Staff blog: Head of Quality Assurance David Costello explains what it’s like to join a small company on the rise and what opportunities that presents.
I was the 7th person to join Digital Spark, pretty much exactly 2 years ago to the day and it has been a wonderful journey. I had previously worked in some giant corporate companies in the financial and telecom industries, so it was quite an adjustment to come to such a small company at the time but even then I could see the potential.
The Power of Collaboration
Working in a large corporation you are lost in the crowd, making millions for distant shareholders whilst feeling like you have no real, direct impact on product content or direction. Working in a small company environment was totally different. It opened up opportunities and raised exciting challenges. And certainly no two days were ever the same.
Coming from a testing and quality assurance background, I thought the role of ‘Head of Quality Assurance’ would be the same as previous roles with some managerial element. How wrong was I? Designing, requirements gathering and testing was just a normal day. Those early days were a massive learning curve for me but I really did enjoy the challenge and knew taking on multiple roles was necessary for the growth we wanted.
During the past 2 years, seeing the SSNAP version of CaptureStroke going live was a highlight for me. The timescales were so tight – we only had a few months to get the system into hospitals, which for the complexity involved was a huge achievement. It really did demonstrate the collaborative nature of our working. Everyone was involved, Digital Sparkers, healthcare professionals, the Royal College of Physicians and other stakeholders. It was the embodiment of what we are about.
And another 25 employees later…
I have come to realise that my role with the company must continually change but also that my role is more important than ever. Yes, I miss the days where I would be involved in closer detail to development but we now have amazing people with the skills to do this at such a high standard, my skills can now be utilised elsewhere. I have trouble letting go sometimes, it’s in my nature, I feel I should still be involved in anything and everything we do.
However, the more business opportunities we get and the more projects we have running, it would become impossible to contribute to everything and why would I? Having the resource to share the workload and take the company forward allows me to concentrate on my own area once more, injecting quality into everything we do. Yes our products need to be of quality whilst retaining the agile nature of our work and software testing is a big part of that. It isn’t just about testing for me though. It’s about doing everything at a high standard; developing, interacting, designing, communicating and even socialising.
It’s all about quality processes. I now have the time to configure processes and standards to continue to produce quality products in an super agile way. Without these processes, chaos would shortly ensue, our reputation would nose dive and employee morale would drop (and that’s just for starters).
In order to implement these processes I have been fortunate to learn so much from colleagues, new and old. With everyone, whether they’ve been two years or two minutes, being encouraged to share innovation and using our vast collective experience to the maximum, we are gliding into a new and exciting era for Digital Spark.
Discover. Collaborate. Innovate.
So what next? We have the resource, we have the people… so now is time to take the healthcare software to the next level whilst continuing with the principles that have got us to where we are today. We are aiming to innovate beyond the restrictions of normal convention and to be worth more than the sum of our parts. Our growth is a reflection of how good we are as a company but also as individuals. Long may this continue!