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05/03/2022

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.

The invited speaker, Mohammed “Mo” Dessouky, Sr. Director of Product Strategy at Tyler Technologies, covered his experiences with migrating from a monolithic system to a microservice architecture and some of the lessons learned during that process. This was a hybrid event, so some attendees showed up for lunch in person at the Reed Opera House venue in Salem, Oregon, while others were able to attend online.

“Our organization has been building and delivering software for small- and large-scale regulatory agencies for more than 30 years. This presentation shares how our solution has evolved over that time, and why it has evolved that way. The problems we were facing and the way we tried to solve them. We will discuss the impact this has had on maintainability, scalability, testability, availability, and most important of all our agility.”

Mo cited some of the benefits of using microservices:

  • Options for using heterogeneous development languages
  • Smaller platforms are easier to understand
  • Devops can leverage microservices to target deployments to single service, offering lower risks

Tackling microservices, however, has a learning curve.  "The biggest drawback of microservices is, in a word, complexity!"  Development, testing and deployment all have design and coordination complexity.


Watch the video for the full presentation.

As Mo says, “the ideas behind the discussion are applicable to almost any enterprise grade software in any business vertical."

Has your organization evolved from monoliths to microservices?  Submit a talk about your experience for PNSQC 2022.

04/25/2022

Four Trends Showcase The Challenges And Opportunities

Guest post from Bridget Hughes, mabl 

Two decades ago, the Agile Methodology was introduced to the world – forever changing how software development was approached and demanding that software testing be an integral part of the entire development process, which necessitated collaboration and supportive work communities. Fast forward to 2022: how far have we come since agile first appeared? Given the unique times we live in, what are the challenges and opportunities for software development teams in a world where customers expect flawless digital experiences? 

The mabl 2021 Testing in DevOps Report, which includes responses from over 600 QA and DevOps professionals, showed that despite the adoption of more modern processes and technologies such as CI/CD, test automation, AI, and cloud, there are still challenges for today’s QA and DevOps teams. But there have also been considerable gains. 

Below are four key trends we found in the report.

Becoming Fully DevOps is Still a Work in Progress:

Today the term “fully DevOps” refers to a combination of cultural practices and automation tools designed to increase an organization's ability to deliver applications and services at high velocity (and quality). Traditionally, development and operations teams have always been treated as separate entities, but the DevOps movement aims to solve this problem by making it easier for teams to collaborate on code as it moves through a partially or largely automated pipeline. 

We found that 28% of participants indicated they are making strides towards DevOps adoption, with one-in-four participants aspiring to adopt DevOps, but still relying on siloed workflows and manual deployments to put updates into production. Only 11% of respondents reported that they were running full DevOps with complete, or nearly complete, automation implemented in their development pipeline.

Unsurprisingly, roadblocks remain in the way of full DevOps adoption, but a whopping 82% of survey respondents named non-technological issues as the main inhibitor to DevOps. Instead, most organizations are grappling with slow processes, budget woes, and a reluctance to change.

Shift in CI/CD Adoption Signals Changing DevOps Priorities

The pandemic further accelerated the transition to CI/CD and the report found that 60% have adopted continuous integration with another 33% transitioning, an increase of 10% compared to what the data revealed in the 2020 Testing in DevOps report. Respondents said they’re in transition to Continuous Delivery (38%), while nearly the same percentage have already adopted it. 

Most notably, CI implementation was strongly correlated with DevOps adoption, as the overwhelming majority of fully or nearly DevOps organizations (68%) indicated that they have implemented continuous integration. The rise in teams transitioning to CI aligns with a focus on software quality and automation since CI is central to delivering quality in DevOps. 

Collaboration on Both Manual and Automated Testing is Critical to Quality

The most effective testing strategies include both manual and automated testing. This pattern held true, even for fully DevOps teams. Even when there is high confidence in automation, the data revealed that bugs are still caught through manual testing even in mature DevOps teams. 

While QA teams may employ a variety of testing methods, collaboration surfaced as a critical success factor for teams shipping high-quality applications. We found that as teams introduced more automation into their pipelines, bugs were caught much earlier in development. In fact, when teams identify bugs earlier, they were able to address them faster too – 62% of DevOps teams reported that they are able to fix bugs within eight hours. 

Quality Differentiates DevOps Teams – 50% Striving for a Culture of Quality

The advantage of DevOps: better software quality – which ultimately translates to happier customers. Today’s QA and DevOps pros strive for a culture of quality as part of their quality engineering (QE) practice, which provides a framework for collaborative and continuous testing environments. As such, over 50% of fully DevOps teams said that they have a culture of quality, testing early and often throughout development. A large majority of teams that are full DevOps have shared that their customers would rate their application as either “amazing” or “pretty good.

Looking ahead, what are the key challenges and opportunities for software testing  in 2022?  Curious to see how these trends have changed in the past year as well as make your opinion known? Participate in the 2022 Testing in DevOps Survey, and get access to the final results.

 

04/21/2022

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.

The Workshop was attended by IT professionals/managers, designers and developers of websites/web apps, and communications professionals. After a brief keynote by Ying Ki Kwong, four speakers spoke on different aspects of accessibility: management considerations, inclusive design, tools & technology, and enterprise integration.  The presentations covered:

  • Management Considerations from Jack McDowell, Statewide QA Program
  • Inclusive Design with Michael Larsen
  • Tools and Technology by Kevin Rydberg of Siteimprove
  • Building Accessible Services with Matt Snow, Director of Creative Services, NIC Oregon

The case was made that accessibility is about serving the human needs of user communities and should be an integral aspect of software quality.

The event concluded with thanks from the PNSQC Program Chair Bhushan Gupta, reminding all that there are many opportunities for PNSCQ volunteerism and sponsorship - including Call for Proposals of papers, presentations, and workshops for PNSQC's annual conference in October.

Catch the Replay

You may watch the full event here or on PNSQC’s video channel.

The accompanying slides for all the presentations are available to download.

Post-Workshop Q&A

Q: Where can I download the Accessibility Guidance of the state of Oregon's E-Government Program?
Ying Ki Kwong: You can get the guide here from the state website.

Q: When should accessibility overlays be used?
Kevin Rydberg / Ying Ki Kwong: Accessibility overlay is at best a temporary response to accessibility issues of a webpage or a web application. While some may like this approach, analytics shows that overlay tools are rarely used. A user who may rely on assistive technology (AT) already has AT set up on the user's computer/device, and usually will not use customized settings for a single website. Accessibility issues should be addressed more directly by authors of web pages or developers of web applications.

Q: How does a company like SiteImprove work with WCAG / W3C to influence standards development?
Kevin Rydberg: Siteimprove is among W3C members and active in a variety of working groups, including:

  • Education and Outreach working group. A Siteimprove consultant wrote or edited training and website instructional and informative content related to accessibility
  • The WCAG 3.0 Silver Project - a Siteimprove consultant is active in policy and success criterion development
  • Accessibility Conformance Testing Rules (ACT-R) Working Group – a Siteimprove lead accessibility developer is currently chair of this group. Any new rules approved within the ACT-R would be written, edited, or approved with Siteimprove influence.
04/04/2022

This 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 LovalloRachael Lovallo - Award for 3rd Place PNSQC

My career as a tester began with quitting. 

In a hard, messy decision for a 20-something overachiever, I stepped away from a mathematics graduate program. I had never quit before. Coming of age at the end of the great recession, I felt terrified about trying to land a fulfilling job that paid the bills with a 4-year math degree.

Getting Started in Testing

A local financial services software company took a chance on me as an entry level software tester on their product development team. My supervisor taught me a fundamental rule of testing: "You cannot find all of the bugs. It is impossible. Think critically and strategically to find the ones that matter." 

Fast forward a few years and I switched companies, but remained a tester. I have a photo of myself taken shortly after joining what I’ll refer to as “the big company.” In it, you can see I'm excited about the perks, right down to the free professional headshot. My new employer was the biggest tech company in the area, and had over 100,000 employees worldwide. 

Before I took the new job, something happened that became important later. Because a coworker recommended me, I had coffee with the head of engineering at a healthcare startup looking for an initial hire to craft a culture of quality at the company. We had a memorable conversation, but with only 3 years as a tester under my belt, I was not the right candidate.

Leveling Up

At the big company, I had an annual review process and defined technical and leadership career paths for the first time. My manager introduced me to SMART goals (which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, & timely) and empowered me to set them and keep a written record as I reached them.

A mentor once told me, "You need to think bigger." This adage runs through my mind while making most decisions. These five short words can really shake up a life. Over the next couple years, “thinking bigger” led to aligning my job with making a positive difference. The idea felt so giant and nebulous, I had no idea how to start realizing it.

Not long after the big goal crystallized in my brain, a mountain-biking friend knew of an opening at a local start up. It turned out to be the same healthcare tech company I’d learned about 2 years before. And that same head of engineering I’d met for coffee remembered me. Long interview process short, I became hire #53, senior test engineer.

Reflecting on the Journey

I've been at the startup for 4 years now, and honestly it’s changed everything. While I cannot quite say that every moment of every day is fulfilling joy, my values and career feel aligned. We wear many hats in startup life, so I have been able to broadly grow my skills. 

To sum up, my career in quality evolved due to that first company giving me a start, that mentor who advised me to “think bigger,” and that coworker who recommended me to someone in her network. Through it all I remained open to change — from evolving on long-held plans, to chasing big goals.

How did you find your way to a career in quality? We’d love to hear from you! Please drop us a line at marketing@pnsqc.org.

03/29/2022

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.

In this post, we break down the meaning and significance of an abstract, where you will encounter it when submitting a proposal for PNSQC, and tips to write one that will earn you an invitation to present your topic at the conference.

Two people high fivingFirst, What is an Abstract?

Merriam-Webster defines “Abstract” as “a summary of points usually presented in skeletal form, or something that summarizes or concentrates the essentials of a larger thing.”

For PNSQC, an abstract represents your single and best chance to sell your idea to the conference submission reviewers.

The topic of your abstract can be anything to do with Quality. Past abstracts have touched on everything from emerging AI technology to DevOps, leadership, methodology, system design, and UI testing. For 2022, the conference theme is The Evolution of Quality, and, while writing the abstract, you should consider how the focus of your topic has evolved over time. 

Tips for Writing a Memorable and Convincing Abstract

Write a Draft

The PNSQC 2022 submission deadline is two weeks away, on May 9, 2022 April 22, 2022, so there is no need to rush. Write it down, then go back to review it a day or two later. Make edits, think of examples to mention, and see if there’s anything you’re missing. Give yourself time and space to perfect your pitch. You might even ask a mentor for review before you officially submit. When it is polished, just copy and paste! 

Learning Objectives First

Did a teacher ever ask you to write an outline for a paper in high school or college? The same concept can apply to your abstract. Writing your three learning objectives first helps you zero in on what you want to share with the Quality community, and can act as an outline for your abstract. 

Give it Structure

Consider structuring your abstract like a mini-essay. Start with a sentence to introduce the topic, move on to a few sentences to flesh out the concept (perhaps leaning heavily on your main 3 learning objectives), then sum it all up in a concluding sentence. 

Submitting the Abstract for a PNSQC Proposal

The process for submitting an abstract proposal is straight-forward:

  • You can click “Submit a Proposal” here, or on PNSQC’s homepage
  • Next, you’ll enter your personal information, choose your submission topic and type, and then state whether you will attend the conference in person or virtually. 
  • On the very next screen, warm up your typing fingers because you’ll be faced with filling in your Title, Abstract, and Learning Objectives. 
  • Copy and Paste your abstract draft, adding an engaging title and the objectives that helped guide your draft.
  • You’re all set!

You now have the information and tools to write a winning abstract. The PNSQC team is excited to see your submissions roll in over the coming weeks.

Have a question about Quality, or an idea for the blog? We’d love to hear from you! Please drop us a line at marketing@pnsqc.org.

03/13/2022

"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.

First Day Foreshadowing?

My first day was an indicator of what was to come. We were given a tour of the building, which had 3 floors: The first floor was Customer Service. It was probably 80% women and 20% men. The second floor was Technical Support for the simpler completely software-based products. It was a dramatic shift – probably close to the exact opposite of the first floor: 20% female, 80% male more or less. The Third floor was Support for the technically heavy products – Network administration, remote control, and large customer account support. These products required network skills, the ability to troubleshoot hardware, both Windows and DOS knowledge, and a boatload of patience. There were roughly 80 men on the floor – and two women. When I finished my training and was placed in the remote control product’s support group, the number increased to three.

My placement on a support team marked the beginning of my education in how difficult the software world is for women. I learned right away that I needed to work twice as hard to be considered half as good as my male counterparts. It was not uncommon for male callers to ask to speak to "Someone with more experience" immediately after I got their name and personal information and they realized I would be the one helping them. If I could, I transferred them to the other woman who worked in the group. If she wasn’t available, I would grab a guy out of the training pool, plug my headset into his, put myself on mute, and tell the guy exactly what to say. I didn’t want to waste the time of someone who was answering calls, so I just grabbed a newbie.
Another common occurrence was that, once I got a person’s name and information, they would ask, "So, are you going to transfer me to tech support now?" My only option was to use my best ‘smiley’ voice to say, "Actually, you’re already talking to tech support." This rarely happened to my male counterparts.

The Glass Ceiling Career Path

Those kinds of calls were always kind of annoying, but hitting my head on the glass ceiling hurt much more. The initial bump was my first attempt at a manager position. The competition was someone younger than me with less experience. I figured I had a really good shot at the job. When I lost out to the younger man, I politely asked what I needed to do to get a manager position next time around. I was told that I just needed more time. I tried to dig deeper to find out what kind of "time" I needed – more management experience or training perhaps? Unfortunately, I got an answer I’ve become used to: Ummm…. Well…. You know…. In other words, I needed more time for the job to open up when there wasn’t a man available to fill it. There were no female managers in the support organization at the time – I should have figured it out, but I just thought it was because there were so few women on the tech floors. But there it was – that glass ceiling I’d always heard about and never really believed existed. It was real and it was solid.

After that first introduction, my adversary, "The glass ceiling" has followed me for my entire career. I have always been in the minority and I’ve been the "only" a lot. I’ve often been passed over in favor of men. Each time it happens, I ask, "Why not me?" Sometimes, I get real and useful answers on things I can improve. Unfortunately, I also sometimes get the "Ummm…. Well…. You know…." - That uncomfortable silence that tells me that my gender had more to do with the hiring decision than any of my skills or talents.

Pivoting and Pivoting

Many of the folks I’ve worked with over the years – men who were my equal or junior to me, have gone on to become managers, directors, principals, and CEOs. I was recently promoted to a "Staff Engineer," which is my company’s technical equivalent of a manager. It took five years of trying and it only happened after I pointed out that, although we had female managers, we had no female technical leads – no architects or Staff Engineers. Upon my promotion, I became the only female staff engineer. (As an aside, there is at least one other female Staff Engineer now – a developer.) My original goal had been to become a manager, but I finally gave up the idea – I’m not sure I’m such a good fit for that job anymore. However, I’m very happy in my current position and that’s really all that matters to me these days. I must admit that I do sometimes wonder what trajectory my career would have taken if I’d been born with that ever-popular Y chromosome. Would I have been considered "A real go-getter" instead of "An opinionated woman"?

I could fill a book with uncomfortable stories about 27 years of being female in the technology world – working with Brogrammers, managers that enjoyed intimidating someone who couldn’t fight back, reports who chose to talk to another manager instead of me because I was "poisoned with estrogen" – but I don’t think it’s necessary. The important thing is that we know the truth. Technology is not always an easy place for us and not all companies are equal in their treatment of women. Things are better than they used to be, but not anywhere as good as they could be. We are still under-represented in technology. There are still not enough young women and girls in STEM classes. We are still a minority in most development teams.

A Promise

Now, as a member of the PNSQC Program Committee, I have an opportunity to champion the cause. Our cause. Women deserve all the same opportunities that men take for granted. We are roughly 50% of the planet’s population and we should have that much representation. But the only way we can get those opportunities is by stepping up and trying. Take a few minutes and write a paper proposal. Submit your idea – get yourself out there. Become part of the PNSQC community. Get your voice heard. How great would it be if HALF the speakers at the 2022 conference were female?

I promise that, no matter what happens, you won’t hear, "Ummm…. Well…. You know…."

03/10/2022

“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. 

While new technologies, new tools, and new ways of working are continually introduced, many feel like the same old issues continue to cause problems and friction in software development projects. In some ways this is true, but other issues have persisted and evolved over time.

The first PNSQC keynote in 1983 began with these words: “Most often when the relationship between the design process and software quality is cited, it is product design that comes to mind. However, software quality actually takes root — or fails to take root — during the project design process.”

Sound familiar, doesn’t it? Yet how many times have we had to restate this one way or another to management, teams, or even to ourselves as we undertake new projects?

How the Past Influences the Future

As we prepare for the 40th-anniversary conference, we’re taking time to reflect on the journey and evolution of software quality in the 20th and 21st centuries. 

The Hitachi corporation says the evolution of quality has followed this path:

  • From the 1920s through the 40s there was Quality Compliance. This involved companies realizing the need for quality control and learning about acceptance checking their products.
  • The 50s, 60s, and 70s experienced the birth of Enterprise Quality. Groups introduced Zero defects frameworks and they began to use quality metrics & statistics for managing quality control.
  • The era of Quality Data & Analytics lasted until the turn of the century. This included pervasive adoption of quality data collection in a way that led to tailored actionable insights.

Now, in the 21st century, we have Digital Quality, with new ways of refining quality, especially by mining consumer preferences and usage.

So, what are the new ways of refining quality? Some examples might be:

  • Experimental design
  • Predictive quality
  • Smarter inspection systems
  • End-to-end traceability
  • Remote monitoring

But, really, that’s what PNSQC is about. Nobody knows all the new ways we are exploring software quality and feedback systems.

That’s why we ask you to get involved in the conference, either as an attendee or as a speaker

Where We Go from Here

All of us are currently doing work to determine the future of quality. Our projects, teams, and culture all become examples of what to do (and not do) to produce a quality product.

Using the influential Malcom Baldrige National Quality Award criteria as a guide, here are some ways that companies and teams are evolving quality in new directions:

  • Leadership. How upper management leads the organization, and how the organization leads within the community.
  • Strategy. How the organization establishes and plans to implement strategic directions.
  • Customers. How the organization builds and maintains strong, lasting relationships with customers.
  • Measurement, analysis, and knowledge management. How the organization uses data to support key processes and manage performance.
  • Workforce. How the organization empowers and involves its workforce.
  • Operations. How the organization designs, manages and improves key processes.
  • Results. How the organization performs in terms of customer satisfaction, finances, human resources, supplier and partner performance, operations, governance, and social responsibility, and how the organization compares to its competitors.

At PNSQC, we know that the DNA of every company is different. While we might have similar problems, only you can describe your discoveries and experience in evolving quality. 

Take a moment and inventory your ideas and submit a technical paper proposal to PNSQC 2022 today.

03/10/2022

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.

Topics ranged from creativity, soft skills and emotional intelligence to test debt, IT management and cybersecurity. Before the talks started, PNSQC President Phil Lew led the group in a spirited networking session and discussion of geographic trivia, beer preferences and health topics.

 

PNSQC 2021 Award Winners

 

This event was also a chance to recognize the PNSQC 2021 presentation Award Winners.  Michael Larsen, with “The Dos and Don’ts of Accessibility,”  Jim Trentadue with “Key Observations and Trends in the Test Automation Market,” and “Adam Satterfield with “How to Design an Implement a Best in Class Test Automation Strategy” all received beautiful PNSQC awards to display on their desks or trophy shelf.

PNSQC is now accepting proposals for the PNSQC 2022 Conference, “The Evolution of Quality.”  Please click this link to see more about submitting an idea for the conference.

You can watch all the presentations on the PNSQC Youtube channel. They have also been collected in this playlist.

Becoming a More Creative Engineer – Moss Drake

Soft Skills a Tester Should Have – Mesut Durukal

Living with a Quality Mind in an Ordinary World – Heather Wilcox

The Thief in the Night: Testing Debt – Alvin Sumter

AppSec: What to Look Out for in 2022 – John Whiteman

Enterprise IT Quality at PNSQC – Ying Ki Kwong

Everyone is Talking about AI, but What About EI? – Philip Lew

This was a hybrid meetup, with some people meeting over Zoom while others congregated in person at a local pub in Portland, Oregon. One downside was that PNSQC could not provide food and drink to the people who attended remotely! Let us know if you enjoyed this format and if you would like to see more events like this.

Also, consider submitting a proposal for the PNSQC 2022 conference.

03/10/2022

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.

Check out PNSQC’s YouTube channel to watch all the Keynote presentations for the 2021:

Get inspired, learn from a speaker’s tips or insights, and share a video with your team or colleagues.

03/10/2022

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.

You may want to check out PNSQC’s YouTube channel to watch all the Keynote presentations:

Bug IconWe’ve now had a few weeks post-conference to reflect on and now even implement some of what we learned at PNSQC. We asked attendees to anonymously share some of their favorite 2021 takeaways:

  • “The Thinking and Planning Release with Business Value workshop with Derk-Jan de Grood showed how to use User Journey Maps to integrate the value proposition, testing and technical debt into the project. It was something that I had used in the past, but Derk was much more complete about it and it came to some surprising (and valuable) results.” 
  • Rebecca Wirfs-Brock and Joseph Yoder‘s tutorial on Agile Patterns (‘QA2AQ’) was a journey into the ‘meta’ that helped to put principles to agile activities. They describe it as ‘patterns (to) establish overarching goals for embedding quality-related activities and instilling a quality focus into Agile teams.’ By recognizing patterns of activities you can identify similar practices that might be more useful, or practices that might be missing from your environment.”
  • “I really enjoyed  being amongst ‘my kind of people.’ I honestly forgot how it is to talk to people who know your struggles, who understand your problems and share your pain. Most of [my day is] spent with developers, management, customer service teams, devops, and dbas, and, although we have similar goals to make our customers happy, each of these groups have different ways to achieve that. So, I simply was happy with this once-in-a-lifetime chance to relax and stop convincing everyone to take care about quality.”  
  • Julie Wong’s closing Keynote Mental Fitness is the X-Factor: How to Grow the 3 Core Muscles to Thrive in Challenging Times, which talked about how to achieve ‘lasting, positive change’ really spoke to me. The parts that stood out: Looking at the positive parts of situations and not getting bogged down in the negative, refocusing to find the purpose in the work, and taking breaks to check in with myself to be sure I’m not drifting into a ‘saboteur’ mindset.” 
  • Jenny Bramble’s workshop on Mind Maps opened my eyes to all the ways I could be utilizing them in my brainstorms for projects. She had us split off and work in small groups to show how easy it is to collaborate on mind maps, too. Since the workshop, I’ve done two digitally for work, and one on paper for a personal project.”

ChecklistIf you’d like to share your favorite talk or tell others about something you learned, please contact us and we’ll add it to a future newsletter or blog post.

03/10/2022

By Adam Satterfield, Katalon EvangelistAutomation

A Make-or-Break Decision?

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.

The perfect tool for one team doesn’t necessarily mean it’s perfect for your team as well. What could go wrong with the wrong selection? Here are a few considerations.

Endless Hours to Learn

Open-source software is great. While it is free and has been around ever since test automation has gotten its name, the hidden costs of a steep learning curve are one of the many drawbacks people fail to spot. With a common prerequisite of programming, manual testers often have to spend additional time to pick up the language before getting their hands on the testing part.

Suffering Budget

So you read somewhere that some big corporations use tool ‘X.’ Immediately picking that tool may not be a wise move if the subscription plan exceeds what you can afford, or what your client is willing to pay. Remember that if their company is that big, chances are they are handling very large and complicated Applications Under Test (AUTs), accompanied by a team experienced enough to use and know those tools like the back of their hands. 

Complicated Workarounds

If you’ve decided to save costs and build your own test automation framework, beware of repetitive configurations and complicated setups. Unlike pre-built tools with everything tucked under a UI and nifty features, starting from scratch equates to having experienced developers or automation experts to code everything.

Popular Options and How to Choose One

Selenium

Selenium and its suite of tools are probably the most answered choice for web automated testing on forums like Quora or Reddit. Supported by a large community of users and tutorials all over, Selenium is still seen as “automation the hard way.” Nevertheless, Selenium is perfect for teams with a firm background in programming to craft a stable framework, while still able to teach newcomers to use them effectively.

Katalon Studio

Unlike Selenium, Katalon Studio offers both a free and paid version for web, API, mobile and desktop automated testing. Providing a made-ready framework for users to get started right away, Studio is seen as a simple tool for beginners, while also boosting productivity for experts. Some of its notable features include low-code test creation with Record-and-Playback, the page-object model design for simplified maintenance, smart test reporting, integration with CI/CD systems and many more. Sidebar: Download Katalon Studio for Free

SoapUI

SoapUI is a widely-known open-source solution for SOAP technologies and API test automation. It allows users to perform load, functional, regression and compliance testing. Additionally, security testing with SoapUI is also very common as it is also capable of finding security vulnerabilities like XML bombs or fuzzing.

This is just an introduction to some of the considerations a company has to answer before choosing an automation test tool.  Deciding on the proper tool is not to be taken lightly, and should be examined from many angles. Often, the answer is very specific to the company. 

To see the full article to Select The Right Test Automation Tool.

02/26/2022

 [caption id="attachment_328724" align="alignright" width="147"]Dawn Hayes Presenting at PNSQC Dawn Haynes at PNSQC 2019[/caption]

The Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference puts quality at the forefront. 

Our conference programming emphasizes evolving technical, management, and process practices, plus the methods needed to develop high-quality software. We provide a forum for software engineers to network amongst their peers to share knowledge and exchange ideas.

How PNSQC is Different

PNSQC is a hybrid conference, combining some principles from academia in requiring a 1,000- to 3,000-word paper that is peer-reviewed, yet not requiring a full paper like a traditional Call for Papers. Instead, we open a Call for Proposals, which is a short abstract that discusses the merits of your potential paper and presentation, should it be accepted. 

[caption id="attachment_328722" align="alignright" width="375"]PNSQC Submission & Review Process PNSQC Submission & Review Process[/caption]

Upon acceptance, you are assigned two reviewers, who have a background in your subject. Reviewers assist and support you in turning your abstract and ideas into a paper you, and the conference can be proud of.

Writing an Abstract That Will Be Accepted

Unlike academic papers written by researchers, our conference content focuses on authors within industry sharing their experience and expertise as they implement technologies in their workplace. 

We believe that people learn best by studying how other people in similar situations have solved similar problems, so we encourage authors to include the following items in their abstracts:    

  • Your organization, the industry you compete in, and what it takes to be successful
  • Your role and where you fit in the organization
  • The business problem that you and your team needed to solve
  • Where you started and why
  • What you did, including tools, techniques, methods, and processes
  • Outcomes that resulted — both positive and negative — as we can all learn from failures as well as success
  • Challenges that still remain and what you plan on next.

On our Call for Proposals page, we share many areas to spark ideas for you to focus on. Ranging from AI to DevOps, Agile and Quality Engineering, the six conference tracks can help you get from concept to proposal completion. 

Alternatively, if you already have an idea, please click right through to the submission page.

The CFP closes on May 9. Now’s the time to share your knowledge with the software engineering community and submit your Abstract today.

01/01/2022

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.

We are inviting you to submit your idea for a lightning talk (15 minutes).  The topic can be anything that piques the interest of the community and shares your innovative ideas on software quality as they relate to people, process, and tools.

 

Just as in a musical jam session, the Quality Jam is a friendly setting for both beginners and old hands.  Even if you’ve never presented like this, PNSQC wants to give you the space and the support you need to enjoy this event with friends and colleagues. There’s no judgment and everybody’s welcome.

As mentioned, this event kicks off the Call for Proposals for the 2022 conference. We plan to offer a hybrid event: both physical in Portland, Oregon, and virtual on Zoom, with breaks for networking, announcements, and the PNSQC 2021 Conference Award presentations. You will be joined by other software quality enthusiasts who would also share their experiences.

Maybe this is your resolution for the new year — submit a talk and see where it takes you.

The event will take place on the afternoon of January 25th and will run for 2 hours, concluding with networking and a happy hour.