“Planit is a big enough company to have lots of opportunities, but small enough to still be able to recognise the individuals that make it successful. I’m always happy to recruit new people because I know we can give them a great opportunity and grow their careers.”
Judy McKay, Principal Consultant, Planit
Judy McKay started a business major in university but quickly realised that the job prospects were few and far between. As a result, she added a computer science/info systems major and graduated with both degrees.
After university, Judy McKay got her start in IT as a developer and database administrator. During the migrating from development to systems analysis, she was introduced to good static testing and how this reduced the need for dynamic testing.
“Foolishly, I left that company and took a job in quality assurance thinking, ‘how hard can this be?’” she says. “That’s when I realised what it was like to do testing when there were no requirements, no static testing and lots of deadlines.”
Judy managed to tough it out in the role for ten years (“because I love a challenge”) to earn her stripes as a manual tester, test automator, and test manager. Since then, she took her expertise to companies both large (Verisign, Cisco and Canon) and small.
“In those jobs I’ve done a range of testing, serving mostly as a test manager or test director, but remaining hands-on as well,” she says. “Along the way, I also started by own company developing testing tools, conducting training, and providing consulting in testing and quality assurance.”
In the process, Judy developed a newfound appreciation for testing. “I find it fascinating because I’m naturally snoopy, and like to see how things work and, in some cases, don’t work,” she says.
An ISTQB meeting took Judy on a trip to New Zealand, where she immediately fell in love with its natural beauty. She and family quickly decided there was no reason to return to the US except to retrieve their dogs.
A year later, Judy and her family (together with the dogs) relocated to a lifestyle block in Christchurch. Over the years, it transformed into a small babydoll sheep farm with alpacas.
Judy worked several years at Hewlett-Packard in Christchurch until she had a chance encounter at the Planit booth at a ISTQB meeting in London. The idea of a Christchurch office was floated during the conversation and became a reality in 2014, which Judy joined as a Principal Consultant to help run.
“So, here I am in Christchurch with a thriving Planit office and more work than we can handle,” she says. “It’s a good problem to have!”
Planit in Christchurch has been operating for three years and it is now receiving referrals to new prospects from current and past clients. Judy has been involved with the ISTQB since 2005 and is currently the president of the ASTQB, and now that she’s based in Oceania, she’s currently working towards becoming an associate member of the ANZTB.
“I had a meeting recently where the client’s test manager commented on the excellence of our people, their dedication, their ability and the value that they have already provided,” she says. “That’s definitely a feel-good moment, and those are becoming more frequent as we get bigger and better known.”
As the Christchurch office’s business continues to grow, it continually recruits staff both locally and from overseas. As for what attracts candidates to Planit, Judy points to the company-wide culture that encourages staff to focus on what they do well.
“Planit is a big enough company to have lots of opportunities, but small enough to still be able to recognise the individuals that make it successful,” she says. “I’m always happy to recruit new people because I know we can give them a great opportunity and grow their careers.”