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SQA Days EU is a one big experiment.

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Two weeks ago, I spoke at the SQA Days EU conference, which was held in Riga. So far, it has been one of the most interesting experiences in my professional life. At first, I felt like for me, personally, the conference did not go well. Preparing the presentation was hard, largely due to the immense amount of pressure at work. Then, at the conference itself, my speech did not win the top place. The conference room was almost empty and even the photographer took only one picture me, and that was the picture of my ass back. But then, when I looked through my notes and photos, I realized that I was, indeed, a part of an interesting experiment. Here are more details about it …


Intercultural Conference

Have you ever attended a dual-lingual conference? Have you ever been to a place, where organizers provided speakers and participants from 37 countries with special tools for listening, speaking and communicating that offered equally comfortable conditions for representatives from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, England, Turkey, Armenia, Israel, etc. to work together, at the same site? All of us were united by one goal – creating top notch software for better tomorrow.

This is what I experienced at the conference in Riga. All presentations were translated into Russian and English, which gave the Russian-speaking attendees an opportunity to get to know the European speakers better, while Russian-speaking presenters got to talk in front of an international audience. Shortly after the presentation, and, of course, a little bit of wine, everyone recalled the English language and started the conversation. That’s where we found out that, after all, we are all fighting the same battle for quality and that we can solve our problems together, by exchanging valuable experience. In this sense, this experiment was successful. Moving forward …


Stars of Europe

I would like to take this opportunity to mention the conference speaker. Let’s start with the legends of testing from the post-Soviet environment – Anton Semenchenko, Alexey Barantsev, Aleksandr Gritsevski, Roman Lovlev, Nikita Nalyutin. Then comes a list of great international speakers I have lots of respect for and who are already familiar to everyone in the “quality” field: Joel Oliveira, Vipul Kocher, Karolina Zmitrowicz, Erik van Veenendaal, Olivier Denoo, Vojtech Barta. In addition, I made a discovery of my own – Szell Szilard, a speaker from Nokia (Finland). His charisma and deep knowledge about DevOps completely won my heart as a well, as a couple hundreds of others. So, I was not after all surprised that I didn’t not get to be one of the top three presenters. 🙂 By the way, speaking about my presentation …


My experiment

This time I gave a speech on “Dreams of the QA engineer. Complete automation.” I talked about the new place of the QA/ Test Engineer in the world of “total automation”, “testing” and processes. Link to the presentation (RU). Probably, it was the first time in my career, as a speaker, that I’ve decided to create a conceptual presentation. Usually, my presentations are very practical, but this time, I felt the need to share my research findings with the world. And what it seemed to me, was that they were very provocative and “progressive”. Therefore, it was not exactly something that one would call a “mainstream”. As it turned out, I was not the only one who believed so, and I ended up convincing my audience that taking risks and experimenting brings good results. As I’ve previously mentioned, I was not the only one with innovative ideas, organizers came prepared too…

Additional “features” of the conference

I should probably list the two great “features” I was particularly fond of at the conference: BarCamp and Test Clinic.

BarCamp is a real party place. I stayed there for at least half a day. Additional blitz presentations, discussions, chatter about pains and gains, future and just about anything from testing world. Really cool idea.

Test Clinic is a renown practice at global conferences. I was off of the doctors, and my team’s main goal was to sort out the “pains” of colleagues. We were strolling around in scrubs, taking in a couple of “patients” every day.

Organization

Now a few words about conference organization. In general, everything was on a very high level: translation of presentations in real time, presenter’s area, food, snacks, drinks, communication, location of the hotel – everything was impeccable. The only thing I felt that was lacking was sponsored gifts and stickers from the conference.

It also seems to me that the organizers did not even realize themselves what an interesting experiment they had conducted- connecting the post-Soviet environment with that of Europe. And they did it really well. I truly appreciated it!

Conclusion

Here are the main points I got from this conference:

  • We need to experiment more
  • We need to challenge ourselves to go beyond the boundaries of the “comfort zone”
  • What truly unites us, is the thirst for knowledge and the desire for quality
  • I will definitely come to European SQA Days again.

And finally, I would like thank my coordinator, Alexandru Kutzan, for helping to put together my presentation. And the team of organizers, led by Vladislav Orlikov. Thanks to all of you, again!



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