Targeting Quality 2023 - experience report

One of the biggest perks of my job is being able to travel abroad to attend and contribute to conferences (or run corporate training sessions) every now and then. I mean, seeing foreign countries, meeting new people and getting paid to do so, what’s not to love?

So far, most of the traveling I’ve done has been within Europe, and while that has been wonderful, I’ve been trying to find an opportunity to cross the Atlantic and speak at a conference (or run training sessions) in North America for a couple of years now, if only to see what it is like ‘on the other side’.

Earlier this week, I had the absolute privilege of attending and speaking at the 2023 Targeting Quality conference (TQ2023), organized by KWSQA, the Kitchener-Waterloo Software Quality Association. This is a regional conference held once a year in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.

Being a regional and ‘boutique’ conference (a direct quote from the organizers), it doesn’t attract the numbers of the larger conferences out there, but it definitely makes up for that when it comes to friendly people and making you feel welcome and at home away from home.

I had the pleasure and privilege of running no less than three sessions at this conference:

  • A full-day workshop on contract testing
  • A talk on the importance of craftsmanship in test automation
  • A talk on and live demo of mutation testing

As I said, Targeting Quality is a regional conference, run completely by volunteers, but the conference was impeccably organized and it managed to attract speakers and attendees not just from the wider Toronto area, but from the rest of Canada and the world as well, with speakers coming from the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, the US and of course from Canada as well.

After spending the weekend in Toronto, I arrived in Cambridge on Sunday afternoon (the conference was scheduled for Monday and Tuesday) and was immediately welcomed by the organizers and some of the other speakers. I’d met a couple of them on previous occasions, but for the most part they were new acquaintances. A very warm welcome indeed.

Monday was workshop day, and as I mentioned, I was scheduled to run a full-day workshop on contract testing. What the audience lacked in numbers (there were seven people attending the workshop) they more than made up for in friendliness, attention and a lot of questions throughout the day.

As usual, time flies when you’re having fun, and for me that definitely was the case. We managed to go through all the material I wanted to get through, hopefully giving the participants a good idea of what contract testing is, what problems it aims to solve, how to write, run and maintain contract tests with Pact-JVM and how to use the Pact Broker / Pactflow.

Monday night saw the speaker dinner at Beertown, which provided plenty of opportunity to wind down, have a chat with the organizers and fellow speakers, and enjoy food and drinks while doing so.

Tuesday was conference day, and I really enjoyed delivering my talks, as well as listening to some of the others, most notably the talks by Thomas Haver and Josh Grant, as well as the closing keynote by Jenny Bramble and Jenna Charlton.

I also really enjoyed finally meeting and having a chat with Janet Gregory and Lisa Crispin, as I’ve heard about and learned so much from them over the years.

After a pleasant social gathering it was unfortunately time to go back home again, but I’m looking back on a fantastic time in Canada and a wonderful Targeting Quality conference.

I really hope to make it back some day, and I can wholeheartedly recommend visiting or applying to speak at Targeting Quality 2024 to anyone considering it.

A final, special thanks to Tina, Graeme, Nicola, Ed, Rob, Lee and Bailey for having me and making me feel so welcome. You put on a great show and I’d love to be part of it again some time.