SQA Days EU Review

    Hello, Habr! My name is Aleksey, I am engaged in quality assurance at FunCorp. At the end of March, I traveled to Riga on the SQA Days EU. This is the first conference of the SQA Days line, which is held outside the CIS. The program looked promising, and the list of speakers included many high-profile foreign names. Below I will share my experience and impressions of this trip.


    As usual, if you plan your trip in advance, you can save. Let's go through the most significant items of expenditure.

    A ticket for the conference was bought in January; it cost 35,000 rubles. Pretty standard price. The same amount of participation in good Moscow and St. Petersburg IT conferences.

    A flight with luggage on the route Moscow - Riga - Moscow can be packed in 10,000 rubles.

    Residence. The organizers agreed with the hotel in which the conference was held, about a special price for its participants: 119 euros per day for a single room with breakfast. At the same time, it was possible to find cheaper offers in Bucking, and even in the same hotel.

    A visa costs 35 euros. Latvians gave only 5 days.


    The Radisson Blu Latvija hotel was chosen as the site, within walking distance from the historical center of Riga. You can get here from the airport by public transport without transfers, but this will take about an hour. There is an open Wi-Fi network at the airport, to which you can easily connect and call a car using well-known aggregator applications. The trip takes only 30 minutes and will cost approximately 7 euros.

    Onsite organization

    Surprisingly, there were no advertising stands at the conference. Absolutely. This is due to the fact that the event simply did not have sponsors. On the one hand, this is very cool: the organizers managed to save the participants from annoying advertising. On the other hand, fans of collecting stickers were disappointed. Of the merchandise there were only T-shirts (but what!) That still needed to be earned: they were given to the speaker from the audience for the best question, and the speaker himself chose it.

    The conference was attended by 350 people from 37 countries - an impressive geography! On the registration desk, the badges were sorted in alphabetical order, the process of obtaining them took seconds.

    In general, the entire infrastructure and atmosphere was conducive to the exchange of experience, networking, and discussion of problematic topics. On the site was everything you need, and even more:

    • discussion areas;
    • simultaneous translation from English into Russian and from Russian into English. Of course, I could not help but test this system: the quality of the translation seemed very good to me, I did not find any frank problems with the context or the dictionary. Offhand, this option was used by about 10-15% of listeners in the hall, so we can say that the simultaneous translation service was in demand (albeit not acutely) and definitely found its target audience;
    • stable Internet access via a dedicated Wi-Fi network;
    • coffee, light (and not so) snacks. And in the morning of the second day there were even glasses with wine, which, by the way, remained intact until dinner;
    • an area with tables where you can eat or work at a laptop;
    • sofas and a play area with consoles for those who are tired;
    • Bar camp is a kind of impromptu “open mic zone”. People left stickers with the names of the topics they wanted to discuss in the slots over time. Having looked at the schedule, one could come and participate in interesting discussions. They were attended by a moderator who monitored the constructiveness of the conversations. Here you could try yourself in the role of a speaker with a short presentation;
    • and there was even “first aid” - specially trained people who were ready to answer any questions related to the field of quality assurance. I wonder if this format will take root?


    The program itself was very well balanced. Subjects of reports can be divided into the following blocks:

    • test management, building and optimization of processes, training;
    • manual testing;
    • automation and stress testing;
    • “Testing of new technologies”, in the framework of which testing of most of the IoT products was discussed;
    • work with the documentation.

    Each of the four halls had comfortable furniture, good sound and a sufficient number of screens. Reports were presented in 4 sections simultaneously, so that everyone could listen to the report from the block that interests him.

    I think that as a participant in conferences it is worth attending speeches in those areas in which you do not have much experience. That is why I went to reports that cover topics related to the construction of processes and work on their effectiveness. Here's my top 3:
    Ilya Fomin

    Three hats of quality: a tale about how different people see quality in companies from small to big, and what to do to always win ;

    Karolina Zmitrowicz

    How to improve testing organization with TMMI ;

    Erik van Veenendaal

    Lessons Learned - Beyond the Obvious .


    In addition to the games room with consoles and VR, on the first evening there was a concert of the local cover band and an intellectual game in the form of a quiz was held.

    There was still a room with a kicker, but I did not see that it was very popular.


    In the buffet zone there was always something to eat. On the evening of the first day, the organizers prepared dinner. Dishes can not be called Michelin-style, but it was quite tasty and varied: fish, meat, steaks, sandwiches, vegetables. Of the drinks were red and white wine, soda.

    Lunches were held in the restaurant area at the hotel. It was a buffet, mainly with European cuisine. Again, there was plenty to choose from. So that people do not crowd in lines and all have enough seats, lunch was held in two streams. First you had to take a ticket at the information desk (they even made a special pocket for it on the badge!) And give it at the entrance to the restaurant.

    All this is very cool. For comparison, read, for example, how things are going with the droidcon SF or droidcon Vienna .

    General impression

    Of course, I learned something new for myself. Talked with colleagues from other industries and companies - this is exactly why it is worth going to the conference. Honestly, you can watch the reports online as well, the guys have already begun to upload them. A change of location helps to switch the context, and, in addition to participating in the conference, you could relax and take a walk in the evening along the streets of old Riga. Or go to Jurmala with new friends at night. I look forward to the next SQA days EU. If it works out, I’ll definitely go.

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