Roles and responsibilities of a senior tester

So, there was a conversation at work between the senior testers of my dept about the role and responsibilities of senior testers. The discussion mostly ended up focused around what accountability and responsibility means.

My thoughts are that different testers will have different skills, like, I’m never gonna be an automation tester, that’s not my skill set. Figuring out processes and communication? That’s where I shine.

I’m wondering if other people have had similar dicussions and have thoughts or activities they’ve done to define what a role entails accross a dept and different teams?


Hi Gem,

Keep shining in processes and communication :slight_smile: - that is often the glue that ties everything together.

Perhaps you can find inspiration in the model I outlined wrt. topics of coding, business know-how and exploration here: Explore, Code and Business | Complexity is a Matter of Perspective or perhaps the agile quadrants could apply here too. Especially if you already use it :wink:

For span-of control for senior and principal staff I’m currently exploring based on Pioneers, Settlers, Town Planners [Wardley] | by Itamar Goldminz | Org Hacking | Medium , the Team Topologies book and the Staff engineer book

there might be something in these threads too: QA levels and responsibilities of each and What is a Principal Tester? with Jitesh Gosai

cheers, Jesper


Thanks so much Jesper, this is totally what I was after. I’ll dig into all these links!

I actually work with Jit and have a call booked in with him soon where I’ll be chatting about this :smiley:


I rewrote the 3 levels below mine a few years back. The main things I wanted from a Senior Tester are:

  1. Recognise and act on the likelihood that there’s more testing that needs doing, than you can do yourself. Embrace this and look for ways to help others (mostly devs) take on some of the less complicated/risky testing activities, accelerating the team in some cases (because you got out of the way) and allowing you to focus your testing in the areas that need you.
  2. Don’t just do this in your team, share your knowledge and experience by increasing the reach of your network and therefore your influence. That can be through coaching/mentoring other devs/testers in your area or beyond (if the org size is big enough)
  3. Begin to own the direction of travel for the team you work with directly and your wider area (if the org size is big enough). Begin to think to yourself “If I was responsible, what would I want things to look like…?”. Explore this and find ways to make it happen, focussing on your strengths as a tester (experimentation, exploration and evidence) to demonstrate why your changes will have a wide, positive impact. This includes being active in the hiring of new people, having your view influence who joins and therefore help setting the underlying culture of the team.