Speakers’ Spotlight: Meaghan Thompson

We had a great interview time with one of our amazing speakers!

Hi Meaghan, help our delegates & everyone else e-Meet you 🙂

“I’m Meaghan Thompson and I live in Canada, currently Calgary, on the doorstep of the Rocky Mountains where I enjoy camping and hiking. I have a partner, Trevor and 3 kids aged 17, 14 and 8. I love to travel, but with a large family, I don’t get to very much.

My favourite thing is the ocean and I hope to move closer to it.

I have 5 years of experience in QA – 3 in leadership – but many years in many other roles before that. What makes my perspective unique is these other experiences and the examples I have had of both great and terrible leadership, as well as the research I put into my role.”

2) How was the last 12 months? What worked well, what didn’t move as quickly as you would have liked?

“I am in a small but growing startup, which is the most fun I have ever had at work, but this also comes with its own challenges.

What went well: we added a new teammate in our other office, which has been great. A small taste of leading a distributed team and figuring out how to be a better communicator through Slack, video calls, etc. We are quickly moving through the strategy for our test automation and performance testing efforts. We do A LOT with a very small team and a very small budget.

What hasn’t gone well: Startups come with limitations and that almost always means money. I would love more budget for tools, but that will come in time as the company is really growing!”

3) Where do you see yourself in the coming years? What are your career aspirations?

“I am eager for adventure and open to wherever that takes me! I love setting up new teams, improving processes, as well as thinking up lean and creative ways to achieve quality goals.  I also really enjoy the startup atmosphere.”

4) What will you be talking about at Quest for Quality?

“How we, as leads and managers, can build, develop and grow a team that is both future-ready and a part of the very fabric of the company,

How to communicate what our team is doing in a way that adds value to the company and makes us invaluable in return.

Essentially, how to matter.”

5) What inspired you to attend?

“Q4Q has a mission I believe in, as well as sponsors I know about and trust.  I am really excited to participate in the conference, meet people and learn from others. Also, Dublin!”

6) Which influencers and websites do you follow to keep up to date with the latest developments? (Photo: Davar on assignment in Tonga)

“This is really too long to list, but testers really need to know how active and helpful this community is, especially on Twitter. I know I will end up leaving some out, but:
-I am a Pro member of Ministry of Testing and I follow the Bosses on Twitter and LinkedIn.
-I attend almost every one of the webinars Paul Merrill hosts at Beaufort Fairmont.

-I enjoy reading everything that Janet Gregory and Lisa Crispin are doing, same goes for Michael Bolton.

-For automation, I have LOVED some courses on Test Automation U by Angie Jones and Applitools. I also follow Richard Bradshaw and Mark Winteringham on Twitter and would LOVE an opportunity to do their Automation in Testing course in person!

-Amber Race, Gem Hill, Anne-Marie Charrett, Paul Holland, Maaret Pyhäjärvi, Elisabeth Hendrickson….so many good voices!”

Meaghan’s Three lovely kids.

7) How can people find out more about what you are working on?

“I don’t have a blog, but maybe I should start one to log my continuous learning.

I am active on Tweeter – @1StartupTester and on LinkedIn – Meaghan Thompson“.

Speakers’ Spotlight: Yasar Sulaiman

e-Meet Yasar! We can’t wait to meet him live in Dublin at the #Q4Q2019 Conference!

Team Q4Q: Tell us about Yasar?

Yasar: I am an Electronics and Telecommunication Engineer by education but started my career as a Software Engineer. After 15+ years of working, I finally decided to pursue higher education and so, I’m currently getting an MBA degree.

I love to travel, meet people from different cultures. I love snowboarding and am passionate about cars. I am always looking to make new friends and connections.

Team Q4Q: What will you be talking about at #Q4Q2019;

Yasar: “I will be talking to QA professionals about the future of their jobs. Whether you realize it or not, Artificial Intelligence poses some legitimate threat to the QA jobs and ignorance of these risks are not going to help either. I will be talking about what to expect in the coming years and real-life strategies on not only surviving but thriving in the future.”

Team Q4Q: What inspired you to attend the conference?;

Yasar: “The topic of this event was perfectly in line with my recent discussion with fellow QA heads and some CIOs. The conference was right on time and gave me an opportunity to research more about this topic in hopes of contributing in a meaningful way.”

Team Q4Q: Where do you see yourself in the coming years? What are your career aspirations?

Yasar: “I want to take Quality assurance to the next level. In the upcoming years I want to see myself leveraging Artificial intelligence/Machine learning to improve how Software testing is done and add more value to business outcomes. I want to help my team upgrade their skills to be ready for the job of the future.”

Team Q4Q: How has the last twelve months been? What worked well/moved quickly for you? What didn’t work as well as you would have liked?

Yasar: “The last 12 months have been a great learning experience for me. We implemented a new Test Management tool in our company, and I realized that it was more challenging than we thought to integrate it with all other tools we were using. Also, getting it adopted enterprise wide was not that easy.

Having a highly motivated team by my side helped a lot. Also, we hit some roadblocks with automation that current tools didn’t offer but the team’s relentless effort to keep moving forward made a difference.”

Team Q4Q: Which influencers and websites do you follow to keep up to date with the latest developments in the industry?

Yasar: “I follow Elon Musk and many other top tech influencers. To keep myself up to date I continuously study and partake in conferences and professional networks. Through my business school I get many opportunities to connect with diverse professionals across the world. 

Team Q4Q: How can people find out more about what you are working on?

Yasar: “I publish articles on Quality and participate in Tech talks, most of that can be found on my LinkedIn profile  Yasar Sulaiman.

Team Q4Q: Is there something else about you, your talk or expectations of the conference you twould like to share? Please tell us!

Yasar: “I am here to learn just like everybody else in the audience. I am hoping to connect with other QA professionals and not only share my journey but learn from theirs. I am also looking to get involved in some open source project for Artificial intelligence to benefit Software Quality Assurance.”

Speakers’ Spotlight: Ilya Sakharov

We can hardly contain the excitement at the prospect of meeting Ilya Sakharov in real life! But hey, here’s an e-troduction!

Ilya started his career as tester 19+ years ago and have held various individual contributor and managerial roles in quality assurance, engineering and testing organizations at several industry domains including Telecom, Network security, Enterprise IT software, Information security and e-commerce.

Experienced in implementing lean, lightweight quality processes, leading international teams, both in corporations and startups, Ilya currently works out of Berlin as the Director of QA for HelloFresh SE – leading the company’s software quality strategy in hyper-diverse environments.

Team Q4Q: We are glad you’re a speaker at #Q4Q2019! What will you be speaking about?
Ilya: Culture, ownership, accountability. I will address the rebirth of QA in a different, much more complex way. I will also be addressing a model where QA can embrace a much wider scope of influence and bring tremendous value to the multidisciplinary team on top of common testing activities and in fact lead the “Shift left” quality transformation. I will also argue that the trend of professional migration from manual testing to automation might not be a good long-term goal.

Team Q4Q: What was your inspiration for sending in a topic in view of speaking at #Q4Q2019
Ilya: I had heard very good feedback about the 2nd and 3rd Q4Q rounds from people who have participated there. They have referred to Q4Q as a “boutique” QA related event that not only deals with current trends but also is brave enough to look into the future, to raise questions and provoke discussions about issues that we will inevitably have to deal with very soon, creating the participants’ a mindset for tackling those challenges. It’s a wonderful opportunity to be selected to present in Q4Q and to be honest, the location of this gathering played an important role in my decision to apply.

Team Q4Q: Tell us a bit more about yourself.
Ilya: I turned 41 in August and wrap up 19 years in quality domain, in fact more than 20 if to count my military service. During that time, I have changed roles from individual contributor to management in huge mega corporations and I’m back again in a startup. This journey has been key to my learning different ways of influencing and trying to comprehend the bigger picture of what high quality delivery looks like both from technical and project management perspective. I was lucky to also experience different industry sub-domains being involved in testing and building testing strategies for hardware, networking, enterprise software, information security and e-commerce products. When I look at my professional evolution it seems to be “from breaking to building” as it all started with a passion to find the flaws in a system or product, then evolved into looking for ways to prevent those flaws in the first place by tuning and tweaking the whole process of creation. Expanding my understanding, learning additional ways to influence and thus helping the teams excel in what they do is what keeps me passionate about what I do.

On a personal level, I am the worst half of my wonderful and super talented Valeria, a father to a now fully grown-up, daughter, a cushion for two cats and a snack dispenser for one never-resting cocker spaniel. Together with my wife, we share a passion for martial arts – practicing traditional Karate for many years and lately discovering Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Team Q4Q: Where do you see yourself in the coming years and what are your career aspirations?
Ilya: Someone said that a good career path is an open-ended journey. As our reality and industry changes so rapidly, many new roles emerge just as many others disappear. So there is no particular role or position that I am for, rather being able to influence and help building more reliable and high quality products – faster. In the future, I see myself leading quality and delivering transformation, helping startup companies transition into more structured, mature and data driven organizations as they grow.

Team Q4Q: How has the last 12 months been? What worked well and what didn’t go as well as you would have liked?
Niranjani: Hectic! I assumed my current role in HelloFresh a bit more than a year ago, and that included moving to another country which came along with changing domains from a corporate structure to fast paced startup -like, moving from software B2B to food B2C company from direct to indirect influencing model was challenging and extremely interesting.

Looking back, I can say that we have made tremendous progress in all things quality, but there is a long way to where we want to be. I would also say that introducing new processes and cultural change to a tech organization that constantly grows more than 50% year on year is harder than I thought.

Team Q4Q: What influencers and websites do you follow to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in the industry?

Martin Fowler – https://martinfowler.com

Alan Page: https://angryweasel.com/blog/

Matt Hutchison- http://blog.testingcurator.com

James Bach – http://www.satisfice.com/blog/

Lisa Crispin – https://lisacrispin.com

Janet Gregory – https://janetgregory.ca

Team Q4Q: How can people find out more about what you are working on?
Ilya: You are welcome to connect with me through LinkedIn @Ilya Sakharov [and XING if you know what that is 🙂 ], other than that I don’t have a blog.