Speaker

Vitaly Sharovatov

Vitaly Sharovatov

developer advocate, consultant, mentor @ Qase.io

Paris, France

I have a total of 22 years of experience in the IT field: spent 2 years as a system administrator, 13 years as a software developer with a focus on frontend, and 7 years in management, mentorship, and teaching roles. I specialise in working with individuals, engineers, communities, and companies to facilitate and encourage their success and growth.

Area of Expertise

  • Business & Management
  • Information & Communications Technology

Topics

  • agile
  • Agile Management
  • Business Agility
  • Agile Testing
  • People Management
  • Psychology

Tasks, problems, and quality

In this talk, I explore the differences between 'Tasks' and 'Problems', and discuss how we can define and assure quality for each. Despite tasks being easier to handle, appropriately addressed problems have the potential to spark innovation and disrupt markets.

Preferred duration: 30 minutes
Target audience: Engineering Managers, CTOs, software developers and QA engineers

Addressing magical thinking and mental sets in software development

This talk explores the influence of cognitive biases, such as magical thinking and the 'Post hoc ergo propter hoc' fallacy, on our decision-making processes. I discuss how mental sets emerge from the excessive reliance on specialisation, illustrating their impact on rigid thinking patterns. Furthermore, I present strategies for overcoming these biases, suggesting a blend of rationality at work, lateral and provocative thinking, and appreciating diverse opinions.

preferred duration: 30 minutes
target audience: IT folks, from managers to engineers

Fostering Rational Thought: A Profitable Approach to Innovation

In this presentation, I'll break down the framework of cultivating a culture of rational innovations and explore its advantages.

We'll tackle examples of irrationality in management methods and technological practices: it's all too common for organizations to adopt process-focused approaches or technologies based on misconceptions, such as "Google does it" or "I am familiar with this technology". Moreover, entrenched processes and methods often endure due to the sunk cost fallacy and a deficiency of abilities to effectively revise these processes.

At the heart of the issue is sub-optimality, resulting in either unidentified or subpar efficiency. The antidote? Incremental rationalization. We'll navigate a systematic method that includes visualizing all processes, architectures, technologies, and entities. We'll unfold the idea of drafting 'cards' for each entity that delineate its function in problem-solving, its advantages and disadvantages, and alternative solutions contemplated. These cards have an expiration date, instigating regular reassessment.

Using concrete examples from recruitment processes to the software development lifecycle, and tech-specific elements like database sharding and server-side rendering, we'll review how the rational approach is applied to all decisions.

This strategy promotes rational thinking and perpetuates the ongoing refactoring of systems, processes, and technologies.

preferred session duration: 40 minutes
target audience: Engineering Managers, CTOs, engineers

The Power of Trust: An Evolutionary and Game Theory Perspective on Workplace Success

Have you ever been promised a pay rise or promotion that didn't happen? Have you ever felt an unfair comparison in performance reviews? Would you expect your colleagues to quit if you were laid off? Do you trust your manager and colleagues?

In my 23 years in IT, I've felt distrust many times. This led me to explore the principles of evolutionary biology and game theory to find answers that explain the impact of trust on our professional lives and beyond.

I will explore how trust enables teamwork and collaboration, functioning as a powerful driver in a non-zero-sum game that yields better results. I will also explore how certain managerial approaches — such as the implementation of KPIs and performance reviews — negatively affect trust, and offer a replacement.

session duration: 35 minutes
target audience: Engineering managers, CTOs, engineers

Rethinking Individual Performance Reviews: Unraveling Their Impact on Team Dynamics and Quality

In this talk, I discuss the unintended consequences of individual performance reviews, particularly their negative effects on team quality and efficiency. I argue that teams, not individuals, are the core value producers for clients and that a focus on individual performance can be more damaging than helpful.

Beginning with an analysis of the inherent subjectivity in performance assessments, I discuss various cognitive biases that cloud both the assessee's self-presentation and the assessor's judgement. I will delve into the complex nature of memory biases and show how they add a degree of noise to the appraisal process, likening it to a broken telephone game.

Presenting research findings, I will explore how these issues often lead to feelings of procedural unfairness, negatively impacting employee satisfaction, productivity, and ultimately leading to increased turnover. Especially in cases where performance reviews are tied to pay incentives, the resulting sense of unfairness and demotivation can severely compromise quality.

Further, I highlight the problematic implications of the focus on individual contribution over teamwork, drawing on Goodhart’s law and the insightful wisdom of Dr. Deming. By examining the repercussions of distorting the system, I make a case against the wasteful practice of individual performance reviews.

preferred session duration: 35 minutes
audience: Engineering managers, CTOs

Cognition and Emotion at Work: The Overlooked Power of Interest

In this talk I delve into the intricate connections between emotions, cognitive function, and workplace performance. Emotions are not just transient feelings; they hold a powerful influence over our cognitive processes, including perception, attention, decision-making, and problem-solving abilities. However, one emotion often overlooked in the work setting is 'Interest.'

I will examine the critical role interest plays in cultivating an efficient information flow, bolstering quality, and encouraging innovation in the workspace. I'll draw upon various scientific studies, emphasizing how positive emotions enhance cognition, creativity, and memory performance, while negative emotions can have the opposite effect. The growing recognition of emotional impacts on performance by modern HR departments will also be discussed.

Furthermore, I'll focus on the unique benefits that interest brings to the table: the potential to elevate monotonous tasks, encourage creativity, improve problem-solving, and foster a learning environment. I will also show how companies can intentionally cultivate team culture and processes that spark interest, discussing the importance of exploratory freedom, problem-solving opportunities, and diverse teams.

By highlighting the underestimated power of interest, this talk aims to encourage leaders to foster an environment that inspires curiosity and promotes engagement, leading to a more satisfied, productive, and innovative workforce. It’s time we recognized that people are people, and that harnessing the power of human emotion can create a more effective and dynamic work environment.

session duration: 30-35 minutes
target audience: anyone

Dogfooding: Eating Our Own Cooking for Quality Assurance

This talk delves into the dogfooding practice, a term coined by technology companies that refers to organizations using their own products. It’s a strategy that has been employed by successful firms like Apple, Microsoft, and GitLab with the aim of improving the quality of their products.

We'll begin by looking at how problems are generally solved in a business setting, walking through the process of defining constraints, setting goals, and identifying the necessary transitions to reach those goals. This problem-solving approach forms the basis of why dogfooding works.

Then, we'll dive into the concept of dogfooding, understanding why it emerged and how it functions. We'll highlight real-world examples, like how Apple in the 1980s replaced office typewriters with their own computers, thereby forcing their employees to become the first users of their products.

Further, we'll discuss how dogfooding improves quality assurance by reducing information loss in defining constraints and solving problems, enhancing engineers' understanding of users' needs, and reducing work alienation. This practice also aids in identifying potential issues before they impact the larger community of users.

However, we will also acknowledge that dogfooding isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. In certain contexts and industries, implementing dogfooding can be impractical or even harmful. Therefore, a careful evaluation of its viability is essential for successful adoption.

Finally, we will explore how to introduce dogfooding into your organization, whether through an abrupt "revolution" approach like Apple's or a more gradual "evolution" strategy, which calls for fostering a receptive company culture, leading by example, and incorporating employee feedback throughout the process.

target audience: Engineering Managers, CTOs, engineers
preferred session duration: 35 minutes

Embracing Agile Principles in Hiring

Have you ever regretted a hiring decision that went awry, or found yourself overwhelmed by choosing the "right" candidate during endless interviews spanning across months? Are the traditional methods of recruitment leaving you and your team stuck in a cycle of inefficiency and dissatisfaction? Have you considered PDCA for the hiring process?

In this talk, I will share my experience of transforming the hiring process by following Agile principles. I will explore how embracing change and focusing on quality assurance from the sourcing stage can lead to more aligned, efficient, and effective hiring outcomes. Let's challenge the status quo together and discover how we can transform our hiring practices to better meet the demands of technology and talent evolution.

target audience: anyone interested or participating in hiring

From Finnish educational system to Mob Learning: how to set up proper knowledge sharing at workplace

This presentation explores the commonalities between the Finnish educational system and mob learning in the tech industry, framed through the perspectives of educators John Dewey, Jean Piaget, Célestin Freinet, Mikhail Shchetinin, and Maria Montessori. By bringing together these educational approaches with the Finnish approach and mob learning practices, the talk aims to showcase how progressive pedagogical principles can be effectively applied in modern technology education and knowledge sharing.

The essence of quality and quality assurance

This talk delves into the fundamental understanding of quality in the IT industry, dissecting its essence through the lens of ISO standards, quality assurance (QA), and quality control (QC). It navigates through the intricate relationship between quality, information systems, and effective information flow, while underscoring the pivotal role of each individual, especially developers, in fostering a culture of quality.

Introduction to Quality:
- Definition of quality based on ISO9000 and ISO25000.
- Exploring the concept of quality as the alignment between desired outcomes and actual deliverables.

Quality Assurance vs. Quality Control:
- Clear distinction between QA and QC.
- The maxim "you cannot inspect quality into the system" and its implications.
- The role of QA in minimizing waste and the indication of a need for QA when QC identifies numerous issues.

The Scope of Quality Assurance:
- QA as an inclusive practice that encompasses QC.
- QA's focus on systemic improvement to reduce waste and enhance efficiency.

Information Systems and Quality:
- The role of information systems in processing and managing data.
- The importance of quality in the context of information systems.

Necessity of Effective Information Flow for Quality:
- Principles for managing effective information flow.
- Strategies for minimizing communication barriers and enhancing client engagement.

Strategies for Effective Information Flow:
- Reduction of intermediaries in information exchange.
- Importance of short feedback loops and rapid delivery of valuable deliverables.
- Employee motivation and its impact on understanding client needs.
- Emphasizing human-centric approaches for both clients and employees.
- Continuous learning to foster knowledge sharing and reduce information loss.

Role of Developers in Quality Assurance:
- How developers can contribute beyond coding to QA.
- Activities like constant training, peer assistance, dogfooding, client interaction, pairing/mobbing, and organizing quality circles.
- The impact of these actions on product quality and personal fulfillment.

Conclusion:
The talk will conclude with an emphasis on the collective responsibility towards quality and how individual actions, especially in roles like software development, contribute significantly to the overall quality of the product and processes in an IT environment.

duration: 30 minutes

How would a QA engineer design an interview for a QA engineer

theory, alongside agile principles, to optimize the hiring process for QA engineers. The focus is on identifying the root cause of hiring needs, doing effective job analysis, and designing an interview process that truly reflects the requirements of the role. This process will remind QA engineers the design of a test strategy for a product.

Attendees will learn how to apply agile principles in recruitment, ensuring that the process is efficient, relevant, and adapted to changing technologies and market conditions.

Key Points:

- Understanding hiring needs: delve into why companies hire and how to discern if it's the optimal decision.

- Applying agile principles: explore how the agile manifesto's principles can be adapted for a more dynamic and human-centric hiring process.

- Designing the interview process: Practical guidance on creating a tailored interview process for QA engineers, clarifying the real job requirements through job analysis.

- Overcoming common pitfalls: Address the issues of irrelevant questions, excessive interview stages, and the inefficiency of certain recruitment practices.

- Adapting to change: Implementing continuous adaptation in recruitment processes to keep up with changes in tech, teams and market.

- Efficient onboarding: Strategies for not only interviewing but also successfully onboarding candidates.

Attendees will leave with practical insights on designing more effective and relevant QA engineer interviews. They will learn to avoid common mistakes, understand the unique needs of their teams, and implement strategies to ensure they hire candidates who truly fit the role and company culture.

Vitaly Sharovatov

developer advocate, consultant, mentor @ Qase.io

Paris, France

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