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Testing & Quality Leadership Summit

Leadership in the Face of Change

Thursday, October 3 (evening) and Friday, October 4 (all day)


Testing & Quality Leadership Summit

Jeff Payne

Coveros, Inc.
Summit Chair


The business world is changing faster than ever. Dynamic global markets are forcing organizations to adjust to meet ever-changing customer demands. Advances in technology are providing both opportunities and challenges for our software product lines. Join the conversation with your peers as experienced business executives share ways to manage quality in the face of change. Discover how seasoned leaders deal with change and learn tactics for delivering high quality software in the face of it.

At the 2013 Testing & Quality Leadership Summit, program chair Jeff Payne brings together senior industry leaders—Pollyanna Pixton, Accelinova; Alan Page, Microsoft; Rob Sabourin,; and Jonathan Bach, eBay—for an interactive exchange of ideas and experiences.

Bring your biggest issues and most difficult challenges to the Testing & Quality Leadership Summit where you can draw on the knowledge and experiences of these industry leaders and your fellow managers who may already have faced and solved some of your issues. You’ll hear what’s working—and not working—and have the opportunity to share your experiences and successes. The Testing & Quality Leadership Summit is a perfect opportunity for you to:

  • Participate in insightful and informative sessions focusing on leadership issues
  • Meet and network with your peers in the industry
  • Join in the “think tank” discussion with industry veterans
  • Develop new ideas and action plans for innovation within your organization

5:30 PM Reception—Think Tank Issues Identification: As a Leader, What Is Keeping You Up at Night?

Jeff Payne, Coveros, Inc.

8:00 AM • Registration and Breakfast

8:30 AM • What Makes a Great Test Leader?
                Pollyanna Pixton, Accelinova


Are there differences between a great leader and a great test leader? Development can be narrowly focused but test is always much broader. Test leaders deal daily with difficult questions—Does the team understand the customer’s needs, the product’s value to the customer, and the risk tolerance of the business? How much testing is needed to make sure the customer is happy? How much testing is necessary to limit business risk to an acceptable level? Pollyanna Pixton describes how leaders can create a secure environment to challenge and communicate issues openly, connect testers with customer needs from a system’s viewpoint, and balance the risks, costs, and rewards. Collaboration with development is essential but not always easy. Pollyanna shares ideas for collaborating to innovate and streamline the development–test processes without taking ownership away from either team, while building respect for each in the process.

An international leadership expert, Pollyanna Pixton developed the models for collaboration and collaborative leadership through her thirty-eight years of working inside and consulting with many organizations. She helps companies create workplaces where talent and innovation are unleashed—making them more productive, efficient, and profitable. Pollyanna is a founding partner of Accelinnova, president of Evolutionary Systems, and director of the Institute for Collaborative Leadership.

9:30 AM  Networking Break

9:45 AM • Tester Leader Rumble—A Panel Discussion/Debate
                Alan Page, Microsoft; Jon Bach, eBay, Inc.; and Rob Sabourin


Every leader attacks a problem in a different way. Join three distinguished test leaders as they discuss and debate how to tackle today’s stickiest test leadership issues:

  • Motivating testers
  • Getting what you need from upper level management
  • Dealing effectively with the software development organization
  • Addressing morale and performance issues
  • and more!

Learn how these problems can be attacked in different ways. Take home pragmatic, proven techniques for addressing test leadership challenges.


Alan Page is a principal SDET—a fancy name for tester—on the Xbox console team at Microsoft. Edging up on twenty years in software testing, Alan has previously worked on a variety of Microsoft products including Windows, Windows CE, Internet Explorer, and Office Lync. He spent some time as Microsoft’s director of test excellence where he developed and ran technical training programs for testers throughout the company. Alan was the lead author of How We Test Software at Microsoft and contributed chapters on large-scale test automation to Beautiful Testing and Experiences of Test Automation: Case Studies of Software Test Automation. You can follow Alan on his blog or on Twitter @alanpage.

With more than eighteen years of experience in software testing, Jon Bach has held technical and managerial positions in companies including Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft. In his current role as director of Live Site Quality for eBay, Jon is dedicated to building “end-to-end” tests (activity flows) in eBay’s core sites to discover important bugs that threaten its core business. He is most notable for creating, with his brother James, Session-Based Test Management, a method to manage and report exploratory testing. Jon frequently speaks at the STAR conferences and usually can be found wearing a ball cap, hanging out in the conference hallways, encouraging others, and sharing best testing ideas and patterns.
Rob Sabourin, P. Eng., has more than thirty years of management experience leading teams of software development professionals. A well-respected member of the software engineering community, Rob has managed, trained, mentored, and coached hundreds of top professionals in the field. He frequently speaks at conferences and writes on software engineering, SQA, testing, management, and internationalization. Rob wrote I am a Bug!, the popular software testing children's book; works as an adjunct professor of software engineering at McGill University; and serves as the principle consultant (and president/janitor) of AmiBug.Com, Inc. Contact Rob at [email protected].

10:45 AM  Networking Break

11:00 AM  Think Tank Discussion: Leadership Solution Brainstorm (Part 1)
                   Jeff Payne, Coveros, Inc.


Join with your peers in an engaging and highly interactive session to discuss the issues that affect you most. Using answers to the question—As a leader, what is keeping you up at night?—posed at Thursday’s evening reception, participants will form small groups to work on finding solutions to pressing test management issues. Discussions will review identified issues, barriers to change, and focus on innovative strategies and practical next steps.


Jeff Payne is CEO and founder of Coveros, Inc., a software company that builds secure software applications using agile methods. Since its inception in 2008, Coveros has become a market leader in secure agile principles while being recognized by Inc. magazine as one of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Prior to founding Coveros, Jeff was chairman of the board, CEO, and cofounder of Cigital, Inc., a market leader in software security consulting. Jeff has published more than thirty papers on software development and testing, and testified before Congress on issues of national importance, including intellectual property rights, cyber terrorism, and software quality.

12:30 PM • Networking Lunch Buffet 

1:30 PM • Think Tank Discussion: Presentation of Results (Part 2)
                  Jeff Payne, Coveros, Inc.
Summit Session


In the morning think tank discussion you discovered solutions to some of your most challenging issues. Now each group will present their findings, share their solutions, and learn from each other. At the end of the think tank, all feedback will be collected and posted online to encourage further collaboration.


2:30 PM  Wrap-up and Ongoing Informal Discussion with Speakers and Attendees