We chatted with Janick Valois, Quality Manager on the Shotgun team based in Montreal.
Tell us a bit about your job.
I’m managing a team of Quality Analysts as well as the release process and projects from a Quality Assurance perspective. I joined Shotgun on February 6th, 2017 – almost one year ago now.
Where were you working prior?
I started working in software development for media and entertainment in 1994 as an intern. At the time, I was hired as a QA Analyst. In 1995, the 3D animation market changed: the price of licenses dropped drastically making animation packages more accessible to more people. This was the democratization of 3D animation and with a step back, I realized I was part of an important moment in the history of our industry… But it doesn’t make me feel much younger! ;)
I joined the Flame team at Autodesk in 2007. I was hired to build and lead an internal production team, where our mission was to test the applications in development by performing real production work.
In the fall of 2015, I left Autodesk to join a Montreal startup called Lightspeed POS as QA Manager. The company is developing cloud-based point of sales applications for retailers and restaurants as well as online stores. I then decided to take a break. After more than 20 years in software development and 3 kids later, I felt like I needed a rest. During the course of the year, I pursued an organizational leadership certificate at HEC and started my own small company called SAKSAC. We design and produce reusable bags to replace the single usage bags in the fruits and vegetables department in grocery stores. This is my first entrepreneurial experience and I really love it and am learning a whole lot from it.
In February 2017, I returned to Autodesk as a Quality Manager for Shotgun. And here I am now, part of the Shotgun Team!
How has your background helped you on the Shotgun team?
With close to 25 years of experience in QA in various environments, I was quickly able to see what changes we could make to some practices to improve the efficiency of our testing and quality in general.
I have helped the team with defining new development strategies to make a better use of the Quality Assurance team so they can focus on validating new features in development and do a little less redundant testing on functionality already in production.
Since I have been here, we’ve put a new release schedule in place, allowing us to deliver new feature work every 6 weeks and bug fixes to our clients every 2 weeks. I have been doing lots of coaching around performing good risk assessment to keep stability in our releases. Shotgun is a complex software and testing it is pretty complicated, as it’s highly customizable and people use it in a huge variety of configurations with many different DCCs. Keeping healthy development practices and performing coverage that reflects the different ways people are using our application is key to ensuring the quality of what we deliver to our clients.
What are you currently working on?
A colleague and I are currently working on a set of new quality metrics for Shotgun and RV.
I am also working on finding a new QA person to join our team. Please feel free to share if you know someone who would be a good addition to our team!
Fave Shotgun feature?
Being a data driven person, I love the new Production Insights toolset in Shotgun. I am currently exploring this new toolset, building pages including graphs, which allow me to track release readiness data and quality metrics. This is only the first phase of development for this toolset. The future of it is very promising!
Have you heard of any creative ways Shotgun is being used?
I have not had the chance to visit a lot of clients yet, but I was really impressed by the complex pipeline Rodeo FX has been putting in place around Shotgun. From producers to supervisors and artists, everybody is using Shotgun there - even the accounting department and the receptionist who is using the crew planning tool in her daily activities. I’m hoping to visit more clients soon so that I have visibility on more pipeline that will inspire our testing!
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