Pakistan Software Quality Conference 2017
The first ever conference about Software Quality and perhaps the biggest Software Engineering conference in Pakistan’s history happened last weekend. Called as PSQC17 and organized through the platform of PSTB (Pakistan Software Testing Board), it drew ~275 Software Quality practitioners and researchers across the country.
This was a dream come true for all of us who have been building the community over the last three years through various events. And what a rewarding manifestation of our dream it was on the day. The registration desk opened at 8:30 AM and some testers were there already. Within next half an hour of Registration & Networking time, the beautiful Crystal Ball Room at the Marriott, Islamabad were filling rapidly. The proceedings started with recitation of Holy Quran and then the host of the event Roshan Masood from Confiz Ltd, Lahore took over the stage. With a smiling welcome to all and explaining the Conference theme “Testing in the Real”, Roshan invited President PSTB Dr. Zohaib Iqbal to give the opening note.
Dr. Zohaib first explained why talking about Software Quality is so important in today’s complex world which runs on software. He introduced the PSTB and it’s different objectives that include building a community and sharing knowledge. He briefly recapped the journey so far and how this Conference is a perfect climax to all those activities. Dr. Zohaib also shared demographics of the audience which included participation from all the provinces, almost one third audience representing female population and a mixed audience with varying experience. He set up some expectations for the enthusiastic gathering in the hall and laid down structure of the talks coming their way.
(more photos coming soon to facebook event page)
On this occasion, we were honored by the presence of Ambassadors in Pakistan from Portugal, Tunisia, Ukraine, Bulgaria and guests from Japan and China Embassy. Taking advantage to get in touch with top IT guys of the country, Portuguese Ambassador Joao Paulo Sabido Costa Addressed and shared how IT industry from both countries can work together for collective success. The Tunisian Ambassador Adel Elarbi also welcomed all the participants and extended his support in building the bridges between skillful people from both countries.
Here the first session of making connections finished with some refreshments offered to everyone. The testers from Lahore and Karachi were warmly welcomed by the ones from twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. I saw many new connections being made there which I can assure will go a long way.
The proceedings resumed through a talk on Quality Today by Kamran Shaukat Ali Khan, AVP Systems Ltd. who traveled from Lahore for the event. Kamran’s talk revolved around the basic questions of what Quality is, how we define it, what it costs to produce Quality and why we still see so many failures. Through references to classic materials like Quality is Free by Crosby and Deming’s principles, he involved the audience by asking many questions. He summed up by motivating the Testers to step up and take overall ownership of Quality in the products and solutions they deliver. You can get the whole presentation here: PSQC17 – Quality Today – Kamran Shaukat
After this talk, we had to split the session in parallel. Many were not happy as they wanted to attend all the sessions and they were reminded that “Life is parallel and so is learning”.
At this point sessions were held back to back both in the main Conference Hall and the Ambassador Room. I moved around all the places to catch maximum on talks but some of my notes are based upon observations from others who attended the sessions.
In the main hall, next talk was on 5 Cs of DevOps by Syed Azhar ul Islam, Director DevOps Careem who flew from Karachi specially for the event. Azhar explained that to support products like Careem, the silos of Development, Testing, Operations, Product Management etc. need to be broken and all should work together. The summary slide had Planning drive Integration which drives Testing which gears Deployment which drives Monitoring & Feedback. All his slides are here: PSQC17 – 5Cs of DevOps – Syed Azhar ul Islam
We were being honored by so many guests in the session and I’ll just name a few Ather Imran (CEO Sybrid and President Open Islamabad), Kashif Moeen (CTO, Zigron), Dr. Amir Mahmood (Rector NU-FAST) and Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed from HEC.
In the other room, Syed Muhammad Afif Zaidi, Director Technology Pakistan S&P Global shared his journey of Building a QA setup from scratch as he has built a whole testing empire which he started as a lone tester. He gave many tips for the hiring process, building the teams, nurturing the talent, setting higher standards and constantly asking for more from the team.
Back in the main hall, next it was me talking about Testing without Specs. I started the talk by first sharing my personal experience so as how changing requirements which are outside our control make the Specification look like Specifiction (a term borrowed from Helena’s tweet). I then gave two tips to curb around it which were: talking to your team members to understand their mental maps and spending more time understanding the internals of the system you test. My last quote that “Devil is in the details, so is testing” got quite popular on the day. All the slides are here: PSQC17 – Testing Without Specs – Majd Uddin
This is the talk that I surely missed as it was parallel to mine though I so much wanted to sit there. Talking about Cost Effective Test Automation using Cloud Adeel Shoukat (SQA Analyst) and Ehsen Raza (Senior SQA Analysst) from Contour Software Lahore, first shared the typical problem that each test automation project faces. Their experience along this journey came handy for the audience who could relate to this. They also showed small clips of the amazing work that their team is doing for others to get ideas and get inspired from. Their slides are here: PSQC17 – Cost-effective Test Automation Using Cloud Solution – Adeel Shoukat and Ehsen Raza
The last talk in the main hall before lunch was Open Source tools for DevOps testing by Adnan Maqsood Test Lead, LMKT, Islamabad. Adnan after spending some time explaining how testing fits into DevOps talked about the popular tools being used including Selenium, Appium, TestNG, Jenkins & Maven through some examples. His slides are here: PSQC17 – Open Source Tools for DevOps – Adnan Maqsood
In the other room, Shaima Niaz Senior Software Quality Automation Engineer, Tkxel, Lahore was presenting Agile Test Automation. She started off with results of a survey on the subject conducted by her for the local Industry. One of the suggestion from her was to move to “Test and Dev” from “Test vs. Dev”. She then took examples from various recent concepts that help test and deliver products at fast pace including Industrial Automation, IoT testing and the concept of OTA (Over the Air). Her complete deck is here: PSQC17 – Agile Test Automation – Shaima Niaz
I’m sure that after reading so much new stuff, you need a break now. So you can imagine how the participants of PSQC17 were feeling after being filled with loads of information. Thus we decided to fill in the stomachs instead and use that time as an excuse to ask follow up questions from the Speakers. After that we resumed the session. Did I mention that Chicken Tikka Boti was very delicious.
Many media representative were attending the Confernece and they took these breaks as a good way to talk to the Speakrs and audience. PSQC17 were reported on at least 5 TV channels and you can watch one such report here.
It was some tutorial time after the break in the Ambassador Room where Amir Shahzad (Manager QA) and Hasan Farooq (Test Automation Engineer) from Stella Technologies, Islamabad presented Data driven testing using Spock Framework. Amir started the proceedings by explaining the concept of REST API testing and how data driven testing technique comes handy. He also shared his rational on why they picked Spock over other solutions. Hasan then showed some code examples of it’s implementation. There were many who liked this and were found discussing that they’ll try something similar in their own environments. The slides are here: PSQC17 – API Testing using Spock – Amir Shahzad and Hassan Farooq
In the meanwhile in the main hall, our own Dr. Uzair Khan from Quest Lab was sharing some real time implementation details of their research on Model Based Testing. He first maintained the stance that test automation is much bigger than just automating the test execution and if we can model the software behavior, we can achieve greater goals. He then shared some examples of using models to test popular video game Mario Bros and also example of using it in Embedded systems. His interesting slides are here: PSQC17 – Using Models to Automate Testing – Dr. Uzair Khan
Part of the PSQC17 agenda was to expand our collaboration with other domains and we had Nahil Mahmood come from Lahore to talk about Information Security as the last talk. Nahil who is CEO Delta Tech and is Chairman-designate of Pakistan Cyber Security Alliance, started off proceedings by sharing different reports depicting the current state of Information Security measures across the world and specially in Asia. He confirmed through multiple sources that situation in Pakistan is really bad and we need to take action on that. He then walked through al steps that can be taken for Software Security as part of SDLC what he called as sec-SDLC i.e. Secure SDLC. He summed up with “Software Quality includes Security. Let’s own it”. His slides are here: PSQC17 – Information Security in Pakistan – Nahil Mahmood
The afternoon nap was catching up everyone included me so we hurried towards a tea break. Also the participants gathered around the Registration desk one more time to collect their Certificates of Participation.
After this short break, we had a panel discussion on Future of Software Quality in Pakistan. The panelists were Shafiq Ahmed (Country Manager Stella Technologies Pakistan), Faiza Yousuf (Chief Consultatn at Outtabox who came from Karachi exclusively for this event) and Taimur Sarwar (Manager Operations at S&P Global Pakistan). They all shared their view of the future and then the hall was opened for questions. There were talks about how future students can be made more Quality conscious through modifications to the curriculu; there were discussion on why each of us need to step up and spend consistently on learning new technologies and techniques and there were many points to collaborate together to succeed together.
I was asked at the end to give a Closing Note in which I thanked through the core of my heart all Speakers, participants, our Sponsors. I then invited the whole organizing team (consisting of Dr. Zohaib Iqbal, Dr. Uzair Khan, Amir Shahzad, Hanan Atif, Farhana Adeel, Hina Zafar, Taimur Sarwar, Kashif Butt, Syed Qambar Ali, Zeeshan Asghar, Osman Ehsan, Haider Farooq) and all the volunteers who worked day in and day out to make this all happen. The team got a well deserved round of applause.
The final announcement was that PSQC17 is start of the journey, not the end and PSQC18 will be held in Lahore!
The feeling and emotions of everyone in the hall at the end were really great where they had a sense of belonging to this vibrant community, they were overwhelmed by such wonderful work being done in our own Industry and were committed to apply the ideas they learned in the day.
Long live Pakistan! Long live Testers from Pakistan!