Running a virtual conference was definitely not something we anticipated doing at the start of 2020. But, this year has been full of surprises.
We approached organizing PNSQC how we usually would: Inviting keynotes and opening the Call for Proposals. By showcasing strong presenters and information we knew the testing community would be interested in, we were able to envision how the conference would come together.
It wasn’t always smooth, or easy, and we learned some good tips along the way:
- Better communication is key. This was our top priority with everyone virtual for the conference organizing. The scheduled meetings became more important because we had to clearly and quickly share updates, progress, and roadblocks so we could problem-solve and delegate as needed.
- Pull in the community. Being socially distant for so long inspired us to reach out to people who we’d been missing. We recruited people to apply to the Call for Proposals, reached out to user groups, and asked people in the community to spread the word. We love it when people who have attended PNSQC in the past share why they enjoy the conference so much and encourage others to join in.
- Consider what’s missing. We were able to take more time this year to reflect on what PNSQC offers to the software community, and re-evaluate what we want to do going forward. The panel and a workshop came about because there were parts of the industry that we just don’t address enough: Diversity and Accessibility. We want to help make the industry, software products and services, and PNSQC itself more inclusive.
- Always be learning. Organizing our first virtual conference was not easy. It took learning about different platforms and technology options to replace an in-person event, how to display high quality sound and video to an online audience, and determining standardization for the pre-recorded videos. We did have a few glitches that we didn’t account for, which was disappointing (it’s tough to be perfect), but we also learned from our mishaps and know how to reduce issues going forward.
For more insights on the challenges of putting on a virtual conference, listen to this interview with program committee members Phil Lew and Bill Opsal by conference attendee Michael Larsen.
Quality Coming Together
Our 2021 theme, “Quality Coming Together,” looks not just on the individual elements needed to create quality software, but how each piece fits together to form a whole. Quality is people working together on teams, plus the development lifecycle, combined with technologies, tools, and methods.
With COVID-19 keeping us apart for 2020, we’re excited to focus in 2021 on all the ways we’ve still managed to come together as a community around improving software.
When the PNSQC community talks, we listen. So, please, share your thoughts on the conference and help us make 2021 even better for quality.
Help Us Improve the Conference
Overall, we are proud of the conference we produced, of the PNSQC community for sticking with us in this challenging time. There’s still time to fill out the conference survey. Share your feedback on what role you have, what industry you work in, and what you most want to see presented at future conferences.