Welcome to Startup Stories, a series that takes you behind the scenes to share what working at a startup is really like. Our mission at Thrive Market is simple: to make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone. But fulfilling our big dreams take a team of dedicated, inspiring, funny, and tenacious people who show up to work every day eager to make a difference.
Today we’re introducing you to our Manager of Quality Assurance Engineering, Azra Fathima. She helps ensure website updates go live without a hitch, and motivates her team to make shopping a seamless experience for our members.
Let’s start with the basics. Can you describe your role at Thrive Market?
I help ensure the quality of the code, and that the user experience on our website is maintained to the highest standards. Additionally, I manage a team of manual and automation quality assurance engineers, mentor and train the new hires, and help with the onboarding process. I’m also the first point of contact for our member services team and the rest of the company in case any defects or bad user experiences are encountered on the site.
Is there anything people misunderstand about your job, or something that might surprise members to learn about your work?
There’s a common misconception that the job of a QA (quality assurance) is to click links and buttons to make sure they’re working as expected. But in reality, the job of a QA engineer is to test new features being added to make sure they don’t break any existing features on the website. Automation helps emulate the users’ interaction with our site, and helps launch new features faster for a better member experience.
What do you enjoy most about managing quality assurance?
Walking into work every day knowing that the website is working as intended and members are able to place orders without hassle is what motivates me to help the team deliver the best possible experience.
What does a typical day look like? Do you have any routines or rituals that help you feel your best? Or a favorite nibble to grab from the kitchen, perhaps?
A typical day starts with a morning workout, then I have a cup of coffee at home and get to work. Once I’m at work, we have a quick stand-up meeting to discuss what was done yesterday, what will be worked on today, and if there are any blockers in the way. My favorite snack in the kitchen is a banana with some Thrive Market Almond Butter and Thrive Market Organic Goji Berries as toppings. It almost tastes like a dessert.
What inspires you to live a healthy lifestyle? Is there something in particular that drew you to Thrive Market?
Until I joined Thrive Market, I always associated a healthy lifestyle with “dieting.” After learning what “healthy lifestyle” actually means, and how clean eating and real ingredients can alter your mind and body, I’ve been putting my learnings into practice. It definitely has a big impact on me! Working at Thrive Market is fulfilling because of our mission to make healthy lifestyle accessible to everyone.
When do you feel most successful or proud of your work?
After releasing a feature that goes live with zero (or minimal) defects experienced by users—and delivering it on time.
Give us a peek at what you eat during the day—breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack!
I’m creature of habit. My mornings always start with a steamy bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon, peanut butter, and frozen blueberries. (I make this at work in the morning thanks to our fully stocked kitchen.) I use dinner time to unwind in the kitchen by doing the thing I love the most—cooking. Most nights I keep my meals simple and make scrambled egg whites with spinach and mushrooms with a side of cauliflower mash.
What’s one thing you want others to know about Thrive Market, that they might not learn from ordering, reading the blog, or visiting the website?
A lot goes on behind the scenes at Thrive Market HQ. Here at the Engineering nook we work hard and play harder. A lot of effort goes into every little change that shows up on our website. For example, to create a new welcome page for our users, designers create the most user-friendly designs, the product team works with the copy team and design team, plus other stakeholders, and puts the idea into wireframes that engineers help make a reality. My team of QA engineers verifies the designs, functionality, and user experience on different devices and browsers, and identifies breakpoints before the page goes live. Once it goes live we celebrate!
Last but not least, what’s your favorite Thrive Market product and why?
My favorite product is our Thrive Market Plantain Chips because they’re delicious and have perfect amount of salt that gives a burst of amazing flavor in your mouth.