About Me: PJ at Bulb

I’m PJ and I’ve been at Bulb for about 8 months now.

I moved to London from Durban, South Africa, about 3 years ago. Apparently, this would take 2498 hours to walk.

Don’t try this

I’m a Quality Assurance tester here at Bulb. Or ‘QA tester’ for short.

QA tester, Tester, Software Tester, Test Analyst, Test Engineer. They’re all the same job with different titles. Ultimately this role is about ensuring the quality of every product that Bulb releases.

There’s a QA tester in each team, and we test at every stage of development, whether it’s a new feature or product upgrade. Bulb is an exciting place to work as new products and features are constantly on the go.

The three main roles of a QA tester are:

1) Planning
We help to plan products. Before deciding whether we can create a new feature, I estimate how much time and effort it will take from a testing perspective.

2) Testing, improving and bug hunting
Once we’ve developed a feature, we’ll test it in a ‘staging environment’ before it’s released. A staging environment mirrors the live site that our members are using, but if there’s a bug and something does break, it won’t interrupt the services that people rely on. I look for any issues and see if anything can be improved.

If it turns out a feature does need fixing, I’ll test it again after the fix, before it goes live.

3) Reviewing
Our Energy Specialists play a very important part in maintaining the quality of a product. Because they talk to members and see our products from a different perspective, they’ll often find issues that we haven’t considered. They might even find a bug in the live environment.

If this happens, they’ll raise a ticket to be triaged and assigned by a QA. Ana, one of the other QA’s a Bulb has written a great blog post on spotting and fixing bugs from a QA perspective.

QA in practice
Here’s an example of finding a bug during the testing process, that would have caused an issue for members had it gone live.

The issue: when a member’s signup fails, they sign up again. But we’d tell them they already had an account.

After we fixed this issue I found another problem stemming from this.

Meters have different profile classes, like ‘domestic’, ‘business’ or ‘prepay’. If a member-to-be tried to signup and their meter profile wasn’t what we expected, we’d let them know. If they then went back to correct it, the signup would fail again with a less helpful message.

When we understood the problem, we made a change in our authentication service: if your email address had previously tried and failed to signup, the attempted account would be removed. This means that all new members can now sign up successfully should they need to try a second time.

More testing, happier members
It’s super important to catch bugs before they go live. The more testing we do, the less of your time is spent either stuck in a process or letting us know about glitches. It also reduces time spent by our tech team going back and fixing prior problems. This helps us focus on the important things like creating more and better features for our members.

Let me know if you have any questions about my role, Bulb or anything else!