Who am I?

I’m Stuart Thomas, a 30-something-year-old retro-gaming and tech enthusiast, car lover, and problem-solver based in Shropshire, where I live with my wife and our Dalmatian. I have a real passion for high-quality software development and helping others be the best they can be. To further this passion, I also offer mentoring to anyone interested in Engineering, Quality, and Leadership.

What do I do?

I provide support, guidance, and leadership to engineering teams to cultivate high-performing teams with Quality at the centre of everything they do. I believe that a holistic approach to Quality can enhance the experience for everyone involved with your product.

I’ve had the privilege of working at some revolutionary businesses, including Zoopla (now Houseful), Nominet, and currently, 15gifts.


I worked at Houseful for nine years, starting my software career there and eventually becoming a Senior Engineering Manager. My journey there is a real-life success story of how their approach to personal development and Career Frameworks can help individuals reach their goals.

In my day to day activities I worked with the teams that build Estate Agency CRM offerings, leading a number of teams including Quality, Platform, and Product focussed teams. More broadly, I worked across the various business units that make up Houseful as a leader for our Communities of Practices for Quality and Risk, and member of the Performance, and DORA metrics communities.

Key Achievements

During my time working for Houseful I had the opportunity to help re-imagine and shape Quality and ways of working across the Software business unit. There was a wide range of initiatives and improvements, of which the highlights include:

  • Created the Zoopla Holistic Testing Model – As part of creating the Quality Strategy for the Business to Business products at Zoopla, I created the Zoopla Holistic Testing Model. The model is intended to demonstrate how Quality and testing forms an integral part of our Software Development Life Cycle, and in doing so, it also acts as a quick reference for What, How, When and Where to test. 
  • Shift Left – Creating a quality first culture with shift left approach that is embraced by all engineers across the domain.
  • Reduced duration of regression testing by over 95% – Implemented automated UI and API testing to cover our regression testing needs. Reducing man hours testing takes from 30 to less than 1.
  • Reduced delivery time by 480 hours Lead a series of work that improved development and deployment strategies. Ultimately reduced time to deploy changes from 493 hours to less than 12.
  • Re-imagined Customer Support – Reviewed and overhauled the way the customer support teams worked with the engineering teams. Resulted in a more empowered support team, a less interrupted engineering team and happier customers.


After departing Zoopla, I joined Nominet as Engineering Manager for Quality. Due to circumstances outside of my control, my time at Nominet was cut short. Despite this my team and I made significant achievements during my time there, including:

  • Establishing a Quality Mentoring Program – This program provided a central hub for people to gain the support required to meet their personal development goals. This worked by pairing a mentee with a dedicated mentor who was a subject matter expert in the area of interest to the mentee and providing a framework to support the mentoring process.
  • Quality Community of Practice – The community of practice provided an opportunity for the broader Quality team, and anyone else interested in Quality, to come together and discuss all matters related to Quality. This provided an opportunity for learning and research and resulted in a number of successful projects that contributed to an improvement in quality.


Currently, I am the Head of Quality at 15gifts. I’ll be updating this page and my blog over time to reflect my ongoing experiences and insights.

Why a blog?

I started this blog in May 2022 as a way to contribute to the wider software and quality engineering community. I hope you find the content useful. If you enjoy what you read here please let me know! Comments are always welcome, or contact me via the contact page.

The Quality Duck- Yellow rubber duck looking at screen of code