Test Lead Functions

As a Test Lead in a start-up company, I’m looking for some advice on how to communicate and manage a team in an agile environment as well as best practice software processes. Thank you!



@clarenceco: Being a test lead at a startup is a very hard job. The product keeps changing so rapidly that by the time you are done writing a functional test it becomes obsolete. If this sounds like your situation, I would recommend 2 things:

  1. Do not become the test writer for the dev team. Set a culture of having developers write tests. Exercise your role as a Test Lead - measure the quality of the tests everyone writes and give them feedback on how to write better tests.
  2. Invest in a good CI solution and automate all repetitive work. Try to minimize manual testing efforts. This may not be possible for new features but regression testing of existing features should be fully automated.
    These are the top 2 things I remember being most valuable in terms of process learnings in all my engagements with high velocity startups.

Regarding communication and management, I will let others chime in. Happy to share thoughts around any specific concerns you may have.


@khanduri Thank you for your feedback, it helps me immensely!

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Yeah, don’t get hands dirty on anything throwaway. Advise on test tooling/tool choices and focus on any automation that helps teams to get their code integrated robustly.

I am in a company with 4 teams, each have a tester, and every member writes tests, but nobody is the real lead, and I’m most experienced and so people expect me to pull it together since our lead who was the UX tester left. But I’m new and don’t yet know the entire product suite.

So this week, I am going to try and set up a “community of test” with regular show&tell meetings. I’m glad you are happy to put the lead tester boots on, but I’m much more a hands-dirty kind of person, best wishes.

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Only you can understand the context you’re in. Make use of it.

Testing is about evaluating a product, in order to find threats to the quality of the product.
You just happen to lead the efforts - yours and of the other’s.

I would start learning about the context and ask lots of questions:

  • What managers do you respond to, who gives you your pay?
  • Who do you report to? What information do they generally require, how often?
  • How does the testing resources look like for the next months? not for infrastructure of unit tests - those will come from the dev/it budgets.
  • How much of a product is it to test? What are the goals of the product for the next months?
  • Have you met the developers? get friendly with them! you’ll have to work closely with them and be on the same page.
  • How well do you know the business domain? how about the technical stuff? In a startup things generally happen faster so you might want to catch up on that asap.
  • Get to know the stakeholders; get into meetings where they are if you don’t have access to them directly, listen to them, listen to their demands and questions. You’ll make great use of it when testing the actual product which has to meet their vision/desires.
  • Do you have some testing background? Or do you have to learn it as well? This can pose a great challenge…getting good at testing is hard;
  • There’s no best software practices. Only good ones in the context. You and your agile team have to figure out what works for you.

I also like the advices from: https://context-driven-testing.com/