Speakers’ Spotlight: Ilya Sakharov

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 –

Alan Page:

Matt Hutchison-

James Bach –

Lisa Crispin –

Janet Gregory –

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.