I guarantee this will change your perspective of QA Conferences

Are you someone who loves attending QA conferences to gain knowledge and aspires to be a better QA by learning from expert talks? Then after reading my post, I bet you’ll think twice before attending any QA conference.

Talks given in Testμ 2023
Talks given in Selenium_conf 2023
Talks planned for TESTCON Europe 2024

Do you see any pattern in these talks?

Well, all of these talks are focused on automation. If I curate a list of all the talks given during last few years, I bet there would be 90% of them related to Automation only. Very few of them talk about Quality Assurance process. And, that’s the problem I see with QA conferences.

QA and QE

Do you agree that Quality Assurance (QA) has more to cater to the industry than only caring about automation?

I personally believe that QA community should give more emphasise on the Quality Assurance(QA) than Quality Engineering (QE).

Quality Assurance — A broader process where specialists are involved from the very early stage of the software development process to ensure that the product delivered is of the highest quality. Additionally, the Quality Assurance process aims to improve overall development efficiency.

Quality Engineering — Quality engineering is a subset of the Quality Assurance process that focuses only on testing and validation of a product to ensure that it meets the expectations of different stakeholders. It involves designing tools for testing, frameworks, and guidelines for effective and efficient testing.

The Problem

As mentioned earlier, QA conferences often heavily promote automation and various tools related to automation. While automation brings various benefits to the testing process, overemphasising it has many downsides, such as:

  • Neglecting other crucial aspects of QA, including process improvement, early defect prevention, and user experience enhancement.
  • Over-promoting automation slowly removing critical thinking and exploratory testing form testing process.
  • QA, as specialised individuals, play a vital role in defect prevention by establishing processes and standards. Overemphasis on Quality Engineering (QE) and automation may educate QAs to be involved late in the SDLC, posing a risk of introducing defects early in the process.
  • QAs solely focused on automation might encounter challenges in effective communication with other stakeholders like developers, product managers, and business analysts. Additionally, those only practicing only automation may not be fully aware of business needs and end user expectations, which is crucial aspect for any tester.
  • QA professionals confined to automation roles may find limited opportunities for career growth if not exposed to the broader aspects of quality assurance.

What I expect from QA Conferences

  • More diversity in terms content, they should equally focus on other aspects of QA than automation only.
  • Equal focus should be given to exploratory testing, there should be more education towards becoming a creative exploratory testers than only emphasising the automation.
  • There should be talks covering how the experts dealt with difficult situations, what strategy they implemented to improve the mindset of the team towards quality.
  • The talks should be promoting the prevention approach and not the detection, there should be real world case studies shared by experts on how they advocated quality in the team.
  • There should be talks about conducting bug bashes, chaos, 3 amigos effectively in the teams for process improvisation.
  • No one talks about how to ask question which is another an important aspect for QA, QA community should educate QAs to ask questions. 
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