Leandro here! Your k6 reporter. Today, we are reporting a story from the field.
We just had a week of adventures and magical experiences at the 2022 StarEast event with real-life people for the first time in two years!
The Journey Begins
The event was in Orlando, Florida, at the Rosen Centre Hotel, from the 25th to the 29th of April, 2022.
But the story does not start there. It began a few days earlier, as we initiated our pilgrimage with some earlier stops.
We had to get some more birds with that same stone, as we went to the city where the most magical places on earth are. Do not worry. No birds were hurt in this adventure.
To start, we brought some k6 love to the parks at the mouse house, where the attractions got some load tests. We also had many more resistance tests on those long attraction lines.
The next day, we also enrolled in magical schools at the studios that brought us wizards, dinosaurs, and giant monkeys. Trying to automate magic is not easy, especially if you do not have a real magic wand and try to use a hanger instead.
All right, we had enough magic and adventures. It's time to prepare for some conference magic and more adventures!
Monday and Tuesday
We finally got to the conference hotel, ready for action. We started Monday lurking over the empty hallways of the conference center until finding the registration desk!
Then, badge at hand, we walked into several friends. People I had never seen in person and built friendships over online interactions! Things were starting with the right foot!
As the first two days only had workshops, the hallways were kinda quiet.
But wonderful people were already there! So we got our recording set ready and started catching up on some interviews with them.
First, the amigo Federico Toledo came by. He is a great performance engineer, a leader, and comes from Uruguay, so we started rocking some content in Spanish. But don't worry! We left some time to record a fantastic English interview on Tuesday.
Then, the amiga Jenny Bramble arrived. She is the director of Quality Engineering at Papa. The interview was crazy good, talking about everything from testing trends to weirdness on QA people and even the importance of inclusivity.
On Tuesday, the next day, people flowed through the interview stage at an incredible pace with a constant ramp-up. Puns intended.
The amigo Federico honored us with excellent perspectives on performance, tools, QA, and his general views on modern performance.
Then, the amigo Sergio Freire, testing advocate at X-Ray, joined the stage coming directly from Portugal. He shared several ideas on the importance of modularity, customization, breaking molds, and unique perspectives on the changes the industry must embrace to thrive.
Then to close the day, we had the amigo Eran Kinsbruner, DevOps evangelist at Perforce. Another brother in arms in the fight against performance ignorance and malpractices. We had several insightful exchanges on what it means to be a performer, the evolution of the trade and tools, the intersection with SRE, and many more insightful comments.
After the workshops, everyone went to share fun, stories, dinner, and some drinks on both days. But on Tuesday night, it was time to get ready for the action to come!
Wednesday. The first official day of the conference started early and with a special broadcast from your k6 reporter. On it, we shared the itinerary for the day, welcomed people into the breakfast area, and officially started the virtual experience for the people joining remotely.
Then the action began with everyone getting ready for the day's first keynote. The amigo John Hill, a test engineer at the space mission control, opened up, showing some fantastic web performance elements and insights into xk6-browser and booting up the conference showing lots of new tools. What a way to start the event!
Then the stage welcomed Andy Knight, Dev advocate with Applitools, and a hyper presenter jumping from conference to conference. He talked about the importance of spotting differences using traditional Japanese art prints and visual examples—an essential task in QA. I mean spotting differences, not traditional Japanese art prints.
After the keynotes, everyone headed out to the presentation tracks. Even I did, as we also had a talk to present. It was a wild presentation about some concepts, ideas, and proposals on leveraging AI and ML in QA. Again just some ideas and perspectives as I am not a super expert in the AI field.
Next, it was time to put together my crazy monster tree of rolling gear and do a tour of the showroom at the expo. We rolled over the room while streaming and giving a taste of the booths, sponsors, food, and everything going on to the remote attendees.
But right after, it was time to get ready for the next task. A modern performance panel with all the experts we could find. Sadly, it lasted only one hour, as it felt like we could have talked about performance for hours and hours. On it, we had our amigos Federico and John. But joining us, we also had the amigo Kaushal Dalvi, a principal performance engineer at UKG. We all had a blast sharing experiences and thoughts on the state of the performance trade, the tools, and the perf-people.
Next, the amigo John Hill visited the interview spot and shared some more ideas and perspectives on performance to close the day. If you think about it, he brought perspectives from space, as NASA uses the mission control platform with the performance practices he spoke about during the keynote. And the cherry on top is that xk6-browser helped him get multiple readings to get usable averages on critical processes measured in milliseconds!
Wednesday was gone, and it was a blast! Unfortunately, I could not hang out much with the people after the event, as I needed to rest or try to rest and get ready for Thursday's adventures.
Next, we could not stream the conference's opening on Thursday, as we had to head up straight to the main stage after a quick munch. All because I was presenting Thursday's keynote! OMG OMG OMG!
The talk was about the concepts presented in the book Accelerate. It speaks of findings from successful organizations leveraging technology. While presenting those findings, I linked them to the QA processes, explaining how they need to change, and closed with recommendations, tips, and tricks. Not to forget, I presented the Aztec Automation Sacrifice Pyramid, which got a fantastic reception from the audience!
After finishing the keynote, we went to our interview and broadcast spot, fired up the cameras, and started another streaming session with only me at the seat. Crazy enough, suddenly, I had a surprise guest, Filip Hric, QA Lead at Slido and Cypress ambassador, coming directly from Slovakia! Our conversation was wild, ranging from food, travel, post-pandemic attitudes, testing, QA, and all those crazy conversations one has at a conference! We even exchanged hats. I gave him our new blue k6 hat, and I received his unique hat with his city inscription! Thank you so much, Filip!
Then the interviews kept flowing, first with the amiga Jamie Sullivan, Supervisor over quality processes at MWA, who shared some ideas about leadership, the mess with role names, and an extraordinary epiphany on using them in our favor.
Then came the amigo Wesley Ferino, QA manager at Popeye's. He shared his experiences as a first-time visitor at StarEast and his challenges shifting left, implementing modern practices, using Grafana, and probably some k6 soon!
Later at the stream stage, no one showed up, so we decided to stream some wrap-up thoughts on the conference, the state of QA, some insights, and more. I wanted to talk a bit about the topic everyone brought up. Most interviewees talked in one way or another about the importance of staying up to date, reaching up to mentors, and attending conferences to achieve both goals. Those were crucial comments and learning points for me too.
It was getting late, and the last keynote had started. The amiga Jenny and her co-presenter, the amigo Adrian Dunston, also from Papa, were doing a fabulous sketch about spies, detectives, and production testing techniques. Lots of shift-right talks, fun, and great old-time detective-acting.
Sadly I could not attend the presentation until its end, as I had to run and get everything ready for the closing stream. We did that last stream with the main stage doors in the frame, ready for the keynote to finish and show everyone coming out. It was a stampede full of fun, energy, and new knowledge. Lots of people stopped to give thoughts and reviews of the conference. Jenny and Adrian also stopped to give insights on the keynote as I could not attend.
To close, the amiga Alison Wade, organizer of the event, thanked the audience, the presenters, and the other organizers that helped. She was very excited to be back in person and ready for the following events!
And with Alison's last thoughts, we finished the last stream. We wrapped up and got ready to rest by the pool, have more conversations, and dine with some more incredible friends.
Among those are many who did not have an actual interview but with whom we interacted a lot. To mention some, I met Delvis Echeverria, Tristan Lombard, Kyle Siemens, Julie Gardiner, Rick Baucom, Bob Crews, Rachelle Sawal, Craig Randall, Greg Sypolt, Joseph Garza, Tariq King, Mala Punyani, and many more!
Friday was kind of quiet and crazy at the same time.
There were two tracks on it—some more events for the hardcore fans. Who right after had to head to the airport or drive back home.
Those tracks had a leadership summit and, at the same time, a session about women who test. Of course, we got into the women who test talks. We must support more women in the QA, IT, and fields where they have not been coming up so much. These fields need more women desperately. And not only women, but we also need to be inclusive and support all LGTB communities and every kind of identity among people.
I want to close this post with a couple of notes and learnings from the event.
- Keep learning and continuously growing! Find mentors and knowledgeable people! And last of all, keep going or attending conferences remotely, which are a brewing pot of new ideas, techniques, and knowledge.
- Support women in our fields however you can. Be respectful, equal, supportive, friendly, and not weird with them. It is awful that IT and QA are areas idealized for men, unsafe environments for women and other gender identities, ideologies, and personalities.
With that, I want to thank you all who read until here. See you on the next adventure!