Test Managers - Do we need them?

What are your thoughts on the role of the test manager? Do you think the role of test manager is needed?

Obviously, this will vary from company to company and from your own definition of what a test manager is/does but I’m interested to hear about your own context for this.

In your current setting, do you see the need for a test manager? How does this compare to settings you have had in the past?

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A good test manager would be an valuable asset.

From my experience I’ve noticed two trends:

  1. Formal test manger role does not exist in the company and test management is preformed generally by some senior tester on the team, as a small part of their regular activities.

  2. A test manager is just an administrative role where they just make sure that test statuses are updated and such, I’ve seen this in banks and in bigger enterprises where sometimes they may have a legal obligation to have such a role and it’s more of a formality than a real job, sadly.

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My previous employer decided a test manager was no longer needed, so I was made redundant :sweat_smile: . I don’t know how they managed since.
In my current job the test manager left the company about a year ago. Since then we’ve put more emphasis on the Community of Practice around testing. That has massively helped to fill the void.
Sometimes I still feel there would be a need for a dedicated manager (especially in cases where you need someone to slam a fist on the table at the right times), but am surprised how well we are doing without

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Test Managers have a title that contains a lot of different things. Two of which most companies I have worked at would benefit from. One is managing the testers, as in recruitment / personal development / competence development etc. This does not require a specific “Test Manager” but just any kind of people manager is fine. The other part is test strategy. The person that makes sure that you have a smart approach to how you do testing. My experience is that this is not addressed well in a committee like a community of practice. And while you want your testers to know, understand and adapt the strategy to suits their needs. I still think most companies will benefit from having someone driving this and having the main responsibility for your test strategic decisions.

Apart from that I am all for decentralizing and giving more of the ownership to the teams and team members. :slight_smile:

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I suppose for a big company it could be useful but for smaller companies nah, as @pmichielsen said it’s not really needed as the team should be “self-managing”

A Test Manager in a big company would be the person who all teams report too and he reports to whoever is higher up ^^

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I wrote this a while ago. I think the role needs to evolve but we can still be a valuable asset

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A test manager could be:

  • a line manager of the test team / testers
  • an active coordinating role for a project or delivery (mostly v-model)
  • a coaching and advising role to enable a team (see Team topologies for enablement roles)
  • A Community of practice lead

In my current setting I do 2+3. I have been doing 2 since 2008, but is now moving towards more 3.

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We don’t have a test manager in the purest sense at our company. My role is a dual role where I switch between being a QA manager and a senior QA engineer (like a 30/70 split).

I don’t think our company needs a test manager, given how teams work these days, the fact I’m doing some of the responsiblities as part of my role seems to be enough for now.

in the past I have worked with test managers but that tended to be in large, waterfall projects or in a SAFE project. From what I gather, their main responsibility was to go to meetings and be a go-between the test department and other leadership roles. Often the work allocation, reporting, coaching etc fell to the test leads on those projects.

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I wrote a blog post too Do test managers add value in agile settings? | by Melissa Fisher | Feb, 2021 | Medium

I’m kinda biased because I am one, but with a title of test team lead.

We have a larger set of teams, so in this setting it’s useful for someone to see the bigger picture and help drive quality improvements across the board.

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I support for “Test Manager” but Test Manager need to do justice with there role rather behave like manager.

  1. Need to monitor challenges and have to do regular retrospective with team to understand good work done by team , understand improvement areas and provide learning curve within team

  2. Is the gate keeper for lots of things
    a. Release health Go / No Go
    b. Interface b/w client and team
    c. make process and look the governance
    etc

  3. Help and guide team technically

  4. can collaborate with other leads , attend seminars , look for industry trends, look for available tools and can suggest within team so that team can take advantage