In my company we have multiple levels of line management within the QA team:
- Our Professional Services Director (who reports to the CEO), line manages, amongst others:
- 1 Senior QA, who manages:
- 2 Lead QAs, who each manage:
- 2-3 Mid-level QAs, one of whom (me) manages:
- 2 Apprentice QAs!
This is quite good in the sense that it’s not a diktat-from-up-high power structure, but it does mean that people have relatively little input/oversight (in either direction) once you get to more than 2 links away in the chain! To compensate for this, we have a monthly QA team meeting (with a proper agenda) that is normally attended by the Professional Services Director, CEO or another member of the senior management team.
Edited to add: Also, no one in this chain has any real impact on how we do our day-to-day testing, as we work in project teams (led by a PM and a Technical Team Lead) and typically there’s only one tester per team. The line management chain is mainly for HR-related admin, career advancement, feedback collation etc., and our monthly meetings are mostly knowledge-sharing and discussion of QA team initiatives like browser matrices or documentation.