In the fourth of our Humans of iQmetrix mini-profiles, we chat with Kevin Wong, who is RQ Release Manager on the Retail (RMS) team, based in our Regina, SK office.
Kevin’s team lead Andrew Wilson describes him as “helpful, friendly, humble, and funny.” We’ve also heard he has some serious apple expertise (as in, the fruit, not the technology company). Sounds like an awesome person… but what did Kevin have to tell us about himself, and what gives with the apples?
iQmetrix: Tell us a bit about your role at iQmetrix.
Kevin: As the release manager of RQ [iQmetrix’s core retail management and point of sale solution], a lot of my role involves coordinating the releases of new software updates. That involves dealing with the development teams, our client managers, our support team, and between us, figuring out what needs to go into any given version of RQ — whether that is our monthly major releases or minor maintenance updates in between.
After that release, a lot of my work is getting our clients updated to the latest version and making sure everything is chugging along smoothly. It’s kind of like air traffic control with all the different moving parts, to ensure our latest software gets into the clients’ hands.
The software checks for new versions and updates automatically, so it’s pretty seamless for the end user, but our larger clients like to be given a heads-up so that they’re not caught off guard. Like, we might change the look of a screen, or adjust a workflow, so it’s important that they train their staff before we unleash it on them, and some of them might be resistant to this change and require additional training.
It’s an aspect of the business that a lot of people might not think about, but it’s pretty important, right? If I were to mess something up, it would become very apparent to everyone, very quickly!
When did you start at iQmetrix?
I’ve been with iQmetrix since December 2004, so nearly 19 years. I started as a QA [Quality Assurance] tester, and slowly and very organically worked my way up to this position. It was so organic that I couldn’t tell you exactly when I became RQ Release Manager, but it was a while ago!
At the time, we were still a small company and a lot of people wore many hats. Being a QA tester, I became a local expert on our software because I was poring through it all the time, and trying to break it in so many ways. Because I became that expert, it made sense for me to become a release manager because there’s so much value in knowing every aspect of what you’re releasing, and it helps with triaging if any issues arise.
So, what’s the story that got you to iQmetrix in 2004?
I had just graduated from the University of Regina. I originally went to university for a computer science degree, but I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I thought I would. So after a couple of years I switched to Business Administration, and really enjoyed that.
After I graduated with my Business Administration degree, I started looking for work and stumbled upon this job posting from iQmetrix for a QA testing position. It was a perfect fit for me because, while I didn’t want to pursue my Computer Science degree, I still had an interest in the field and enough of a background to be able to talk to developers. So I think that was very valuable in getting the role with iQmetrix.
iQmetrix has actually been the only company I’ve worked for, aside from casual jobs during university. Throughout university I worked at a wholesale warehouse that supplied stores with candy, so I would spend weekends packing up orders. Sometimes I would “accidentally” drop something so that it couldn’t be sold, then I’d get to snack on it!
What’s something interesting that we might not know about you?
One thing I always laugh about is that I accidentally became an expert on apples! One day, while in the grocery store, I stumbled upon a Honeycrisp apple, and it was really expensive, so I thought, what is this? So I figured I’d buy one and try it to see if it was worth the extra money. Prior to that I wasn’t really a big fan of apples, because my parents always bought Red Delicious when I was a kid, which are the worst! But I thought that’s all there was in the apple world.
When I had that Honeycrisp, which was so much better, I started compiling a power rankings list of different apple varieties. [Cosmic Crisp is now ranked #1, with Honeycrisp close behind at #2; Red Delicious remains staunchly in last place.] Every new apple I came across, I would try it, and add it to the list. I started sharing these rankings on Facebook and people found it very useful, and started coming to me for advice on which apples to buy. Apparently a lot of people were in the same boat as me and didn’t know how many different kinds of apples were out there!
I am also a father to two young boys, Edison and Hollis, who are five and three respectively. Needless to say, my life has changed quite dramatically since they were born!