Freedom of choice in the Bratislava office
An interview with Martin Škarbala, Technical Team Lead
Martin Škarbala, our Technical Team Lead is based in our Bratislava office. He joined Kiwi.com in June 2020. “Looking back, the timing could not have been better. I was drawn to the company mainly because of the uniqueness of the product and by the challenge to help with the Quality Assurance reformation.”
His career in QA started almost by accident 12 years ago. He was missing the technical knowledge but he had great enthusiasm to challenge the software. Martin loved his job as a manual tester but over time he got a bit bored with repetitive tasks. In the last couple of years, he has been developing test automation solutions for Norwegian bank, one of the biggest lottery companies in Europe as well as a Swiss startup company that developed software to automate document management policy. When it comes to his free time, he tries to spend it with his son. He also works part-time as an instructor of testing and test automation for a non-profit organization.
How is the Kiwi.com culture shaping the atmosphere in the Bratislava office?
Coming from a Norwegian working culture that strictly distinguishes between the work-life balance, it has taken me some time to get used to the Kiwi.com lifestyle. Although I value my free time, work is somehow integrated into my life. It is not about taking overtime, but rather a commitment to work that motivates me. If any of my colleagues need to overcome an obstacle, I’m happy to help them. I have never felt pressure on delivery. It has developed naturally. On the other hand, I feel that I have freedom when it comes to organizing my time and tasks.
What is the most important thing at work for you?
My main mission when joining Kiwi.com was to help the QA department to grow. We started with defining a mission and a vision for QA, redesigning the QA positions and setting up a clear path to follow. Trust has played a crucial role here. This is the most important thing for me. I felt I was given amazing support and received valid feedback from my supervisors, which are the key attributes that help me to move forward.
What is your understanding of the term freedom at work?
Freedom at work for me translates into flexibility in work-style choices. As long as I get the job done, I can work the schedule I want or work from where I want to. When it comes to the team, I’m trying to create an atmosphere of freedom of choices and decisions. On the other hand, people should feel safe when stepping out of their comfort zone and even if they fail, they should receive valid feedback that will help them to improve. Actually, my favorite quote comes from the Batman movie: “Why do we fall Sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up”
Can you explain what your team is responsible for?
The core mission of the QA department is to build trust in the products we are delivering. Our services help to eliminate the risk of bugs that come naturally with development. From a testing perspective, the complexity of the product multiplied by the volatility of the travel industry makes our work extremely challenging. Even a straightforward scenario where a customer books one itinerary that consists of multiple flights can reveal many edge cases. By edge case I mean a case occurring only at an extreme (maximum or minimum) operating parameter. During the booking process, one of the flights may be delayed or canceled. We should prepare for all possible situations and make sure that the customer’s experience is flawless.
What was the most challenging situation you have experienced at Kiwi.com?
The QA department is quite big and every adjustment of process, or change in a course requires time. After a while, the first success stories start to happen and it’s pleasantly motivating. Kiwi.com has taught me to be more patient about my work.
What do you value most when it comes to your team members?
What I value most about our QA engineers is their attitude, drive to learn, and sound judgement which I think are some of the core abilities of a good QA. With this starting position, I found myself sometimes in a coaching and mentoring position. Sometimes, the right question can quickly reveal the root cause of an issue, lead to a broader discussion and catalyze the solution. I value respect. Kiwi.com is a global company and so are the people who work here. People are working from offices all over the world and although our native languages are different, we can understand and respect each other.
In your opinion, what qualities make people good colleagues to work with?
I never experienced Kiwi.com as a startup as I joined the company only 10 months ago. However, I can still feel some of it’s vital attributes such as the friendly communication and the amazing atmosphere. Even though I have spent the vast majority of my time in lockdown, I’ve found some friends in the Bratislava office and I am looking forward to post-crisis times!
Get to know more about Bratislava office
Get to know more about the Bratislava office and check out the interview with our Bratislava office site lead Tomáš Majer. You can also visit our Bratislava office page for more details.
Are you interested in open positions in the Bratislava office?