Asha: I remember being positively surprised by the amazing work environment and the international team I work with. The way Applause involves its community is also unique: testers from around the world have the possibility to evolve, get rewarded for their extra efforts and even hired as full-time employees. There’s a real trust relationship building up between the Applause team and the community of testers.
What are some of the challenges you have faced so far when working at Applause, and how have you overcome them? Who has helped you with that?
Asha: There are hardly two days in a week that are the same, so there is no way you would be bored at Applause! As an example, I recently had to find testers with a specific membership for a very popular airline company and test meal related features. We wanted to test this on a real booking and therefore needed someone who had already checked-in or would agree to check-in. I took the help of our extremely active Community Management team who found some testers with real plane tickets with that specific airline. Our close collaboration between teams as well as our vast community presence makes it possible to deliver such unique results to our customers.
Alessandro: Indeed, having such a vast community is definitely helpful. Sometimes it can be quite challenging to work with remote teams. You have to be very organised to give them directions as they really have a huge impact on the satisfaction of the customer. Luckily, we are not alone in that!
Financial companies must concentrate on the slightest of things they mention within their apps. Loopholes or wrong information can quickly make a financial app seem unsafe.
You’ve been working on several testing projects in the financial sector together. Which aspects of their approach to QA and testing do you think financial companies should pay extra attention to? Could you share a few best practices for this sector, something you recommend doing?
Alessandro: Fintech companies generally have higher security standards than the average company. They deal with payments and bank accounts in the end, so this is to be expected. On our side, this means we need to coordinate the best way forward with the customer. For example, testers often need to be whitelisted, or we need to replace some testers from one cycle to the other – something quite normal with crowdtesting.
In order to have the best coordination, it’s better to have a fixed cadence of testing (every week or every two weeks for instance), so that the testers feel engaged and participate every time. This also allows testers to learn cycle after cycle, so that they already know what the customer considers important or not, allowing us to build some documentation for future testers (checklists, what to include in regression tests, etc.)
We often realize that the term “crowdtesting” still isn’t very common or well-known. How much do companies generally know about crowdtesting when you start working with them?
Asha: They know Applause and what we do but most of them don’t understand HOW we get things done. It takes a couple of test cycles with us to realize how much of a positive impact we really make on their QA practices.
Alessandro: They have an idea because they already talked about it during several meetings with our sales team, but they are generally curious to try it and really understand what crowdtesting is all about. This is why we offer pilots to new customers to demonstrate the way we work, how we integrate ourselves into their processes and deliver unique value as an addition to internal QA.