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It’s an exciting time for AO Tech – James Lewis, Test Lead.

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It’s an exciting time to be working within AO Tech. I’ve been in the company for 18 months now, and everything that’s happened in that time and the direction we’re moving in is incredibly encouraging. I originally joined as a QA Engineer, but with the support around me I’ve quickly progressed to a QA Lead within the Customer Experience and Payments team.

At the moment we’re around halfway through a really exciting transition period into a new way of working via Product Teams. A Product Team is a cross functional group of people coming together to obsess over a product in order to deliver amazing features and functionality into the hands of our customers. The team is made up of individuals from across Tech such as Business Analysts, QA Engineers and Software Developers who work directly with a Product Owner. Each team is provided a clear mission and then given the autonomy to succeed.

Previously teams didn’t have complete ownership over their product, and we would find ourselves jumping from one project to another. This way of working stops you unlocking the full potential of a product because you can’t dedicate yourself to it. So going from the idea stage, to production and then to actually seeing it in practice would take months or even years. Whereas now, with Product Teams, the lead time is significantly reduced, we can experiment with new features and improvements much quicker.

We’re already seeing the results too. Recently we’ve completely redesigned the payment method through integrating Klarna for AO Germany, giving customers a smoother payment journey. And with the #SaveTheContactCentre initiative, we’re coming up with ideas to drive customers away from our contact centres and help and encourage them to self-serve. With the ability to own and innovate on our products, there’s a real sense of reward seeing the direct impact your work is having on the customer.

The whole of AO seems to have really bought into the fact that Tech needs space and time to develop into a scalable and adaptable manner. We’ve got big ambitions with how we want to move forward with both the Product Teams and the tech we use. We’re currently moving towards an event-driven eco-system and we’ve already done a lot of the groundwork in terms of what a Product Team looks like and how we go about setting one up. Now, it’s all about cracking on and really getting into the thick of it.

I think when you combine this new exciting way of working with the culture and support that has always been a mainstay of AO, then there really isn’t a better time to join. With a forward-thinking plan and a clear career progression path, I’m excited for what the future holds. I’ve got my personal goals and I know I’ll have the full support and backing of AO.

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