June 2024 events: Where we went and what we learned

Five events in a month! Here's where the Qase team was and what we learned from each event.

Conference season is here! The Qase team attends, speaks at, and sponsors a variety of events all throughout the year, but June kicked off our busiest season!

We love meeting people — fellow testers, QAs, developers, and speakers, current customers, or people with questions or ideas to share with us. 

Events give us a place to chat with our industry peers, learn more about their pain points, and gather feedback. While we’d love to talk to you about Qase, we’re also excited to discuss the industry as a whole and get to know the people who advocate for quality. Ultimately, we want to elevate quality around the world and meet the people behind the important work. 

To keep up with where the Qase team will be, subscribe to our newsletter and check the Events section. 

Now let’s go over some highlights from the five events we’ve attended so far this month!

Quality Engineering Meetup #2: Berlin, Germany 

Vitaly Sharovatov collaborated with Thoughtworks to host the second Quality Engineering meetup in Berlin. 

Watch replays of the three talks:

  • Quality is Communication — the Who-What-Why-Principle in IT Testing by Frank Hampe
  • Requirements Testing: helping QA, developers, and managers with quality by Anastasiia Khabarova
  • The Human Factor in QA: Testing Beyond Code by Vitaly Sharovatov 
Photo of Anastasiia Khabarova wearing Qase t-shirt on stage next to slide with illustrated cat paws and text "Requirements Testing without Tears"

Qase QA engineer, Anastasiia Khaborova, gave her first talk! She discussed the dangers of not testing requirements, including:

  • Incorrect task execution
  • Delays in project execution
  • Increased costs
  • Customer dissatisfaction
  • Employee demotivation
  • Decreased work efficiency

We’re so proud of Anastasiia for giving her first talk and we hope to see her on stage again soon. 

Vitaly plans to host additional meetups in Berlin on an ongoing basis. Stay tuned for future dates!

Quality Engineering Meetup: Helsinki, Finland

Vitaly worked with the Zalando team in Helsinki to kick off the first of many meetups in Helsinki.

Check out replays from the three talks

  • How to run successful software without QA by Ekaterina Volkova 
  • Educational insights for QA: From Finnish educational system to mob learning by Vitaly Sharovatov
  • Social Software Testing Approaches by Maaret Pyhäjärvi 
Selfie of Vitaly Sharovatov in front of a crowd at Zalando/Qase Quality Engineering meetup in Helsinki

Thanks Zalando, here’s to more meetups in the future!

Nordic Testing Days: Tallinn, Estonia

Next, Vitaly and Breezy met up with Rease in Tallinn, Estonia for Nordic Testing Days (NTD). 

Photo of Rease Rios, Breezy Baldwin, and Vitaly Sharovatov in black Qase t-shirts and Nordic Testing Days badges

NTD took place in a very unique venue, Kultuurikatel/Tallinn Creative Hub. The building was formerly the Tallinn City Power Station, which introduced electricity in Estonia and eventually encouraged the widespread use of electricity throughout the country. 

Much of the original structure remains and it provided a very cool backdrop for conference conversations. 

Photo with rows of Qase stickers on a table with industrial staircases and structures in the background
Yellow and blue lights creating puzzle-like piece shapes on the floor in an industrial space

Vitaly had the chance to give his talk, The Human Factor in QA: Testing Beyond Code (video from a previous event). We’re grateful that the event photographer was able to get a few photos as we couldn’t get past the packed crowd that went up the stairs!

Vitaly in a Qase t-shirt and yellow pants fiving a presentation, current slide titled "Code freeze"
Vitaly in a Qase t-shirt and yellow pants fiving a presentation, current slide titled "something is not working as we want" with illustration of a bug
“If we find a bug in the code, we go and fix it. I believe that we also should be able to find and fix bugs in processes…Processes describe how we humans work together. If the processes are buggy, the work we do won’t be efficient”

In between sessions, the Qase team talked to various attendees. We heard from many testers that it can be difficult to convince leadership that investing in better tools will increase efficiency and quality. We hope to help testers make this case for test management tools — or make it Qase, pun intended   😉.

Breezy Baldin and Rease Rios at Qase booth at Nordic Testing Days, demoing Qase to attendees

Of course we also had some time for fun and giveaways. One of the attendees walked away with the Minecraft LEGO set that Breezy found herself falling in love with when she realized there were tiny LEGO cats included. 

Rease, Breezy, and Vitaly laughing with Nordic Testing Days attendees at Qase Booth. Breezy is holding a Minecraft LEGO set

Vitaly also participated in a panel that focused on the future of AI in testing. It was tough to see so many questions from the audience asking if they should be worried about AI replacing them and how they can prove their value in their organization. 

The panelists shared various tips, including:

  • Continuous upskilling to remain relevant and knowledgeable
  • Using AI to replace the boring tasks and focus human work on more on complex tasks 
  • Communicating with your team about what should and should not be handled by AI

Vitaly also stressed that AI can never replace the social aspect of quality work. Humans are the end-user, so humans will always be a necessary part of the quality assurance process. 

Tallinn was a new city for Vitaly, Breezy, and Rease and it provided a beautiful and charming location for a great conference. 

Panoramic photo of Tallin, Estonia from a high viewpoint
View of "Fat Margaret" gate in Tallinn, Estonia

EuroSTAR: Stockholm, Sweden

The trio from Tallinn continued into Stockholm, Sweden where Connor joined them for EuroSTAR Conference

Rease Rios, Vitaly Sharovatov, Breezy Baldwin, and Connor HejMej wearing black Qase t-shirts and EuroSTAR badges at Qase table.

EuroSTAR is one of the largest conferences in Europe so we talked to a lot of people! We listened to the frustrations from testers, QAs, and developers and noticed a few themes:

Change is the biggest challenge

While almost everyone who currently uses test management solutions or a combination of various tools expressed frustration with the current set up, many were nervous about exploring other options. Digging deeper revealed common challenges like cognitive overload from jumping between tools, inefficient workflows from lack of test case consistency and requirements management, and struggles with reporting value up to leadership. 

But as this has been the norm for so long, teams feel accustomed to the chaos. 

We know change is hard and our team empathized with the fear of introducing new tools. But this is why we love meeting people in person so much. Many of these conversations allowed us to demonstrate how tools can improve the quality of not just your products, but also your work life. 

Sometimes, testers and leadership aren’t aware that there are better options available

We approached every conversation with curiosity, asking questions like:

  • What is your role?
  • What do you like about your current toolstack?
  • Do you feel your tools help your team collaborate?
  • What frustrates you about your tools or workflow?
  • What’s your dream state for quality work at your organization?

Interestingly enough, many people started the conversation saying they were more or less happy with their current state. But as we discussed frustrations and dream features, they realized that they have more options than they previously imagined. 

Testers, QA, engineers, and developers are curious and like to experiment

While this wasn’t news to us, our conversations and experiences at EuroSTAR further showed us that people who work in quality assurance tend to be very curious and like to have fun with their work.

We had a booth visitor who was delighted that our app could accept foreign language characters and ended up testing emojis and giggling over an emoji keyboard. Several people asked if they could take over an iPad and play around with Qase just to get a feel for the tool. And of course countless people expressed their love of LEGOs when they saw our raffle prize, the Dungeons and Dragons set! It’s not surprising so many people in quality assurance enjoy building and playing. 

Man with ponytail smiling widely as he accepts the Dungeons and Dragons LEGO set from Breezy Baldwin of Qase on the EuroSTAR stage.

Romanian Testing Conference: Cluj-Napoca, Romania

While the Qase team met with people at EuroSTAR, US-based Developer Advocate Jenna Charlton was a track chair at the Romanian Testing Conference. 

Photo of Jenna Charlton in black dress wearing a Romanian Testing Conference badge

Jenna’s thoughts on the event:

I was absolutely delighted when the Andreis (plural) asked me to co-chair RTC with Paul Holland! RTC is a fantastic event and brings together some of the best in testing in Romania and the world. While planning, Paul and I had the tough job of narrowing down a program from the very high quality list of submissions. We also had the opportunity to invite some of our favorite speakers from all over the world to be keynote speakers and I was overjoyed that almost all invited speakers accepted! 

The theme for RTC this year “Beyond the surface: Unleashing the hidden potential in testing” was selected by the chairperson Dana Aonofriesei. The theme was woven throughout the whole conference. From keynotes that helped attendees explore more and ask bigger questions and track talks that challenged us to dig deeper and try new things. Below are some of the highlights from the conference.

Day 1

We kicked things off with Rachel Kibler’s exceptional keynote Real Life is Not an Edge Case. Rachel’s talk challenged us to see a more full picture of our users and how they experience our applications. Rachel asked us what it would be like to use an application while under stress or on our worst day. She also shared insights into design and coding decisions that can make our applications hostile to our users and had some thought provoking insights into when and how AI is used. 

Day 2

Day 2 was full of fantastic speakers and inspiring talks and keynotes. We opened the day with Lena Nyström and Mathais Jansson’s keynote The Jurassic Park Dilemma - possible, ethical, legal. Lena is an engineering manager and Mathais is a lawyer. Together, they challenged attendees to ask the right questions and consider the ethical implications of the decisions they make when building software. After all, just because we can, doesn’t mean we should! 

Some of my other favorite talks were Bring Back the Magic to Your Testing - Life lessons from a professional magician by Grzegorz Niczyporuk, Looking Under the Surface by Gem Hill, and Cartography of the Deep: distributed tracing for testing by Nicole van der Hoeven. All of these talks inspired us to go deeper in our communication, understanding of empathy, and understanding of the applications we support. 

Nicole van der Hoeven of Grafana Labs
Nicole van der Hoeven of Grafana Labs

All of the talks and speakers were top notch but I've saved the best for last! Ashley Hunsberger’s talk Diamonds in the Rough: Unlocking Our Potential was deeply personal, thoughtful, and inspiring. Ashley shared her personal story of career shifts, layoffs, illness, and burnout. Interwoven in her talk is how we can take control of our careers and potential through job crafting. As a scientist practitioner, Ashley believes we can use evidence-backed practices to unlock our potential, find our “why”, and build the career we’ve always wanted.

Cluj-Napoca is a beautiful city and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have been involved in Romanian Testing Conference for the second year in a row. Being a track chair is a responsibility I don’t take lightly. Serving as an organizer for a conference is one of the many ways we can give back to the community and I encourage you to find ways to get involved in your favorite conference through either speaking, organizing, or volunteering. 

Photo of statue: man on a horse
Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Meet us at an event!

Several more events are on the calendar for us in the coming months and we intend to add more meetups as well, particularly in the Berlin and Helsinki areas. If you’d like to suggest a new location for a meetup or partner with us to host one, please reach out to Vitaly Sharovatov, our Europe-based Developer Advocate. 

We always include upcoming events — including ones we won’t be able to attend — in our biweekly newsletter. Subscribe below to keep up to date. 

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