What a week! The mabl team was thrilled to host our second annual Quality Engineering conference, mabl Experience, on Wednesday and Thursday. Building on the momentum of our inaugural event last year, Experience 2021 gathered a global community of quality leaders, experts, and practitioners to celebrate the evolution of our industry, share knowledge with our peers, and have a bit of fun along the way.
Quality Makes the World Go ‘Round
Quality knows no boundaries in today’s digital world, which is why we chose to make mabl Experience a fully virtual event. Attendees tuned in from 26 countries, representing every continent except Antarctica. Despite being distributed quite literally around the globe, Experience was united by a focus and passion for software quality: 65% of participants said they were in a quality assurance or quality engineering role.
While we would have loved to host a few of our Experience guests in-person, we’re also happy to have hosted quality conversations that couldn’t have happened without a virtual, global audience.
Culture, Careers, and Test Automation in Quality Engineering
Mabl Experience featured 29 speakers across 15 panels, including leaders and mabl customers like Chewy, Charles Schwab, SmugMug, Barracuda, Sensormatic, Enbridge, BitSight, Arch Insurance, and Stack Overflow. They discussed everything from how to improve test coverage, transitioning from manual to automated testing, implementing sustainable culture change, and how to climb the QE career ladder.
We had an amazing panel on “Managing People and Process in Quality Engineering” with SmugMug Senior Engineering Manager in QA, Janet Bracewell, Barracuda VP of Engineering Andrea Wood, and Enbridge Senior Quality Analyst Jessica Mosley. The entire panel was informative and engaging, but some moments stood out:
- Jessica detailed her QE teaching strategy, which she calls “dangerous with mabl.” These sessions encourage non-QE team members to experiment with software testing, ask her team questions, and embrace test automation.
- Janet explained how test automation has created an entirely new QE career ladder for her team. Though SmugMug primarily relied on manual testing prior to mabl, her entire team was able to adapt and expand their skill sets as they transitioned to quality engineering.
- Andrea described how the Barracuda quality team has used automated testing to have a larger influence in the overall software development process, making it easier to shift testing to the left, gain developer buy-in on testing, and prove her team’s value to company leadership.
Later, we dove into the nuts and bolts of building a culture of quality that the entire SDLC can easily contribute to through automated testing. Alex Marchini, Senior Test Engineer at cybersecurity ratings platform BitSight, walked Experience attendees through how his team created a quality engineering practice without a dedicated QA team by focusing on the developer experience in addition to testability. For Alex, this meant prioritizing testing efficiency and having easy-to-interpret results, even for engineers that weren’t familiar with testing. This enabled BitSight to successfully integrate test automation into their CI environments for long-term quality improvements.
His thoughts were echoed in a fireside chat with Dale Cook, VP of Product Engineering at Stack Overflow, who was joined by Meredith Hatzenbuehler, Software Engineer in Test, as well as mabl co-founder Izzy Azeri. As a small team managing a large product with an exponential number of user journeys, Dale and Meredith have realized that creating a better building experience through automation allows their team to create better products for Stack users. With mabl, they’ve been able to establish and scale better testing practices organically, making it easier to get larger team participation and ultimately supporting larger process changes that will make software development easier for the entire Stack Overflow team.
The impressive wins and improvements made by our speakers set the stage for the final panel of mabl Experience 2021: Creating Career Opportunities in Quality Engineering. Featuring a diverse range of experience and perspectives from across the QE field, we were thrilled to host this critical discussion.
Though Maaret, Susan, Marjie, Karine, LaDeitra, and Darrel have all had different paths through the QA career ladder, they shared some common advice for aspiring quality practitioners:
- Be confident. As Marjie noted, “QA is never delivering good news.” Though the industry is rapidly changing with automation, DevOps, and cloud adoption, quality is undoubtedly a technical position, and software testers need to be able to confidently explain defects, how they can be replicated, and their impact.
- QE is the common thread between code and customer. QE professionals need to be able to understand both sides of the software industry: market fit, business logic, and how the product works.
- Stay curious! No matter how the field evolves, quality engineers need to ask questions, bring in new perspectives, and play devil’s advocate on behalf of their users. The entire panel agreed that staying curious and seizing opportunities are the best ways to succeed in quality.
What’s New and Next at mabl
In addition to learning new strategies for culture change and people management, mabl Experience participants were able to discover the latest and greatest in test automation directly from the mabl team.
Mabl co-founder Dan Belcher was joined by Atlassian Senior Product Managers Gareth Wham and Erika Sa to explore how Quality Engineering is at the heart of DevOps adoption. They shared how Atlassian combines with mabl to make testing a truly collaborative effort across the software development lifecycle.
But odds are that Jira isn’t the only tool relied on by software development teams. Which is why mabl Product Managers Juliette MacPhail and Thomas Lavin revealed our new Teams integration during their Experience talk, which enables Teams users to seamlessly share and comment on test results from mabl.
Beyond the many new features coming on the mabl roadmap, Juliette and Thomas explored Job #1: be the easiest low-code test automation solution. Every action taken to expand the mabl platform follows this goal.
Driven by the progress of our customer community, the next stage of mabl’s growth is continuously growing our capabilities to serve quality practitioners of all skill sets, areas of expertise, and roles. Whether it’s API testing, cross-brower testing, mobile web testing, or end-to-end testing, we’re working to be the simplest tool to execute tests, communicate the results, and take action for continuous improvement.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the second annual mabl Experience! Whether you joined us as a speaker or attendee, this event couldn’t have happened without each and every one of you. On behalf of the entire mabl team: Thank you!
If you’re looking for even more quality engineering content, stay tuned on our blog, Twitter, and LinkedIn. We’ll be sharing even more highlights from the event, updates from the mabl team, and spotlight interviews from the Friends of mabl community.