Hi I would like to contribute and also learn more about the Test Managment.
I’m a hands on QA Manager for several Mobile Apps and their Backend(s).
Guy is writing about his current situation and explains QA as a Service for a 70 people several project wide QA Department in the past.
I’m in a similar situation as fury right now
For your question fury. As Abigail start it’s a though one! If you are transfering the conversation somewhere else, please provide a link.
Before I start I can tell you it’s highly dependent on your company and how much allowance you have to change workflows etc. I have read many many many Posts where “everyone” is talking about QA doesn’t need an Department Director (some call it QA Manager), but from my position I think someone needs to have the hat on to decide standartization and setting up of guidlines. Although it should be always hands on working in the Testing Process of some sort aswell.
We are 2 “QA Managers” in Agile of each having a platform + our platform shares core functionalites of software from other internal teams. Before he joined I did all of the QA and we had a Monolithic Software which is now split up.
So we had the luck of starting with a very big information transfer from me to him as both platforms also are pretty similar.
Now after a while the both platforms are differing pretty much and we are also having issues getting to know the sides of the service software which is used by the other platform then ours.
We didn’t implement QA as a Service yet (will go into that below). So we yet have no other knowledge transfer then speaking with each other asking questions if we want/need to sync information, if something (all) isn’t stated in the documentation/feature-tickets/user stories.
Also we are holding once a Month a Meeting only QA, to sync what are our pressure points and how we handle things in general. If we find something one of the teams does better or worse we hold another meeting with the POs to sync that and fix the issue or make the other team happier/faster.
Although we are having a similar structure and are also sharing other service software we simply can’t help out each other on our own Platforms. Our week is far to packed to do something else. When one of is sick the devs in the team will cover the manual testing effort themself. That worked okish so far, of course leading to some missed also not documented but fixed defects but better then having the double workload on 1 person instead. Not that you get that wrong, the devs in my company are not Test Engineers they are fully Software Engineers doing Unit tests and final testing of their just developed code aswell simple code reviews of others. They only got some guidelines in case of QA is missing. (But i heared there is a magical unicorn (some Key Agile Methodoligy) where Testers and Devs (and DevOps) are developing and coding on the same level for the software and the Testing Process! - Yet saw no Job Offers only SDET but not allowed to code main software. ^^)
QA as a Service
In my prior company we defined QA a little different, due to the fact that the QA was more then 70 people. All Projects were synced in a 1 Week Scrum Sprint Meth. Some projects expanded that to a 2 or 4 Week synced intervall.
Each project had a Team of QA Engineers. A team got created when a project got it’s greenlight and was in an Early Access state. When a team got bigger then 4 people following structure was implemented:
QA Team Lead doing the company (mostly HR and organizational related tasks aswell performance overview and communication with the product team about the roadmap etc. Also the Team Lead created knowledge transfer between the other QA Teams and the QA Director to sync issues and standardization. Smaller QA Teams shared one Team Lead.
QA First which mostly was a Senior or the literally first QA assigned to the project at first, doing only some testing himself by now (in this structure) but creating overviews of all sorts of things (bug syncs, Test Sheets, Communication, Mentoring,… ) he knew the overall complexity of a project and history of the found bugs and implemented features and the most of the content of the next 2 sprints.
- 2-6 Intermediat or Junior QA Testers you would call it a regular QA Engineer. Going deep into the features, doing feature and regression testing and on some parts small automation parts for regresssion testing. They are the ones who worked closesed to the teams. Also 1 of the team was put into the project team to be at all meetings and syncs and were also the sync person from the other QA’s in his Team (they called it Agile QA). If they had questions or he needed answears that needed to be synced. That standin was rotating every sprint.
The QA Teams themself didn’t change very much. Maybe quarterly someone swapped teams because of knowledge transfer or interest. Or there was planned more workload which required more personall other teams got smaller and the team which needed help got bigger for a small time frame not even a fully week.
One more special point about QA as a Service.
We had the advantage that all projects worked pretty similar and had to use the same core mechanics. So we had a whole QA Automation Team which worked for all QA Teams.
- Good thing everyone got automated.
- Bad thing none had a full regression set in time and the QA Team always had to sycn with the Automation Team as they didn’t know the specialties about the Project they worked on.