In our latest 'Meet the Team' post, we introduce Simon Royall, one of our Test Analysts. Simon shares insights into his role at Mando, the evolving market, and the value he brings to our clients.

"One of the most fascinating projects I've worked on was an online power connections tool..." 

Simon Royall - Office at MandoPlease introduce yourself

"Hi, I'm Simon Royall, a Test Analyst at Mando. I'm approaching my ninth anniversary here. I began as a manual tester, but I've increasingly focused on automated testing over the years."

What is your area of speciality?  

"As a tester, my primary role is to find bugs before software is released, but work extends far beyond that. Testers aim to enhance the entire software development process, especially when creating websites. By getting involved early, we help identify and address potential issues before any code is written, ensuring all necessary details are included in user stories before they’re finalised. Once development is complete, we conduct rigorous testing to deliver a high-quality product to our clients.

Automated testing is a particular interest of mine, getting your computer to do most of the heavy lifting for you! While it will never replace us, it supports us significantly, particularly with regression testing. Running standard tests on new code releases ensures nothing existing breaks, a task that can be time-consuming and prone to human error. Automation handles these checks efficiently and accurately, saving time and improving reliability."

What does your day-to-day activity look like? 

"I typically work on several projects or products each day, depending on where we are in the delivery lifecycle. In the morning, I might review a user story and inform the project manager that we need to create an error message for when a mandatory checkbox isn't ticked. Much of testing actually involves considering scenarios where the user doesn’t follow the happy path!

In the afternoon, I might run tests across different browsers for a multi-step form. The next day, I could be testing a fix for a calculation service issue. I also spend a significant amount of time building and maintaining automated tests, ensuring they are robust and easy to work with while leveraging advanced technology. AI has proven to be a real time-saver in this area."

What is your proudest moment or achievement at Mando? 

"I’ve just recently passed an exam certifying me as an ISTQB-qualified Test Automation Engineer. This milestone is especially meaningful, considering I started my journey into automation only seven years ago. This certification has equipped me with best practices to enhance our test automation services. Now, I can select optimal automation strategies, build reusable frameworks for maintainability, and focus on high-risk areas to ensure swift feedback on a website's key functions."

What is the most interesting project you have worked on? 

"One of the most fascinating projects I've worked on was an online power connections tool, where users can click on a map and instantly receive a quote for the work."

"Automating such a complex user story was challenging but incredibly rewarding. We developed dozens of automated tests that ran in minutes with each new build, achieving a level of coverage that would have been impossible manually."

Which piece of your work has had the biggest impact on a client? 

"Building a benefits-modelling tool for a pension client had a significant impact. The tool gained attention in online money-saving forums, highlighting its value. It was a complex project, and achieving automated coverage was challenging. However, hearing how it helped people manage their finances during tough economic times was particularly rewarding."

What interests you most about the wider digital industry and the work you do? 

"What interests me most about the wider digital industry is the rise of AI. While some people are fretting about it, I see AI as a valuable tool that handles much of the repetitive coding tasks, similar to how automated tests streamline testing. It's like the computer from Star Trek—people still have jobs, but they're now working on more exciting, innovative tasks. Jobs in the stars!"

What considerations should businesses looking to invest in digital have/top tips they should follow to ensure future growth? 

When considering investment in digital, particularly test automation, it's important to look at the long-term benefits. While there are upfront costs and ongoing maintenance, the returns are substantial. Test automation ensures consistent coverage, saves time, and frees up valuable human resources for tasks requiring insight and creativity. Just like automated checks are essential for your car or coffee machine, they are crucial for websites, too. Investing in test automation pays huge dividends over the lifetime of your software.

And finally... how would you describe Mando and the work we do?

Mando is a place where talented people come together to use the latest technology. It's a fun, welcoming environment that strikes the right balance between informality and professional excellence. We are deeply committed to career development and ensuring our team thrives. Plus, we provide tea and coffee to keep everyone energised! 

If you want to learn more about our approach to robust delivery of digital products and Simon's passion for test automation, get in touch!

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