STARWEST 2022 Leadership Summit Session: Let’s Retro and Roll - Has Test Leadership Progressed or Regressed?


Friday, October 7, 2022 - 8:45am to 9:45am

Let’s Retro and Roll - Has Test Leadership Progressed or Regressed?

This year, STARWEST celebrates thirty years of bringing the Quality and Testing community together to discuss, debate, and advance our craft. In three-plus decades there have been thousands of failures and successes focused on improving the efficiency, effectiveness, and quality of testing work. From waterfall, to agilefall, to agile, and beyond. From painstaking testing by hand to advanced automated testing. From little to no test engineering professionals to many and the rise (and fall) of Quality and Testing departments. Are we progressing or regressing in our Quality and Testing capabilities? Are we better or worse at leading testing journeys?

Join Mike Sowers for an industry retrospective on quality and testing through the lens of a practitioner and leader. As leaders, we must constantly reflect on things working well, what’s not going well and how we can improve. Mike reflects on questions such as whether the introduction of agile has helped or hindered us, have we, as software testing professionals, advanced our craft, is the art and science of software testing keeping up with the pace of change in technology, and whether we cultivate strong test leaders capable of leading change and advocating for our field. Benefit from the key learnings and forward-looking recommendations of a seasoned Quality and Testing Leader and leave with a few inspiring ideas for navigating your own Quality and Testing Leadership Journey.


Mike Sowers has over forty years of practical experience as a global leader of internationally distributed IT teams across multiple industries. Mike is a senior leader, skilled in working with both large and small organizations to improve their agile software development, testing, and DevOps delivery approaches. Mike is an industry leader regularly speaking and teaching at technology conferences to share his extensive knowledge with leaders at all levels.

Mike has worked with companies—including Fidelity Investments, PepsiCo, FedEx, Southwest Airlines, NorthWestern Mutual Financial, John Deere, Lockheed and the US Army — to improve development approaches, increase software quality, reduce time to market, and decrease costs. With his passion for helping teams deliver software faster, better, and cheaper, Mike has mentored and coached senior software leaders, project teams, and direct contributors worldwide.