Back to Blogs


Woman considering her PNSQC abstractEvery paper presented at the Pacific NW Software Quality Conference over the years has started with an abstract.  You might be wondering “What is an abstract and how do I get an idea for one?”  PNSQC President Philip Lew takes you through the process in this blog post.


At the PNSQC 2023 March Meetup, Bhushan Gupta provided an orientation on attack surfaces, vectors, and methods of penetration for web applications.  Then, he looked further into a method for quantifying the risks and assigning security priorities before the code is written.  

Michael Larsen wrote an account of the presentation as part of his "live blogging" experience.

Volunteer for PNSQCWe are actively looking for people willing and able to help us over the coming months to help us make 2023 our best year yet.

Delivering our conference and Meetup events depends on volunteers.


The 2023 Quality Jam took place on February 8, 2022, at Golden Valley Brewing in Beaverton, OR.
We had a good attendance of both in-person participants and virtual/online participants.


As part of our tradition for the last few years to kick off the conference year, we'll be holding our annual Quality Jam on Feb 8, 2023. The Quality Jam features a half-dozen lightning talks of 10-12 minutes as a warm-up to the October conference where we also kick off the Call for Papers. The event, to be held live at the Golden Valley Brewery in Beaverton, Oregon  will also be hybrid-virtual.



Amol Patil receives a top-speaker award from Bhushan Gupta and Tariq King at PNSQC 2022
Our 40th birthday party is over but not without some outstanding accomplishments. 


PNSQC 2022 Invited speaker and seasoned Quality Assurance Engineer Michael Larsen sat down to answer some questions to share with the PNSQC community. You're not going to want to miss his talk in October! If you don't have your conference tickets yet, there's still plenty of time to sign up here.

Interviewer: How do Accessibility and Inclusive Design relate to Quality?

Michael LarsenIf a product is difficult or impossible to use, we can't rightly call it a quality product. When we ignore users with disabilities or put them on the back burner, so to speak, we are telling a population of users that they will be receiving a sub-par service or product, one in which they will not be able to use effectively. To me, that goes against Quality in any meaningful sense that I am aware of.


Invited speaker and Security expert Yesenia Yser recently took time out of her busy day to interview with PNSQC, and we know you'll enjoy all she shared! Remember that you can still sign up for October's conference and hear her talk entitled "Supply Chain Security: Threats, Defenses and How We Can Help."

Interviewer: You have a master's degree in digital forensics. Can you describe the field in a nutshell, and what drew you to pursuing this degree?

Yesenia Yser: Digital forensics is the digital practice of forensics, instead of a physical body or biometric, it is focused on digital data such as network, mobile devices. According to NIST, “Digital forensics is the field of forensic science that is concerned with retrieving, storing and analyzing electronic data that can be useful in criminal investigations.”

In high school, I was obsessed with the TV show, NCIS and their gothic forensics scientist, Abbey. She did a mixture of digital and criminal forensics. I was also so fascinated with this area of security work.  When I was looking into my degree, I wanted to focus on cyber security, but there was no degree path with this focus outside of the Master’s degree at UCF. I focused my education on accomplishing this degree. 



PNSQC 2022 Keynote speaker, Performance Engineering enthusiast, developer and computer games enthusiast Kaushal Dalvi took the time to answer some questions to share with the PNSQC community. If you hadn't already made a note to attend his talk in October, you will after reading the following interview! If you don't have your conference tickets yet, there's still plenty of time to sign up here.


Interviewer: You mention that quality and performance are first to go when development teams try to move quickly. How do you rank quality versus performance, or are they equally important?

Kaushal Dalvi: The simplest definition of quality that I have found myself using more and more is Josephs Juran's "fitness for use" definition. In that view, quality is an all-encompassing umbrella term that covers all of the '-ilities'. However, in most day to day conversations when one speaks of quality, the intention is to speak of functional correctness, as opposed to conformance to non-functional requirements.
From that perspective, I would still point back to Juran's definition of 'fitness for use'. If an application does not function correctly, it is not fit for use even if it is extremely performant. And an application that functions correctly but takes too long to return the response in a usable time-frame is again, not fit for use. So, long story short, there are thresholds of functional correctness and performance and the other '-ilities'. If a system, app or functionality falls outside this fitness for use threshold, then the other '-ilities' may not matter in that case.


Keynote speaker and seasoned Quality expert Julia Pottinger graciously took some time to interview with PNSQC, and we are thrilled to share her words with the community. The following Q&A make us all the more excited to hear her talk in October, and believe it will do the same for you. Enjoy, and see you at the conference! There's still plenty of time to sign up here.

Interviewer: You talk about balancing learning on the job with learning on our own time. Is it expected that you should learn during company time?


Julia Pottinger: Companies should invest in the upskilling of their employees. There is a balance between how much you invest into your own learning and growth outside of work hours, while still having dedicated time from your job to learn. Learning on company time takes different forms, attending conferences, paying for courses/training budget, certifications, brown-bag sessions, workshops, peer coaching/programming etc. I expect guided learning by a company where employees learn during company time.


Panel on the Trends and Future of QA

Panel on the Trends and Future of QA, August 2022
PNSQC held an Ask Me Anything (AMA) panel on the Trends and Future of QA last week. A huge thanks to our panelists
  • Tariq King
  • Srilu Balla
  • Greg Paskal
  • Mark Bentsen
  • Philip Lew (moderator)
There was plenty of laughter and collaboration amongst the panelists, each sharing the perspective on where our profession is going (or not going). Some of the highlights of the discussion include:

Does this sound familiar? You’ve spent the last few years building up your company, learning new ways to work remotely, restructuring your department, strengthening your team, and moving ahead of the competition. 

But, now, pundits are saying a downturn is coming. Will all that you’ve gained in recent years be lost?


Alan Ark waves at youThree Steps … How To Attend the PNSQC Conference

You’ve heard the buzz about PNSQC 2022: Top-flight speakers, powerful technical program, and three days (Oct. 10-12). You want to attend! But will your boss give you the green light? More importantly, will the boss let you put the bill on the company tab?

We are here to help you get to Yes! Here are tried and true steps for convincing your boss to cover your attendance.



The year is 1984. Preparation for one of the first PNSQC conferences is underway. Typed meeting minutes from the January board meeting report that "it was decided that late September would be a good time.

If you’re here reading PNSQC blog content, and have not yet submitted a proposal for a conference paper, there’s an excellent chance that our poster option may be a great fit for you!



Monoliths vs MicroservicesThe recording for PNSQC's April 2022 meetup, “The Evolution of Enterprise Software System in the State Regulatory Space - From Monolith to Microservices,” is available on the PNSQC Youtube channel. Subscribe to the channel to get regular updates from all the recorded events.



Four Trends Showcase The Challenges And Opportunities. 
A guest post from Bridget Hughes, of mabl software.


PNSQC and the Statewide QA Program of the State of Oregon co-hosted an Accessibility Workshop & Meetup on March 30, 2022. As a hybrid event, there were some 60 people that participated – both via Zoom and in person at our NE Portland venue.



Rachael Lovallo - Award for 3rd Place PNSQCThis is the first in what we hope becomes a series of blog posts from people in the PNSQC community about how we navigate careers in Quality. 

By Rachael Lovallo

My career as a tester began with quitting. 



Tips on writing a successful abstract from Senior Test Engineer and PNSQC Presenter Rachael Lovallo.

Are you considering submitting a proposal to present at PNSQC’s 40th anniversary conference in 2022? The abstract is your chance to state your case and win over the review committee.



"You’re pretty smart for a girl."

[caption id="attachment_327714" align="alignright" width="322"]Heather Wilcox on Security Trends PNSQC volunteer Heather Wilcox describes the challenges and opportunities for women in technical roles. The path is not always easy, but here are some ideas for balancing the scales.[/caption]

I know now that this sentence is a micro-aggression. However, In January of 1995, when I started my first job in the software industry, it was something I heard all the time and, although I hated it, I got used to it. After deciding to abandon an advanced degree in Anthropology, I looked at my talents and decided that maybe my skills in small network administration and my lifelong love of technology might serve me well in the software industry. It took a few job interviews, but I finally snagged myself an entry-level position in technical support for a large software company.



“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” -Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr 

This quote roughly translates into English as “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” This is a common refrain among tech workers, especially software quality professionals. 



PNSQC successfully started the 2022 conference year with a Quality Jam. This evening of lightning talks was designed to kick off the call for paper proposals for the 2022 conference.



2021 marked the second year of a fully-digital conference, and going digital means we recorded every talk. With more than 50 talks, panels, and discussions packed into two days, there’s so much you may have missed or want to revisit.



This year’s conference covered so much: From common testing challenges to how to implement lasting change within your team. 

With more than 50 talks, panels, and discussions packed into two days, there’s so much you may have missed or want to revisit. This marked the second year of a fully-digital conference, and going digital means we recorded every talk.



It’s funny how many still think that a single best automation testing tool exists. That’s like saying mint chocolate is an all-time favorite ice-cream flavor when many may think it tastes like toothpaste.
By Adam Satterfield, Katalon Evangelist



Dawn Haynes at PNSQC 2019[The Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference puts quality at the forefront. The conference programming emphasizes evolving technical, management, and process practices, plus the methods needed to develop high-quality software. 




PNSQC is celebrating its 40th anniversary and it’s time to kick-off the 2022 Call for Papers with a Quality Jam.  This will be an afternoon of lightning talks to inspire and be inspired for new proposals on software quality — a jam session to get together as a group and see where the “music” takes us.