#8 Listen Not To Respond But To Understand by Daniel Gorgan, Engineering Manager at Free Now

Today I talk to Daniel Gorgan, he is an Engineering Manager in Free Now, a ride-hailing app from Europe. And he is a bit different manager because he manages a team of QEs — Quality Engineers. We talk about the role naming (QA, QE, Tester, etc.), and why a company might want to consider having a team of QEs as a service rather than testers embedded within the teams. We also speak about the challenges of becoming a manager — time management like Pomodoro technique, distinguishing between the urgent and the important, being ready to get surprised, the shift left, etc.

Full Interview on YouTube

The developers are responsible for testing

The weird thing is that people usually think that the testing or quality assurance is the responsibility of the QA. In my opinion, development includes testing, it is not just writing the code but also testing the code. Otherwise how do you know if it works properly or not?

Daniel Gorgan, Engineering Manager, Free Now

In Free Now, the teams are testing their development. It’s called cross-platform testing, so an iOS engineer will test Android's development or the backend but not their own code. They also invest in testing automation and so some team testing of the releases.

Cover photo

A team of Quality Engineers

The quality Engineer team was created due to the circumstances — after some people left the company, there were only three QEs for 8 teams. So, they had to regroup and start providing frameworks, processes and tooling for the teams, so they can become autonomous.

We were so focused on the team level that we missed the overview of the entire domain. How all the micro-services and parts of the app interact with each other. We lacked this holistic view of the entire product.

Daniel Gorgan, Engineering Manager, Free Now

The QEs act as change agents — they support the teams but don’t do their work for them:

Our approach is not just to create a framework and just ship it. Or create a presentation and ask people to start using it. But find early adopters in developers with whom we can pair-program and share what we do and this way they can also spread the knowledge among their team.

Daniel Gorgan, Engineering Manager, Free Now

Daniel and his team have a clear purpose

The purpose of the Quality Engineers team is to support all the squads with tooling, infrastructure and guidance on quality in order to reach higher productivity and improve our product.

Daniel Gorgan, Engineering Manager, Free Now

Learn fast, fail fast

The faster you fail, the faster you learn. If the company allows you to make mistakes, make them and learn from them. And don’t overthink everything. Start small and iterate.

Daniel Gorgan, Engineering Manager, Free Now

Challenges as a Manager

Daniel offers a lot of tips for the new managers. Tips on time and self-management, how to organize and manage your calendar, etc. We speak about blocking time for your work in the calendar and timeboxing it. Something similar to the Pomodoro technique — caring about the Slack and notification hygiene.

Apart from that, Daniel shares that when you are a manager you get into the spotlight. Not that you are suddenly so important but definitely more eyes are on you. It’s when what you say is really important to express yourself clearly:

You shouldn’t leave room for interpretation. State things clearly.

Daniel Gorgan, Engineering Manager, Free Now

Listen to the full interview also as a podcast:

Listen to the interview as a podcast



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Maria Chec

Maria Chec


Agile Coach and Content Creator at Agile State of Mind and Head of Agile Practice in Fyllo