TechWell’s Executive VP Mike Sowers has more than twenty-five years of practical experience as a global quality and test leader of internationally distributed test teams across multiple industries. Mike is a Training Line of Business Leader and a Senior Consultant, skilled in working with both large and small organizations to improve their software development, testing, and delivery approaches. He has worked with companies—including Fidelity Investments, PepsiCo, FedEx, Southwest Airlines, Wells Fargo, ADP, and Lockheed—to improve 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, small teams, and direct contributors worldwide.
For agile and DevOps, an understanding of the role of data analysis in the test strategy is helping teams accelerate development, testing, and deployments. As we continue to enhance our testing effectiveness, data analytics skills are an important dimension in managing risks in a “continuous everything” world.
Many organizations are constantly adopting or integrating new technology, with the goal of remaining competitive. But there are so many new platforms and methods being created that it’s impossible to keep up with them all. Michael Sowers shares some tips that have helped him stay current with changing technology.
Fungibility means the ability to change without needing an external catalyst. In our agile culture, fungibility is a critical characteristic. The triad of people, processes, and technology ideally should all be fungible. Just like perfection, this may never be attainable, but it’s an important goal.
In the competitive environment of delivering software more quickly, many teams have abandoned detailed test plans. Michael Sowers argues for bringing back the overarching master test plan—not to have more documentation, but for the questions, creative test designs, and critical thinking the planning brings.
As we embrace an agile culture, we adopt the core value of whole team accountability. But while collaboration is important, testers must continue to ask challenging questions, think deeply about the “what-ifs,” consider and advocate for alternative views, challenge assumptions, and look for ambiguities.
Just as our measurement and metrics capabilities improve as our technology and knowledge evolve, we must also refine and adapt our software quality and testing measures as we embrace an agile culture. Our measurement and metrics strategy should shift to lower levels of the application or system under test.
Is your team struggling to transform your traditional testing methods, techniques, and tools in the context of an agile culture? The accountability for the right level of quality delivered at the right time belongs to the collective team. It's important to make decisions together about what value means.