When I started working at QASymphony back in 2015, I thought it would be great to do our own software testing conference. So, we started planning an event that we called “Quality Jam”. We wanted to bring together a good mix of thought leaders and practitioners to talk about where software testing is going in the future. Unlike the other big software testing conferences where speakers lecture and “talk at you”, we wanted Quality Jam to be more of an open dialogue where the speakers ask questions and “talk with you”.
We wanted to bring together a good mix of thought leaders and practitioners to talk about where software testing is going in the future
The first Quality Jam was a one-day conference held in April 2016 and it was a moderate success with over 150 people in attendance. The attendees seemed to really like the content. In our post-event survey, we got very high ratings. In fact 96% of attendees said they would recommend Quality Jam to a colleague. So, we felt like we were on to something with this conference.
Last week we held our 2nd annual Quality Jam software testing conference. It really exceeded all my expectations. We had over 400 attendees this year from 29 states and 5 countries. I really couldn’t believe it when I got on stage to kickoff the event and looked out at the large audience that packed the Westin Buckhead. We’ve come a long way since the first Quality Jam.
The speakers for Quality Jam ‘17 were excellent. Crowd favorites included Keith Klain, Michael Bolton, Paul Merrill and Angie Jones. We also had some of our favorite customers from Disney, Questar, and Mobiquity talking about testing best practices in their companies. So, you had a nice mix of thought leadership and practical hands-on advice from practitioners. QASymphony’s CTO Jonathan Alexander also did a session on our product roadmap that was very well received.
Of course, Quality Jam was not without a bit of controversy. In his keynote, Keith Klain made the statement that companies should “fire test managers.” As you can imagine, this was not well received from an audience comprised of mostly test managers and Keith took some tough questions at the end. But, it made his presentation even more compelling. You can see evidence in the Tweets below.
One of my personal highlights from Quality Jam was the session with Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant from the popular Stuff You Should Know podcast. Their session title was “A History of Testing (and Things That Failed Spectacularly)”. They talked about a wide range of technology #fails including the Apple Newton, Iomega Zip drive, and the E.T. Atari video game. Josh and Chuck were really funny while driving home the importance of software quality and testing.
Quality Jam ‘17 was not just about the speakers and content. We also had a bit of fun with an evening event at Sweetwater Brewery that featured great beer, great food (courtesy of Fox Brothers BBQ) and great music. We also had a fun GIF booth that created some memorable moments you can see below.
In the end, Quality Jam ‘17 was a big success. But, don’t take my word for it. Here are some quotes from the attendees:
“Absolutely loved every bit of #QualityJam17 . It was a lovely experience with the outstanding crowd and the QA symphony team” -Sheekha Singh, QA Engineer, D3 Banking
“This is the first time attending. I got a chance to meet with peers in different organizations and talk to few speakers that really changed my perception about software quality. Thank you Quality Jam! -Lakshmi Bandi, Quality Engineer, Cox Automotive
“Quality Jam offered a diverse set of topics and keynotes that provided useful insights for those wanting to take their testing teams to the next level. -Chris Rzepka, Quality Assurance Manager, Cars.com
“This was my first QualityJam and it was a really enriching experience. From the sessions to the networking, it is was a great environment for testers to interacting with like minded individuals. I met people from all over with shared testing situations. We all came away with new friends and new knowledge.” -Vicki Taylor, Sr Quality Assurance Engineer, Tillster, Inc