QA/Test Lead Responsibilities

What would you say in your experience are the responsibilities of a QA/Test Lead?

Of course, this can vary from company to company but have you seen any common responsibilities? Or ones that weren’t common but that you think should be?

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currently I’m experimenting with a new title of Test Advisor – with these tasks:

is that similar to QA/test lead - or is that more a principal tester?

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Interesting @jesper ! Keep it up :slight_smile:

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Greetings!

As a Test Lead, I was assigned to a project for the project’s duration. I was responsible for the Test Strategy (completed before work started, included manual and automated test approaches), work assignments to Testers on the project team, and tester’s work product review.
During any one week during project execution, there were meetings with the Project Manager (Dev Lead, Test Lead, business representation), meetings with Tester’s managers (periodic feedback on Tester’s work and suggestions for opportunities), and reporting.
As a Test Lead, I was in a position to advocate for testability, help support career goals of Tester’s, and help give testing a voice throughout product development.

I think this is similar to @jesper 's first two bullets.

Joe

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A colleague of mine had a good talk on the topic where he discussed the four different places where he had the “Test lead” title and discussed the difference between them.

It ranged from “Test Project Manager” to I’m the only tester in the team so I do the testing.

My first question that pops into my head when someone says they are a test lead are: Do you lead the testing or the testers?

As to the responsibilities to me the exists roughly in 3 different categories.

  1. Tasks related to people and project. Like make sure that there exists the right people with the right knowledge at the right time to perform the testing. Dispatching work etc. (Tactical work)
  2. Tasks related to the test execution. Like environment, version of the system under test, analyzing changes and figuring out the desired tests, performing the tests and reporting the findings etc. (Tactical work)
  3. Defining and implementing strategy for 1 and 2. (Strategic work)

When I have had the title most of it have been related to 1 and then the testers have done 2 and a third party have typically done 3. When I did 3 I had the title of Test Coordinator or Test Analyst.

With the cross-functional teams and embedded testers roles like what Jesper talks about have started to pop up. Like Test Coach, Quality Coach, Test Advisor. Which seems to dabble in both the strategic and tactical side, but as a teaching / coaching function rather than executing function. To me this is a good thing. Because what was lost in the autonomous teams world was the strategic part. But since you still want the team to take responsibility and be accountable. You don’t want the original test manager / test lead. Which by nature took a large part of the responsibility too. Instead you have the advisor that help the team with complex strategic and tactical questions, while letting them be responsible for their own work.

Finally to actually answer the question. To me the common responsibilities of a Test Lead is to be responsible for the tactical part of the testing, i.e. dispatching work, planning in time, ensure capacity as well as being the single point of contact or " single wringable neck" as it turns out to be more often than not :slight_smile:

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turns out there’s a book about it :slight_smile:
(not testing roles as such, but I can see the similarities)

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At Metaswitch, I’m a Lead Test Engineer - this means I am responsible for both developing test strategy, but also executing on it. I don’t currently have any line management responsibilities, but I am expected to support, coach and mentor other testers. I am also extremely active within the test community in the business, being part of the test leadership group, testing guild, and organising internal events such as our Guild of testing conference.

As we transition to Microsoft, I expect this role to continue and evolve in new and different ways. It should be exciting and challenging.

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