What has new knowledge, new chances, and new options in common? YES! A new week of TMATLC 2020

The third week started and I must admit, the time flies fast. I am always surprised by how much knowledge can be shared just in one week.

Monday, August 3rd

The first day started with the interesting session “Building Better Teams and Testers Through Play” by Jenny Bramble.

Jennifer started the session with this inspiring saying by Vygotsky – “Activity that is desired, involves an Imaginary situation, and always involves rules.”

Below are my notes from this session – 

Why should we start playing? Because to play is to heal.

  •  Play helps those with the most to learn
  • Play creates and reinforces the social bonds we need to operate as a team
  • Play is good for professional development

We find ways to bring play into our lives. Sometimes the random unstructured play- escape rooms, video games, puzzles help us. Play reinforces our social bonds, helps us grow professionally.

Flow Time is Wolf Time backwards. Wolf Time is semi-structured, regular, limited and often one person is in charge of arranging it.

Few examples for your own Wolf Time:

  • Board Games
  • Giant Jênga tower games
  • Make a gingerbread house
  • Cook together
  • Scavenger hunt in the office

Emna Ayadi created this lovely sketch note and kindly let me use it for this report. Have a look at how we build better teams and tests through play in this colourful illustration.

I would summarize my understanding of this session with the below points:

  • Play is team bonding and building activity. 
  • Creatures who need to learn the most, play the most. 
  • Start small and group to bigger games
  • Any play is healthy.

Tuesday, August 4th 

I had the opportunity to attend a second session by Jenny Bramble named “Building Automation Engineers from Scratch”  

The outline for this session was: 

  • You never start from zero, you start with your assumptions
  • Setting expectations
  • Framework for success
  • Face challenges
  • Win

Here are my notes from this session – 

Assumptions – your resources;

You have a group of manual testers or are a manual tester who is interested in moving forward. You have time, resources like some kind of support system, or people willing to help to apply in this adventure. And you are willing to make a plan and execute that plan.

Framework for success;

What do you know? Remember this is a skill built on top of your existing skills, not starting from zero.  Learn to code; don’t learn to automate. You don’t just drop your manual skill set completely to pick up automation, everything you have done in your past is a stepping stone to making automation better. Have the ability to learn, and use tools including asking questions.

Face challenges and make automation invaluable, professional development means change and change leads you to victory.

Albert Einstein once said, “Try not to become a {Human} of success. Rather, become a {human} of value.” 

My key learning from this session are:

  • Find a mentor
  • Pairing between devs and testers helps
  • Dedicate time for reviewing PRs, helping other teams and other tasks
  • Refer example automation projects
  • Use coursework
  • Try games (last session by Jenny)

Shortly after this lively presentation, we continued with “Why is there a Marvel in your Nose?” by Angela Riggs

Angela recommends the following skills to help us during our work with people. 

Let me mention some of them in detail.

Even at work, we can not separate our emotions from ourselves as an individual. People need time and space to get through their emotions. Negative emotions reduce people’s capacity for effective and productive work.

Empathy gives us a better awareness of our role, relationships, and work.

Understanding emotions make us better testers because it allows us to work in a way that meets people’s emotional needs. Empathy makes us better testers to understand the people we are working with and the people we are building for better.

Leading through influence is all about building relationships and trust with people and it makes us better testers when we lead with trust and collaborate.

Communication is a way of transferring ideas, it happens whether or not we intend to happen. Effective communication means adapting your communication style for different audiences. Communication makes us better testers because we have more awareness and control over the ways we share and receive information.

Attention, you get the behaviours that you give attention to.

Angela shared an important rule about feedback. Negative feedback registers more quickly, one small instance of criticism may make a big impact on your team.  One negative feedback will overthrow five positive feedbacks. We need to mind how we are giving feedback as a leader? Keep this rule in mind and think about it the next time before and how you will communicate your feedback. 

Attention to details makes us better testers because it helps us understand the impact of our interactions.

We learn, retain knowledge, and improve the most when we succeed in something that challenges us. Our experiences make us better testers.

Wednesday, August 5th

I was very excited to attend the “Workshop: Why Your Team isn’t Performing” by Kim Adès 

For this session we were given the following agenda:

  1. Why people struggle to perform
  2. Strategies to accelerate performance
  3. Exercise for the bold and courageous

Kim explained four areas of struggle to be isolation, the fiction of communication/relationship, chronic dissatisfaction, and slippage. Based on my experience of working in teams, I can relate to some of these, especially the one about communication. 

In her session, Kim also explained some interesting thinking strategies to improve team performance, such as – 

Thinking strategy One: Challenge their (team) beliefs

What is true of what you believe? Journal it down, what are your fundamental beliefs? Are they true? Under what condition will they change? When behaviours change, all the questions you had before may not be important anymore.

Thinking strategy Two: ResourcefulnessWays of thinking process our behaviour and our behaviour is a reflection of our beliefs.

Thinking strategy Three: Focus on what they (team) really really want. How to find what you really really want? Look at yourself (team), ask yourself, all answers lie in your beliefs. Review answers to living the life you want.

One sentence stuck with me from this session which was- outstanding performance is NOT about skill, it is all about our beliefs.

Thursday, August 6th 

“Embarking into the new World of Al-First: Survival Kit” by Jennifer Bonnie

This session about Artificial Intelligence started with this interesting message; “Where we are going, good enough is death.”

My session notes: 

Foresight = discuss the future, shape the future and imagine the future

Three things to keep in mind –

  1. Put your customer first
  2. Don’t forget about employee engagement – turn them into “Innovations Agents”
  3. Transformation effort should bridge the old new

Three gatekeepers for the words of the tongue to ask yourself before you address any message to someone else. Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? 

The following eight job skills, according to Jennifer, will lead to success in a post-Covid19 World.

  1. Leadership
  2. Tech Savvy
  3. Creativity and innovation
  4. Data literacy
  5. Critical thinking
  6. Digital Marketing and Coding skill
  7. Emotional Intelligence
  8. Lifetime learning

Lessons we learned today, don’t be afraid to build stuff you might throw away, keep your skills current and luck favours the present.

Friday, August 7th 

This week ended with a session named-  “What needs to change to be your best?” hosted by Amy Jo Esser And it was worth the wait and staying up late to be a part of it. (Yes, I attended it at 3 AM my time)

“Being the best version of you” changes your habits and it will change your life.

Some rules that Amy mentioned:

Rule One.

Make it a must. A Necessity.  A non-negotiable. Create and write down a big why. It’s critical you master this skill/habit

Rule Two.

“Eat that Frog” first Brian Tracy has said, that your “frog” should be the most difficult task on your things-to-do list. The one you are most likely to procrastinate on.

Rule three.

Start tiny and atomic. Tiny habits and atomic habits. To change your habits and so your life seriously, Amy Jo shared ten simple hacks to follow how to change a habit/skill for the future.

What needs to change to be your best?

  1. Answer the best leader questions.
  • What does being the best leader look like for me?
  • What skills do I need to master to be the best leader I can be?
  • What do planning, preparing, and practising look like for me?

2. Select a challenging leadership skill you want to improve or master.

  • Write down what skill you want to improve, break down the skill, write down ideas of the different areas that you may have to learn and practice in order to master this skill.

3. Manage your mindset – determine if you have any limiting beliefs around this skill that could hold you back.

  1. Plan when you will practice your skill.
  2. Create and write down why you must practice this skill.
  3. Practice this skill daily.
  4. Create and print out some version of a 66-day calendar to put a victory check on each day after your practice. Don’t break the chain!
  5. Be aware and fight “The Resistance” that will show up.
  6. Make a commitment and contract with yourself. Honour is like a commitment you would make to someone else.
  7. Print off and sign the contract. Review every single day.

Change for better NOW, there is no better time coming. Below you find a contract you can sign right now and start working towards your change. Let us know on Twitter @TestMatserAcad, @ajesser and @astridwinkler4 with the hashtag #tmatlcs2020

What are you going to change next? 

I would always remember these great words by Amy, “Every struggle is one step closer to greatness.”

We had a great week together and another one is already waiting. This awesome week full of leadership knowledge, testing wisdom, and personal growth hacks was a great push forward. 

If I may, I would like to dedicate this week to late Kobe Bryant who said,  “There’s a choice that we have to make as people, as individuals. If you want to be great at something, there’s a choice you have to make. We all can be masters at our craft, but you have to make a choice. There are sacrifices that come along with making that decision. 

Thank you for your precious time to read my summary of the third week of Test Leadership Congress 2020. I am already excited about the next week and hope you will join me again. 

See you next week. 


Astrid WinklerAstrid Winkler is a budding freelance journalist and content writer from Switzerland.  Creativity is her passion and writing is her lost-and-found love which she is willing to develop with more care. 

Connect with Astrid on Linkedin or follow her on twitter @AstridWinkler4


The force was indeed with me – fighting against the odds and making most of it

This is my the last write up on the second week of my experience with Test Leadership Congress 2020. If you missed the previous articles then I recommend you to please read those herehere and here.

Thursday, July 30th

Today we had a repeat-delivery of two sessions .“Too Fast Too Furious: A story of being first QA manager” by Priyanka Halder and “Workshop: The Personality Puzzle: Building a Solid Team” by Brittany Sherell.  Feel free to read more about my experience with these sessions in my report from yesterday here.

This day was a bit challenging for me because some of the topics were pretty new to me considering my non-technical background. Nevertheless, I enjoyed what I could gather out of it and certain topics have raised my curiosity around this dynamic world of software testing. 

The session  “Measuring Release Quality and Delivering Release Value” led by Marina Bechaalani was interesting. However, as a non-technical person, I had to be on my toes and put a lot of energy to follow and understand everything at the same time. Sometimes it becomes challenging to understand things if you are not familiar with the profession. But I was determined and decided not to give up. So there was I, listening, learning and using all my passion in understanding things.

I learned an impressive definition of quality from this talk.

“Quality is value to some person, at some time, who matters”.

(Oh, by the way, I discussed this topic with some cool people and learned more about this definition of quality. It was originally given by the great Jerry Weinberg and James Bach apparently extended it to the “who matters” part. Isn’t it cool?)

Marina said that if we do not concretize and align upfront on the “values to persons who matter today”, we will miss the important aspects of quality that matter and it will result in a lot of rework. I agree 🙂 

Key learnings:

  1. Quality of a product does not have a meaning without knowing the concerned persons who matter today and understanding very well what they value in the product.
  2. A measure and corresponding visualization can be applied in a tester’s workplace to drive the construction of a release based on the targeted values.
  3. A measure and corresponding visualization can be applied in a tester’s workplace to drive the feedback loop on a release based on the targeted values.

“How will I measure release quality?” was the biggest question Martina faced when she was a release lead. 

And her approach has been – 

Step 1: Defining the values

Step 2: Defining the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) assessing the status of values

Step 3: Gathering feedback from releases used by clients

Step 4: Using the metrics

Right after this interesting session, I attended the “Fictional Test Data” by Joshua Russell. For everyone who could not make it, you can see Joshua again on Friday morning. In this session, I got a lot of knowledge about the thoughts a tester has to have in mind while figuring out what will be useful and what not. 

My session notes as follow –

What is the test data?

  • Master data
  • Transactional data
  • Analytic data

Create the test data that tells a clear story, with believable details, and is carefully curated, including using Personas.

And then you can design software for specific users, not some generalized user.

And use personas to represent specific users throughout development.

Here two different examples: 

Well, this makes me super happy actually. I am now convinced that the user-persona that I represent in my personal life, is surely part of someone’s test-data and making sure to consider my needs as a user. So to me, you testers surely are superheroes. Shout out to all of you.

Key highlights from Joshua’s talk:

  • Test data should be recognizable and memorable
  • Test data should be realistic and relatable
  • Test data should be curated and readily available

I am always amazed at how time flies even in a subject that is not really related to me or my work. There was so much knowledge in each and every session but not enough time to digest it all, the next session was already lined up. And so we moved on to “Cypress, TestCafe, Puppeteer & Playwright!!! Which one to use? Confused? Let’s talk and Clear the Air” by Sunny Sachdeva

Sunny’s topic was mainly about Javascript and automation in testing.

Here are some things to remember from Sunny’s session:

  • Options are open now for Selenium alternatives
  • The strategy should be based on PPP&I
  • Don’t be a victim to Affirmation bias.
  • Understand your product requirement
  • Get insights from your product analytics and check how your customers are using the product
  • Have a POC and define entry and exit criteria
  • Have weightage to each parameter in POC

And with this topic, the day concluded. With my head full of new information that I could use for my learning, I was glad I made it till the end of the day. 

Oh and one more thing. Most likely I won’t make it to the conference tomorrow and therefore you might miss my reporting for the day. 

After that last session for the week, the celebration awaits you with fantastic “Fireside Chats and Happy Hour”. I hope you would have a drink and toast virtually from your homes to this great week we had together. 

Cheers and happy weekend. 

Stay safe. 


Astrid WinklerAstrid Winkler is a budding freelance journalist and content writer from beautiful Switzerland.  Creativity is her passion and writing is her lost-and-found love which she is willing to develop with more care. 

Connect with Astrid on Linkedin or follow her on twitter @AstridWinkler4


The Speed, Agility and Team Spirit – are you ready to embrace it all?

This is my fourth write up on my experience with Test Leadership Congress 2020. If you missed the previous three, then I recommend you to please read those here, here and here.

Wednesday, July 29th 

“Agile has Stopped My Career Growth. Now What?” by Brijesh Deb

Agile is seen by a lot of testers, especially of a certain experience range, as the adversary of testing, stopping their career growth. However, in reality, Agile has more opportunities for testers. This talk was aimed at helping people understand the role of a tester in Agile projects and addressing a common misconception about Agile stopping career growth.

After this session a group discussion on the topic, “Career Development Opportunities for Agile Testers” took place. 

The session “Too Fast Too Furious: A story of being first QA manager” by Priyanka Halder was very interesting and meaningful for everyone who isn’t a manager yet and about to become one and also for everyone who is already a manager but maybe needs some refreshers.

Here are my session notes: 

As per Priyanka, a good QA Manager has to be a great leader first. She shared three mantras for the first time managers:

  • Bring out better outcomes from a group of people working together
  • Build a great team – Care Personally, Challenge Directly
  • Give and receive feedback openly

Lead vs. Manager

Your Job as a manager is to get better outcomes from a group of people working together.

Purpose: Do we know the Vision and path to achieve it?

  • People: Understand, develop and aspire to be their best self
  • Process: Running effective meetings, future-proofing against past mistakes, planning for tomorrow, and nurturing a healthy culture.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Building a great team means to build trust, understand the motivation -inner motivation vs. outer motivation. Be compassionate and delegate to make the team self-sufficient. Appreciate privately and publicly but show vulnerability and offer psychological safety.

Which leads us to the FBI Framework for communication and feedback.

F = Feeling: What emotion did the action or behaviour of the other cause you?

(Are you angry, anxious, sad, disappointed, or happy, surprised, thankful?)

B = Behaviour: What was the exact action that caused this emotion?

(Note that you should not use the phrase “you always” or “you never”)

I = Impact: What were the consequences of this action?

A great Manager never stops growing and never stops motivate his team to grow too.

Right after this inspirational session, we were able to join a workshop which was as meaningful and important as all the other great sessions we had this week. And I am really grateful that I had the opportunity given to me by Anna Royzman to participate in this great conference.

The “Workshop: The Personality Puzzle: Building a Solid Team” by Brittany Sherell was so much fun in a serious way which made me realize how important it is to grow as a private person also as the business person. It doesn’t matter in which field you are working if you are already a leader or not, but this knowledge is for sure priceless.

My notes from the session by Brittany – 

Brittany opened her workshop with an interesting quote –

“People don’t quit a job, they quit a boss.”

As a leader, you will be able to:

  • Identify common personality types and behaviours
  • Recognize how to blend diverse strengths for improved productivity
  • Leverage individual personality challenges to create more team cohesion

But what is personality in the workplace?

And why is personality in the workplace important?

25% admit they took their frustrations out of customers.

63% reported that they lost work time avoiding someone who offended them.

78% said their commitment to the organization declined in the face of toxic behaviours.

Are you ready to play the personality puzzle?

Brittany showed us 4 different symbols and we had 30 seconds to choose one for ourselves. Which one would you choose? Are you ready to unlock the puzzle? Share your choice on Twitter @testmasteracad and @Brittany Sherell and @AstridWinkler4 and we would love to share your result with you. Don’t forget the hashtag #tmatlc2020

And now here are strategies to build a solid team:

  • Discuss team personalities and preferences (survey,  a team meeting, etc.)
  • Collaborate as a team on how each member can use their strengths to contribute in the most powerful way.
  • Create an environment that welcomes two-way, continuous feedback.

Use self-awareness to build a solid team means to ask yourself:

  • How do other people see me?
  • What are my strengths/positive traits?
  • Are my potential pitfalls showing up right now?

Key takeaways

  1. Unchecked personality clashes are costly
  2. Meshing a team with diverse personalities requires the ability to discern the positives and pitfalls at play on the team
  3. Leveraging personalities happens with communication, collaboration and strategic contributions.

Encourage your team members to share their rhythms and preferences upfront to find the proper way to collaborate. 

Later on, a Lean Coffee session happened and I am sure testers enjoyed sharing and solving their problems through discussions and brainstorming. 

And now, with all this inspiration for how to build a solid team and never stop growing for yourself and your job I will take your leave. We might see each other tomorrow.

See you soon. 


Astrid WinklerAstrid Winkler is a budding freelance journalist and content writer from beautiful Switzerland.  Creativity is her passion and writing is her lost-and-found love which she is willing to develop with more care.

Connect with Astrid on Linkedin or follow her on twitter @AstridWinkler4

Drenching in the rain of leadership – TMATLC 2020 saga continues

This my third write up on my experience with Test Leadership Congress 2020. If you missed the previous two, then I recommend you to please read those here and here

Tuesday, July 28th

Sessions on Monday kept me thinking about ideas shared, indeed. It kept me wondering about the beautiful word of software testing that appears to me. And I must admit how interesting I am finding all the talks, especially on leadership. Being a Project Manager myself I feel I can closely relate to most of the things discussed. 

With that in mind, I was looking forward to another great day and the day gave me nothing to complain about. 

Vojin Popovic opened the day with his session “Improving Communication and Teamwork Using Perceiver Element Grid (PEG)”.

Here are my session notes if that interests you: 

Perceiver Element Grid (PEG) is a particular type of qualitative grid useful in work with teams, families, and individual work. 

Usually, when we communicate on a project, we assume that our team members have the same understanding of the team values as we do. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The PEG allows us to come up with a common understanding of team values and roles within the team using a simple grid. A stable, valued team is so important especially during this critical Times we are facing right now, it becomes even more important that we have a team we can trust. 

How to use PEG with your team:

  • An initial explanation is given to the team, including the idea that everyone has their unique view on life, themselves, their situation, and each other.
  • This includes that everyone there is a set of “constructs” that we can view as calls to action.
  • Each team member is given a sheet of paper on which they can write their private thoughts. They will be able to select aspects of these that they are happy to share, but the sheet is for their eyes only.
  • The task is to imagine the team in six months or a year“ time, after which some useful work has been done and the team, though not ideal, is functioning well enough for work to be done and the atmosphere is pleasant for all.
  • Think of the team working together at this time. In this situation, how would you like to be able to see yourself? Write down three ideas, or two or just one. More if you like. 
  • Now write the names of the others down and put how you would like to be able to see them. Put three ideas down about them. Positive ideas are better, avoid using “not” or “less”
  • The facilitator helps the members with this, clarifying the task, helping them to imagine an actual situation under the improved conditions, and finding suitable words or phrases for them.
  • When the team is ready, the facilitator asks them to choose their best idea, or most representative idea, that is alright to share with the group. Enter these into the diagonal cells for each member, having drawn up a blank PEG with the correct number of rows and columns to correspond to each other.
  • These are labeled in the same order from the top left-hand corner along the rows down the columns, people as perceivers on the left, and as elements along on the top.
  • If this has been achieved satisfactory enough, one can move on to filling in the other cells of the PEG, being aware to work sensitively around in the other difficult points of tension, and ensuring a good spread of contributions from different members.

To me, this session was a great inspiration and I hope this will reach so many others out there who can use it as a help to build a team. It made me remember the quote Dawid shared in his presentation from Richard Brandson i.e. “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” If we value our team – they value our business.

The following session “Risk or Fear: What Drives Your Testing?” was delivered by Jenna Charlton and I found it interesting. 

Jenna explained her ideas with such great examples that a newbie like me also could understand how essential software testing is and why it needs to be valued.

Some highlights from Jenna’s talk –

“Airplanes have visible and invisible risks. The service cart stops rolling, and the crew can work around by carrying the drinks on a tray. We need to hold each perceived risk up to scrutiny and confirm the amount of impact and risk – focus testing here.”

Having the risk score go up isn’t necessarily bad – it can mean you learned more about the risks. Done is the goal to revisit risks as you go at appropriate intervals.

Some things to remember – 

  • Discernment: Test decisions, what is your real motivator?
  • Embracing the concept, “What is good enough quality?”
  • Reassessing risk by integrating new data
  • How to overcome bias created by fear and previous failures

I was not able to attend the last two sessions since it’s too late in the evening for me, but still, I would like to mention a few highlights of each session in this report. I am sure both the sessions were great and interactive. 

“Building Automation Engineers from Scratch” by Jenny Bramble

This talk was about building automation engineers. Creating automation engineers from manual testers is hard. Even if testers are willing, they have a lot of hurdles to get over to feel like the same kind of subject matter experts in automation as they are in manual testing.

In this talk, Jenny covered – 

  • The basic framework your manual testers need to be successful, including how to determine where the gaps in knowledge are and filling them.
  • Advice on managing the expectations of your testers and management from time constraints to what success looks like.
  • Several teaching methods are framed around a case study of a team that built itself up from the inside out and is running a successful automation suite.
  • Facing and overcoming other challenges such as ability and perceived ability, resources, time, tooling, and how to get your team excited for a new chapter in their professional development.

Another interesting session as it seemed from the abstract was – “Embarking into the New World of Al-First Survival Skills” by Jennifer Bonine

I found it particularly interesting for the Fuzzy-techie combo Jenni mentioned. I guess I would certainly watch the recordings of the talks I could not attend. There is so much to learn and get excited for. Love TLC and I must thank Anna for involving me in this project. 

 “Know what your narrative is. What your life experience is. The result is our reality and sometimes we distort reality.

Oh by the way, during the day again  Lean Coffee sessions happened which invited all the different members of this conference for interactive participation. Even though I was not able to be there I am sure it was a great experience to meet each other from across the world from the comfort of your home.

That’s it for the day. See you tomorrow.


Astrid WinklerAstrid Winkler is a budding freelance journalist and content writer from beautiful Switzerland.  Creativity is her passion and writing is her lost-and-found love which she is willing to develop with more care. 

Connect with Astrid on Linkedin or follow her on twitter @AstridWinkler4

The fun continues – Experience report of  TMATLC 2020 – Day 1

Some of you might have read my experience report for the pre-conference week of Test Leadership Congress 2020. In case you missed it then please find it here.

Monday 27th July

Seems like an interesting week ahead. I started my Monday with this inspiring tweet from Roberto Salas who has summarized the leadership beautifully.

The first session started with Alexander Podelko who shared his knowledge with us around “Context-Driven Performance Testing” 

Alexander recommended ApacheJMeter and  Gatling Tool as tools for performance testing and emphasized that performance testing better be part of performance engineering.

Alexander touched upon interesting bits of Performance Risk Mitigation such as –

  • Single -user performance engineering  – Profiling, WPO, single-user performance
  •  Software Performance Engineering
  • Modeling, Performance Patterns
  • Instrumentation / PM / Monitoring
  • Production system insights –  Capacity Planning / Management 
  • Resources Allocation
  • Continuous Integration / Deployment
  • Ability to deploy and remove changes quickly

Later on, Dawid Pacia shared his experience of a tester becoming a change agent of quality assurance,  in his great session called “When Startup Meets Quality…A Short Story of QA Game Changer

Dawid advised testers to show the value of testing to the whole organization.

Some highlights from this talk – 

What it takes to become a great Startup QA (Quality Assurance) Agent:

“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” -Richard Branson

There are two paramount goals to be addressed at the company level which is to increase the quality of the product and to build culture across the organization.

Dawid`s definition –

  • Focus on Growth – It’s a business built to grow extremely rapidly. Startups want to conquer the world.
  • Work with technology – Startups find (new) scalable solutions to known problems (in an innovative way).
  • Searching Business Model – Search for a repeatable business model.

What can you do? Sky is the limit.

Dawid concluded his session with the words by Richard Branson.

During the day “lean coffee” sessions also happened which I could not participate in but I am sure they went great.

All in all, it has been an interesting day. Despite being a newbie to the testing world, I enjoyed the sessions I attended. Looking forward to the next awesome day. 

Signing out for the day.


Astrid WinklerAstrid Winkler is a budding freelance journalist and content writer from beautiful Switzerland.  Creativity is her passion and writing is her lost-and-found love which she is willing to develop with more care. 

Connect with Astrid on Linkedin or follow her on twitter @AstridWinkler4

A week in a fun fare of Testing, Games, Leadership and Networking

Experience report of Test Leadership Congress 2020 pre-conference week

It has been great fun attending Test Leadership Congress 2020 so far. I like the fact that the conference is spread across the month and sessions are organized in such a way that there is something for everyone from different parts of the world.

Being a newbie to this field, I am still testing the waters and trying to get the feel of the interesting world of software testing, which I am getting to experience through TLC-2020. 

Here is my experience report from the pre-conference week. 

Monday, July 20th

This is my first time attending a testing conference. I have never really dealt with the topic of software testing today, but we should always remain curious and always be ready to learn something new. So I’m really looking forward to the challenge.

The day opened with a session by Ramit Manohar Kaul and Ajay Balamurugadas with the dual topics: “What Not to Do – Testing in Agile” and “Working with Tools for Testing”.

I liked this particular session because it gave us a little reminder of what we should not do while testing if we are part of the Agile team. With so much focus on delivering in time, in the world of Agile sometimes we forget or get carried away in the fast pace of things.

In this session, Ramit shared a few simple strategies to avoid chaos. For example –

  • Risk-based approach and execution based on breadth wise or depth-wise coverage or a mix of both. 
    • Breadth wise: all risks covered at a high level before moving deep down.
    • Depth wise: one risk deep testing before you move to another
  • Write a sprint objective on top of the task board so everyone remembers what and why they are doing and the outcome of it.
  • May sound funny but take breaks. If you see that the team has continuously put four hours without break, ask the team to take 30 mins compulsory break. The same goes for a heated debate.

Ajay demonstrated a variety of tools that help him do his job as a tester. Not just automation tools! All the little helpers that make professional testing easier and more effective.

Later on the day, another interesting session happened that was led by James Lyndsay. It was about a testing game including networking. This session was run throughout the week. 

James was running Questions for testers to help testers build connections. QfT works with teams who know each other well, and strangers who share an interest in testing. It is a game to connect testers and trigger conversations. 

If you are interested to try it by yourself and use it in your team in the future, then please find the information below. 

You can play it in person with cards from https://github.com/workroomprds/QuestionsForTesters or online by using http://exercises.workroomprds.com/qft/

Rules of the game

Process 1: Make a group. 

Process 2: Take turns. Each turn, one of you reads a question, and its options, out loud – then chooses one option, privately. Harder decisions are more interesting.

Process 3: Talk. The reader may give points to anyone who predicts (or sways) their choice. Return to 2.

Ranking: Points are pointless.

Give it a try and see how far you might go. 

Tuesday, July 21st

The second day started with a session about “NPV for Test Automation” talk + “Business-driven test automation” demo led by Nishi Grover Garg and Ashutosh Garg. 

Test automation seems to be an interesting thing in testing. A lot of automation projects are just started, continued, and then shunted without measuring the impact automation created. Automation should be done with a purpose, either saving effort (or cost) or increasing coverage. This session was focused on how we can use the NPV (Net Present Value) financial framework on test automation to decide whether to start the project or not.

The latest release of the Sahi Pro Software introduces the brand-new concept of Business-driven Test Automation which solves the problem of functional automation simply and elegantly. 

Nishi explained about data-driven and on-data driven tests using Sahi Pro. She shared how the auto-heal happens for the change in the element name & when it does not work, shown by a demo.

After that interesting talk, the founder of Test Masters Academy, Anna Royzman hosted a brainstorming event all about the questions “What’s on your mind?” and “What problems do you want to solve this Summer?”

I am sure we testers are going to ask ourselves these questions again during the conference so if you don’t have your questions ready yet, I am sure they might come later and there still will be a time to share them or you already will find answers during the talks which are planned. 

Wednesday, July 22nd

On the third day, we had the opportunity to listen to Kunal Ashar and Santhosh Tuppad, who presented the “Externalization of Test Cases for Quick Delivery Talk + “Tools are my Servants. And I am the Master” Workshop & Demo.

Kunal explained through his talk how test-case management plays an important part in determining the success of automation and how externalizing test cases help us to pre-plan cases that need to be executed based on the bug-fix/impact areas.

In his session titled “Tools are my Servants. And I am the Master”, Santhosh gave us a live demo. In this tools demonstration, he was focusing on a variety of aspects or ways in how a specific tool can be used in our testing activity.

Thursday, July 23th

We started day four with another Game + Network Session by James Lyndsay and a group testing session modeled after the famous Weekend Testing, all in the name of Test, Learn and Collaborate. It was led by Ajay Balamurugadas.

In the afternoon we attended “The Art of Situational Leadership” talk and “Scale your automated tests using all one automation tool – TestProject” (demo) led by Sumeet Panjabi and Geosley Andrades respectively.

Sumeet and Geosley’s talk was focused around a shared language for talking about leadership bringing the relationship between an individual’s development level and the leadership style to follow. He talked about how to be a situational leader allowing you to partner with your people and build an environment of higher trust, positive intentions, and significant results. It was a powerful session on the art of situational leadership.

Though I have been a silent learner and observer, I was very happy to be here this week and attended the inspiring sessions with a lot of interest and I hope to see you all again next week.


Astrid WinklerAstrid Winkler is a budding freelance journalist and content writer from beautiful Switzerland. She is a Project Manager by profession.

Creativity is her passion and writing is her lost-and-found love which she is willing to develop with more care. 

Connect with Astrid on Linkedin or follow her on Twitter @AstridWinkler4


A letter from the Founder about Test Masters Academy conferences

Dear all,

Test Masters Academy conferences in 2020:

Test Leadership Congress – July 20th- August 21st (online)

ConTEST NYC – November 16th – 20th (hybrid: online and in person)

Please join us this year as a supporter of our community and engage in a forward-thinking experience with your peers and leaders from all over the world.

No matter how physically far we are from each other today, we are a family. Stay connected to the community, our Slack is open 24/7. 

Keep safe and healthy. I look forward to seeing you soon.

Best wishes,

Anna Royzman, Test Masters Academy Founder.

Call for Proposals for Test Masters Academy Conferences 2020

For the 5th consecutive year, Test Masters Academy organizes two international conferences in New York, USA.

We  welcome speakers to apply to our programs. See below for opportunities:

June 15th-19th,  New York, NY USA

Proposal Submission deadline: March 31st, 2020 

Test Leadership Congress is an international conference featuring emerging trends, latest developments, experience and practical advice in software quality leadership and management.

We are looking for presentations and workshops on following topics:

  • The  modern technology  landscape, and new trends
  • Risk management techniques
  • Technical leadership skills
  • Long term testing and quality strategies
  • Building and managing  productive teams
  • Influencing positive  change in the team and organization
  • Mastering budget, investments, and resources
  • Arming your team with the  best tools on the market
  • Leading and inspiring the  team’s Quality Culture
  • Equality and inclusion in the workplace
  • Coaching teams on testing and quality
  • Motivating teams and individuals in testing
  • Implementing enterprise-wide quality improvement programs
  • Implementing enterprise-wide technology programs, skills upgrade and career development ladders
  • Modern management and leadership techniques and practices
  • Games and interactive sessions to teach any of the above

We want to hear experiences in the topics that are important in testing leadership.

We find that the most important experiences are often the moments of struggle and recovery by learning. The format of our conference makes including exercises and hands-on techniques in your session easy and good.

Submit your proposal HERE

November 16th-20th,  New York, NY USA

Proposal Submission deadline: April 15th, 2020

ConTEST NYC  is the international conference that explores the role of software quality and testing in the context of the modern world.

We are looking for presentations and workshops on following topics:

  • Latest IT trends and technologies
  • Modern Quality Engineering practices
  • Innovative techniques in software testing 
  • The testing of emergent and newest technologies (case studies)
  • Team player  and  leadership  skills
  • Testing role  in XP, Agile, DevOps
  • Hot test  tools  and  methodologies
  • Mastering Software Testing  expertise
  • Working in cross functional teams
  • Self motivation and influencing skills
  • Career development opportunities
  • Effective communication and team building techniques
  • Leading and influencing whole team quality
  • Coaching testing, facilitation techniques
  • Understanding and navigating through new organizational processes such as Agile, Lean/Kanban, DevOps (new skills, disciplines and attitudes needed, etc.)
  • Managing and  leading testing and quality processes
  • Games and interactive sessions to teach any of the above

Practical experience over generic statements is preferred.  Exercises and hands-on techniques are highly encouraged.

Submit your proposal HERE


Speaker Policy:

All accepted conference speakers receive 3-day VIP pass to all conference events, that include a full day of pre-conference masterclass tutorial (s) with the industry leaders and a speaker dinner.

The accepted speakers may apply for the partial or full funding for their travel and/or accommodation. The funding will be rewarded based on the number of scholarships available.

Official Visa invitations are provided upon request to all the accepted speakers who require Visa entry to the United States.

Test Masters Academy conferences follow  the Code of Conduct.


Test Masters Academy is holding an Open House event on October 21st in New York to mark the official Grand Opening of its new professional school.

The school offers comprehensive program, taught by the industry experts, that allow for skills upgrade of Software Test/QA professionals and new students who want to start a rewarding career in the IT field. It will accommodate up to 80 new pupils per year and enable Test Masters Academy to provide skilled professional education to the local TriState community.

The program founders and instructors are a group of IT professionals with the real hands-on, long-term experience in the industry. They served major corporations such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, E*Trade, Reuters, Instinet and multiple government agencies.

The initial program offers courses in Software Testing and QA Fundamentals and extensive learning in Test Automation: Selenium WebDriver, Appium, and building continuous testing frameworks. It also provides a workshop on job searching, resume writing and interview skills that will give students an unparalleled competitive advantage in mastering the interview and landing a job.

The evening classes are offered twice per week at the convenient NYC downtown location, close to all major commute hubs. The classes are limited to 20 students to allow for close encounter with the instructors who will guide learning both in person during the class an online. Students will practice on real project to make their experience close to real job as much as possible.

You are invited to the Grand Opening celebration to explore the opportunities, meet the instructors and learn about the program offerings.

What: Test Masters Academy professional school Open House.

When: October 21st, 2019 | 6:30 p.m.

Where: TMA Training Center, 14 E 4th St, Suite 405, New York, NY 10012

RSVP at https://www.training.testmastersacademy.org

For further information, please contact Rus Shamal at:


(929) 262-1969

Why You Should Attend Test Masters Conferences?

We asked our participants, leading experts in software testing and quality engineering community. Read their responses below.

The event was extremely well organized, and I enjoyed every session. In addition to great speakers, the attendees at this event were engaging and thoughtful. Definitely one of the best conferences I’ve attended.

Alan Page, Director at Unity Technologies
Bellevue, Washington

Thank you for the perfectly organized conference! It was terrific and a great opportunity to connect with some sharp minds in the industry sharing their experiences and knowledge. I found both attendees and speakers were energetic to learn what similar problems we are facing in software development and how others have solved them. The sessions were interactive with the top-notch content. Overall a great conference to attend!

Arpit Jain, Software QA Lead at Validus Research Inc.
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

I attended the Test Masters Academy in June 2018 both as a speaker and attendee. What a great time! The ability to connect with other speakers and attendees at sessions, group activities and networking opportunities during the conference provided a well-rounded experience. I would recommend this conference to anyone who is looking to enhance their career and take it to the next level – especially if you enjoy learning in real-world settings. I look forward to participating again!

Melissa Tondi, Strategist at Rainforest QA
Englewood, Colorado

There are today many conferences around the US and around the world.  Each of them has its own characteristics, and for the Test Masters Conferences, this is a group of testers that comes together to share and learn from their experience and knowledge.  The size and organization of sessions allowed for everyone to take an active role and participate in the conversations, making the experience more personal and focused on each of our own needs.

Anna manages to get great speakers to share and facilitate and this in itself helps to place the Test Masters Conferences among those events that you want to mark on your calendar and try to participate at least once in a while.

Joel Montvelisky, Product & Solution Architect at PractiTest

The Test Masters Academy Conference is the best conference offered in the nation. I have been to other Test Conference but come back to this one. It offers more real world, today’s testing world learning. I have found those who give presentations and collaboration workshop are the best in the tech industry. The conference is small which give you opportunities to get more one-on-one interactions. I appreciate being able to meet so many testers who come from all over the world to attend. Combine the strength of the presentations, meeting new people and a great atmosphere for learning makes them outmatched for any other conference. I would definitely recommend to anybody who wants to learn in a smaller setting.

Paul Hansen, Principle Tester at Hughes Network Systems
Orem, Utah

Test Masters Academy brings in experts from around the world to an amazing location on Times Square. As attendees, we have ample opportunity to meet the speakers and dive deeper into testing topics. The group activities are engaging, encouraging participants to rethink the paradigms of testing.

Thomas Haver, Senior Application Architect at Huntington National Bank
Columbus, Ohio

Presenting at Test Leadership Congress has been an honor and great pleasure. I did a workshop around whole team testing and the interaction I had with the audience was very engaging. I feel that the theme of the conference itself is very unique and something that our industry needs to take seriously i.e. test leadership. I would like to participate again should there be something more I can come up with to suit the idea. Great job Anna and thanks for doing what you are doing!

Lalit Bhamare, Co-founder & chief editor at Tea time with Testers

Read more about Test Leadership Congress (June 26th-28th)


Read more about ConTEST NYC (November 20th-22nd)