Who is a QA Leader?
QA Leader is the most important member of the testing team. While it is extremely crucial for him/her to have a clear understanding of the testing process or methodology. It is also essential for him/her to be familiar with the varied test-program concerns such as test environment and data management, trouble reporting and resolution, etc.
What is a Test Team?
A Test team can comprise of individuals having varying skill levels, experience levels, expertise levels, different attitudes, and different expectations/interests levels. The attributes of all these different resources’ need to be tapped rightly, in order to maximize quality.
They need to work cohesively together, follow the test processes and deliver the committed piece of work within the scheduled time. This obviously necessitates the need for test management, which is most often performed by an individual with the role of being a test lead.
Typical tester tasks may include
- Review and contribute to test plans
- Analyze, review and assess user requirements, specifications and models for testability
- Create test specifications
- Set up the test environment (often coordinating with system administration and network management)
- Prepare and acquire test data
- Implement tests on all test levels, execute and log the tests, evaluate the results and document the deviations from expected results
- Use test administration or management tools and test monitoring tools as required
- Automate tests (may be supported by a developer or a test automation expert)
- Measure performance of components and systems (if applicable)
- Review tests developed by others
Test Leader Skills and Qualifications
QA leads should be detail oriented and organized, able to track multiple aspects of a project simultaneously. The amount of education a QA lead needs depends greatly on the industry; some roles require a bachelor’s degree while others require certain certifications.
However, in most cases, QA leads should have at least one year’s worth of management experience and three years quality assurance experience. Employers also like to see candidates with the following skills:
- Quality assurance experience – QA leads organize all aspects of the quality assurance process, and therefore, need to be familiar with that process. This knowledge comes from previous experience in a QA role
- Industry-specific skills/certifications – QA leads should have knowledge specific to the industry in which they are working. For example, software QA leads should be familiar with coding languages. Some industries, such as the food and health industries, also require industry-specific certifications
- Test plan development – the testing plan is one of the most important parts of quality assurance. QA leads should be familiar with creating and deploying quality assurance test plans
- Time and project management – since QA leads have to juggle multiple aspects of a product’s life cycle, they should be excellent at time and project management so they don’t delay the project
- Interpersonal skills – QA leads need to constantly communicate with upper management and other teams on the project. As such, they should be good at interpersonal verbal, oral, and written communication
Responsibilities of Test Leader
- Understand the testing effort by analyzing the requirements of project.
- Estimate and obtain management support for the time, resources and budget required to perform the testing.
- Organize the testing kick-off meeting
- Define the Strategy
- Build a testing team of professionals with appropriate skills, attitudes and motivation.
- Identify Training requirements and forward it to the Project Manager (Technical and Soft skills).
- Develop the test plan for the tasks, dependencies and participants required to mitigate the risks to system quality and obtain stakeholder support for this plan.
- Arrange the Hardware and software requirement for the Test Setup.
- Assign task to all Testing Team members and ensure that all of them have sufficient work in the project.
- Ensure content and structure of all Testing documents / artifacts is documented and maintained.
- Document, implement, monitor, and enforce all processes for testing as per standards defined by the organization.
- Check / Review the Test Cases documents.
- Keep track of the new requirements / change in requirements of the Project.
- Escalate the issues about project requirements (Software, Hardware, Resources) to Project Manager / Sr. Test Manager.
- Organize the status meetings and send the Status Report (Daily, Weekly etc.) to the Client
- Attend the regular client call and discuss the weekly status with the client.
- Communication with the Client (If required).
- Act as the single point of contact between Development and Testers.
- Track and prepare the report of testing activities like test testing results, test case coverage, required resources, defects discovered and their status, performance baselines etc.
- Review various reports prepared by Test engineers.
- Ensure the timely delivery of different testing milestones.
- Prepares / updates the metrics dashboard at the end of a phase or at the completion of project.
A Quality Head has numerous responsibilities as he has to make sure that there is no gap between quality release and quality perceived by the end-user. Since in today’s world quality is a sole factor that distinguishes competitive products, the test lead has a key role to play.
He has to continuously improve himself/herself and his/her team to match the new technology, testing techniques, and methodologies of the market.
A good Quality team can only ensure that once a product is released it meets and matches all the quality criteria’s and to build and motivate this kind of team is the core subject of the QA leader.