It’s time for another Centercode Program Manager Interview!
Today I am chatting with Ty Wells, a Program Manager who taught me so much when I was just getting started at Centercode. As you will learn, he is not only passionate about his job but also spending time outdoors.
If you’re someone who likes doing things chronologically, this is the third interview in our series. You can read the first one I did with Carol Lee here, or check out my previous interview with Cameron Bell by clicking this link. If reading this blog gets you excited about participating in a test, you can always sign up for Betabound and join the list to get notified about future test opportunities!
An Interview with Ty Wells
Can you talk a little bit about your background and how you came to work at Centercode?
I spent a lot of time in my early 20s working at a well-known wireless network company, and that’s really what got me interested in technology. After many years working in mobile tech, I transitioned my career into homeowners insurance. This led to complex claims where I managed restoration work on a large scale. I found myself essentially doing project management.
This led me to my job at Centercode, where I was told about the opportunity by a friend who thought I would be a good fit. It worked out because of my love for technology, my experience with insurance, and running these large projects for homes. I love my career and am proud to work for Centercode.
What is your daily routine like as a CPM?
My daily routine starts before I even have my coffee. The first thing I do each morning is check my email because it puts me at ease and helps me know what my day is looking like. I can also make sure I address anything that is urgent. Then I get to make my coffee and check if I have any meetings to go to or anything else that is scheduled and needs to be prioritized.
I handle all my other management duties in between those meetings, such as addressing any new feedback and communicating with testers and clients. These things must be done throughout the day to make sure all of my tests are running smoothly.
Towards the end of the day, I wrap up any outstanding emails and try to get to Inbox Zero, which literally means I try to keep my inbox empty as often as possible. Chasing that is very fun, but I only get there about once a month. Once I do achieve it, I can be confident that any pressing matters have been addressed and that there is nothing that I forgot to see.
“…each client is unique and has different needs, so I am constantly coming across something new to tackle. The environment is always changing, from our software to the market itself.”
What are some things that make a successful program manager?
I believe a successful program manager needs the ability to play things by ear and be versatile. Tests can always take a turn depending on the circumstances. For example, there could be a huge issue with a piece of software, and there will be a lot of feedback that will need to be addressed. This will require the test to pivot more into that one area than was initially anticipated.
You also need to be great at communicating. This will help you not only meet but exceed your client’s expectations. This could mean knowing the pace at which they like to test, or knowing what type of information they want to get out of testing. If the test starts out as a bug hunt, it can also be used to gather marketing information because we are already going through the process of learning from passionate users of the product. This ensures that we can maximize the data that we are getting, which means the client is more likely to be satisfied with the results.
What do you enjoy about your role?
There’s so much that I enjoy, and as I said earlier, I love working at Centercode. As for what I enjoy the most, I would have to say it is my co-workers. I know it is silly to say this, but a lot of other jobs are like, “We are family here”, but with Centercode I truly believe this, even if it is one of the craziest families I have ever met.
I love my job because I know each client is unique and has different needs, so I am constantly coming across something new to tackle. The environment is always changing, from our software to the market itself. We have to adjust to these changes, and I enjoy that there is always something new to look forward to.
What piece of advice would you like to give to testers?
I believe testers should remember to have fun. You’re checking out a new product, so explore and do whatever you want to do with it. When you explore all the edge cases of a product, that is where you find the innovation the client is looking for.
If you could choose any one thing to test, what would it be?
I would love to test out an action camera and the software that goes along with it. I am a huge fan of outdoor sports and this is something that I know I would use a ton. While there have been tests for outdoor technology, I would love to see how a test for an action camera would perform on our platform.
“When you explore all the edge cases of a product, that is where you find the innovation the client is looking for.”
What’s your favorite hobby outside of work?
It’s probably no surprise based on my previous answer that I love snowboarding, and that was a huge thing for me last winter. I also love hiking and traveling, and this summer I am probably going to do some solo backpacking in Europe. I would definitely like to go out of the country for my birthday. I actually moved to Utah specifically to get to experience the mountains, hiking, camping, and being outdoorsy. So that’s what me and my pup do a lot of the time!
Many thanks to Ty for allowing me to interview him. If you would like to chat with him, feel free to add a comment in the section below or send an email to email@example.com and I will make sure he sees it!
As always, here is your monthly reminder to sign up for Betabound to get notified of upcoming test opportunities where you can meet some of our amazing Centercode Program Managers!