Quest for Quality 2017 conference Dublin

On 4 and 5. October I had the honor to speak and take part at the Quest for Quality conference in Dublin, Ireland, organized and sponsored by Comtrade Digital Services. It was the software testing conference with a focus on the challenges that Quality Assurance in IT industry faces within the digital transformation. Quest for Quality began its journey in 2016 with a very successful 2-day event in Ljubljana, Slovenia and what a great event this one was! It offered a great mix of excellent content, superb location, nice stuff and attendees and perfect network posibilities.

For me the conference began already on a day before since I wanted to be there on time and also I was invited to the speakers dinner on the Tuesday evening. Through the course of Apéro and dinner I had a chance to meet the organizers and already make friends with them and my fellow speakers. We tackled different topics including our talks but also learning and coaching about agile testing mindset. Also, tips and tricks when organizing local meetups were on the agenda.

1st day

On the next day the conference started with the opening notes by Viktor Kovačević, Director of Comtrade Digital Services and Nikola Šopar, Head of Editorial Board, followed by 3 keynotes. I was already amazed when I realized there were 3 keynotes on the first morning and what a superb start that was!

The first keynote by Gar Mac Criosta was about Quality in an Age of Uncertainty. 

Digital technologies have changed the way we work and live and that change is accelerating. Platforms and the platform economy are creating new ways of delivering amazing experiences and crazy new connections between customers and providers of services.

Gar Mac is a digital architect, instructor and a founder of Business Model Adventures.  If you check his company’s website you will find some nice pointers toward Happifesto but also his inspiring happy startup e-book.

In the second keynote Andreas Grabner from Dynatrace talked about How DevOps is done by Top Performers.

DevOps is one of the most abused and overrated marketing terms in the last years! That’s not an alternative fact! It’s just Andi’s opinion! YET – it is a very real thing that allowed many software companies to transform the way they think about software engineering. The downside with DevOps in 2017 – based on the recent State of DevOps Report – is that DevOps transformations are most often driven by business which means “Faster to Market” but not “Faster Quality to Market”.

I couldn’t agree more with everything Andreas explained and some of the key getaways are:

  • Being responsible for the features end to end
  • Idea and example taken from one of the top performers: boot camp where they challenge engineers to get out of their comfort zone and try out and learn the things they don’t like
  • Quality heat map including the baseline test metrics for e.g. 10 most important tests.

The third keynote about Business Value of Testing was by Dejan Ćušić, Business Director at Comtrade Digital Services in Dublin. Again the topic lots of us want to master. Dejan delivered very good tips and examples.

While it may seem obvious to QA managers and testers, business is very often questioning (rightly) business value of automated testing.

During and after the lunch I had to take care of some work stuff so the first afternoon talk I visited was one by Maik Nogens about How the XING Team Created a Successful Content Platform from Scratch. This talk can serve as a reference for lots of other development teams.

An overview of how testers are involved in XING, how a strong tester community was build and how we handle the balance of continuous delivery in web versus the constraints in submitting to App Stores. The talk also gives a glimpse into a typical iteration for a tester in an agile development team and what (maybe) non-typical tasks are done.

Brendan O Reilly explained Why Culture eats DevOps for Breakfast. I’ve heard him talking about Pathological, Bureaucratic and Generous culture and liked all his views but soon it was already time for my talk. 🙂

I was talking about the topic that kept me very busy in the last year, Continuous Delivery Using Crowdsourced Testing. Based on my practical experiences with adjusting our agile testing strategy to include crowdsourced testers for our manual functional (usability, beta, new feature and regression) tests, scaling those resources to enable us getting to know our end-customers even better, using analytics to decide what devices, browsers and OS to test in more or less extent, I was very happy to see lots of attendees being very interested to hear my talk and ask me lots of valuable questions during Q & A and in the next two days.

I have to admit that after my talk and since it was already 4 PM I was tired but happy enough to pay myself a real break. Also some more work stuff waited for me and therefore I couldn’t really follow on the AI talk and panel.

The first conference day ended with a fabulous networking event in the Marker Brasserie. Fed by delicious food and inspired by the cool disco DJ sounds one could dance or mingle with the colleagues and exchange views on different subjects.

2nd day

The second day started with the Finn Lorbeer’s (Thoughtworks) keynote about Building a High Quality Product. 

Finn argues that this is only one part of the story: we do not only need to test earlier in the software development process: we also have to apply other methods than testing to ensure the fast and robust delivery of an overall high quality product. Additionally, we need to apply those methods in the different context of our work. This includes understanding the business value as much as the system architecture of the product.

Finn said:

  • Testing does not build quality. QA is just like a light showing what is there on the way.
  • Don’t waste a mistake, learn from it.
  • You may not have all the right skills among your project team. In that case, advocate for swapping people in order to have the right skills in your team.
  • Having fun is one of the most important things.

The following keynote was by Ingo Philipp from Tricentis which was so far my favorite talk of the whole conference. While talking about how to Rediscover Exploratory Testing, Ingo was funny but also delivered high value content and lots of tips how to properly execute exploratory tests.

The talks that rounded up my second day were, among others:

The closing keynote was delivered by a beautiful lady and communication expert Gina London. Here are some key takeaways from her energizing and a bit provocative talk:

  • We are never NOT communicating
  • Don’t be distracted when you are communicating
  • First impressions count
  • Are you doing something deliberately or by default?
  • Warm embrace, gracious handshake
  • AIM “method” meaning:
    • Audience analyze before you communicate. It’s about them, not you.
    • Intent what do you want them to do ? goal ? Action ?
    • Message should be memorable, brief, emotional, databacked, craft with care
  • what you do is up to you !
  • ‎introverts understand system and structure and can skill up better
  • communication should be ‎vibrant, compelling
  • written communication is also very important, but don’t put too much in an email.
  • when you read an email, highlight the most important parts
  • Finding a balance between so much data and communication is very important -> layers
  • Fear the repercusions when not practicing public speaking, and don’t fear the public speaking itself.
  • It is very passive aggressive to write when you sit accross the hall. 🙂

THANKS

I’d like to give my HUGE thanks to the organizers of this remarkable conference, all speakers and attendees and especially to Viktor, Aleksandar, Nikola, Dejan and other Comtrade colleagues who amazed me with their knowledge and insights and to my new friends and colleagues Evelina Ema, Amela, Darko etc etc. 🙂 Thanks Lina and Neven for having such a nice stroll through the city with me. It was so much fun with all of you and I’m looking forward to see you all soon.

Photo Album

Here’s my Quest for Quality 2017 Dublin photo album. 🙂

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