Pakistan Software Quality Conference 2018
Doing it for the first time is very hard. But doing it again and again with same energy and passion is even harder. That’s why as we witnessed a very successful Pakistan Software Quality Conference (PSQC’18) on April 7th, we felt even more accomplished than the first edition PSQC’17.
Last year it was in Islamabad, and this year the biggest IT event in terms of Quality Professionals attendance moved to the culture capital of Pakistan: Lahore. Beautifully decorated in national color theme, the main auditorium of FAST NU Campus witnessed 200+ amazing people join us from various cities across Pakistan.
After recitation of the Holy Quran, event host Sumara Farooq welcomed the audience and invited PSTB President Dr. Muhammad Zohaib Iqbal for the Opening note. Dr. Zohaib recapped the journey of community building event and shared demographics of the audience. He emphasized the need for everyone to act upon to the Conference theme “Adapting to Change”.
We had two quick Key Note sessions in the first half. The first one being on “Software Security Transformations” by Nahil Mahmood (CEO Delta Tech) who spoke about the grave realities of current software security situation in Pakistan. He then urged to take a part in making every software secure enough in accordance with various Industry standards. Read more about those in the PDF: PSQC18_NahilMahmood_SoftwareSecurityTransformation.
The second talk was on “Quality Engineering in Industry 4.0” by Dr. Muhammad Uzair Khan (Managing Director Quest Lab) who first explained the notion of Industry 4.0. He envisioned a future where systems are being tested in more and more automated way with Exploratory manual testing going in background. He also rightly cautioned that any prediction to the future is a tricky business.
Few honorable guests then spoke at the event including Professor Italo, Honorary Consulate of Purtagal Feroz Iftikhar and HOD of FAST NU CS Department. Shields were then presented to Sponsors of the event by Dr. Zohaib and myself. Contour Software was represented by Moin Uddin Sohail and Stewart Pakistan (formerly CTO24/7) by their HR Head Afsheen Iftikhar.
A tea break was now needed to refresh participants for the more technical stuff which was coming their way. This time was well utilized by all to meet strangers who quickly became friends.
(More photos covering the event are coming soon at our facebook page)
Second session had five back to back talks:
- “Performance Testing… sailing on unknown waters” by Qaiser Munir, Performance Test Manager from Stewart in which after giving some definitions, he shared a case study on how a specific client felt happy with insights it needed from Performance Testing. Full slides here: PSQC18_QaiserMuneer_PerformanceTesting
- “Agile Test Manager – A shift in perspective” by Ahmad Bilal Khalid, Test Manager from 10Pearls who travelled from Karachi for the event. ABK, as he likes to be called, recalled his own transformation from a traditional Test Manager to Test Coach who is more of an enabler. His theme of experienced Testers becoming Dinosaurs and not helping new ones learn new stuff did hit well and resulted in quite a fruitful discussion. Read more here: PSQC18_AhmadBilalKhalid_TestManager-ChangingTimes
- “Agile Regression Testing” by Saba Tauqir, Regression Team Lead from Vroozi shared her current work experience where they have a dedicated team for Regression Testing. This also sparked a debate within the audience so as how much Regression Testing can be sustained in Agile environments. See her talk here: PSQC18_SabaTquqir_RegressionTesting
- “To be Technical or not, that is the question” by Ali Khalid, Automation Lead at Contour Software which perhaps was the star talk of the day. He took upon story of a hypothetical tester “Asim” and how he became a Technical Tester through four lessons. Easing up learning with some funny clips and GIFs, Ali gripped the audience to convey the message strongly which included creating an attitude towards designing algorithms and enjoying solving problems. Full slides here: PSQC18_AliKhalid_ToBeTechnical
- “Power of Cucumber” by Salman Saeed, Automation Lead from Digitify Pakistan who talked about his journey towards automation through the same tool. He explained different features of it, the Gherkin language, the tools needed to run it and shared a piece of code that showed a sample Google search test case. He urged all to use powerful tools like Cucumber to begin their automation journeys. He also promised to share code to whoever contacts him, so feel free to bug him. His slides are here: PSQC18_SalmanSaeed_PowerofCucumber
A delicious lunch was waiting in the Cafeteria which was basically an excuse to learn from each other while enjoying the food. I could see many people catching up with Speakers to ask their follow up questions and some healthy conversations around it.
Audience was welcome back by three more talks in the afternoon session:
- “Distributed Teams” by Farah Gul, SQA Analyst at Contour Software, another speaker from Karachi. She first explained how different location and time zones create the challenge of working together as a team. She shared some real examples on how marketing campaigns failed in a foreign country due to language barriers. At the end she suggested some ways to curb these challenges which included understanding culture, spending more time in face to face communication and asking for clarity. Slides are here: PSQC18_FarahGul_DistributedTeams
- “Backend Testing using Mocha” by Amir Shahzad, Software QA Manager at Stella Technology who started off his talks with the ever rising need of testing the backends. He explained how RESTful APIs can be tested using Mocha with some sample code. He also mentioned other libraries that can be used to do better assertions and publishing HTML reports. His talk is here: PSQC18_AmirShahzad_Mocha
- “ETL Testing” by Arsala Dilshad, Senior SQA Engineer at Solitan Technologies who shared her first-hand experience of testing ETL solutions. After providing an overview of her company’s processes, she told how data quality, system integration and other testing are needed to provide a Quality solution. Read more details here: PSQC18_ArsalaDilshad_ETL Testing
Then came the best part of the day. We experimented with a new segment called “My 2 cents in 2 minutes” which provide participants to come onto stage and share any challenge they are facing in their profession. Inspired by 99 seconds sessions at TestBash, this proved to be a marvelous way to engage the audience. Around 20 awesome thoughts were presented by Quality Professionals who talked on a variety of topics. I do plan to write some follow up posts on some of the stuff that was brought there as it would be unjust to sum it up here in few lines.
Another tea break was needed to defeat the afternoon nap and seeing some Samosas (and other eateries) being served with tea resulted in many happy faces.
We were then back for the final and perhaps the best talk of the day. “Melting pot of Emotional and Behavioral Intelligence“ by Muhammad Bilal Anjum Practice Head QA & Testing from Teradata who has more than a decade experience in Analytics. Bilal gave some examples on how the current situation of a potential customer can be predicted from the available data. For example, Telco data combined with Healthcare and other sources can be used to predict how likely a person will buy some health solution. He then explained how culture plays a key role in human behaviors and why Industry Consultants are in demand for jobs like above. At the end he threw some ideas on how such solutions can be tested.
With all talks finished, I was asked to close the day being the General Chair of PSQC’18. I took upon this opportunity to thank sponsors, partners, organizers (Qamber Rizvi, Salman Saeed, Adeel Shoukat, Ali Khalid, Mubashir Rashid, Muhammad Ahsan, Amir Shahzad, Ayesha Waseem, Salman Sherin , Ovyce Ashraph), speakers and audience and made a point to mention that how collaboration can produce results which can never be surpassed by individuals. To spark some motivation for participants to try out wonderful ideas presented in the day, I used Munnu Bhai’s famous Punjabi poem with punch line “Ho naheen jaanda, karna painda aye” (It never happens automatically, you have to do it)
Long live Pakistan Software Quality community and we’ll be back with more events through the year and yes PSQC’19 in the Spring of next year!