Roles Responsibilities of Test Manager/ Test Lead in Software Testing
Software testers run a variety of tests on a product before releasing it to the public to ensure the highest quality. If all of these tests and outcomes are not handled properly, the final product may not come out as planned.
Here comes the test management practice. Test management entails managing and controlling various testing processes to maximize their efficiency. Successful test management confirms high-quality products and to facilitate optimum test management we need a test Manager.
Test manager is the person who’s in charge of planning and execution of the entire testing process. Competent test managers possess a strong understanding of testing as well as business efficiency to ensure that the finished product is well received by clients.
But their responsibilities don’t end there. They have to take on a variety of activities in order to meet the needs of the organization and the product.
So, let’s have a look at the various roles & responsibilities of a test manager.
Role of Test Manager
The principal role of the test manager is to lead and guide the testing team efficiently. He may have to lead several testing groups, each led by a separate test leader. Many firms do not hire a separate test manager if there are only one or two testing groups. In such instances, one test leader assumes the job of test manager.
The test manager is in charge of overseeing the testing team as well as collaborating with other team members such as developers, business analysts, and system admins.
He also plays a crucial role in developing the test plan, overseeing its execution, and delivering the product. Furthermore, the test manager is essential in test optimization and improvement.
To perform this role efficiently, test manager must be well-versed in testing methods while also completing the traditional management tasks.
Overall, they serve as a liaison between project managers, developers, testers, and, finally, customers, resulting in a test architecture that facilitates an effective and cost-effective test framework.
Responsibilities of Test Manager
The Test Manager is in charge of the overall success of the testing endeavor. Their tasks include resource planning, test planning, test execution monitoring, and resolving issues that hamper test effort. Some of the primary roles of test managers include but are not limited to:
- First the test manager has to understand clients requirements and decide on which tests would be needed to validate them.
- The main responsibility of a test manager is planning, coordinating, and controlling software tests. To do so, they must first plan and choose a test strategy that is most suitable for the current project.
- Test manager also has to build the appropriate testing team including adequately skilled people.
- They have to define suitable test types and choose test tools for each project. While doing so, they must consider the skill level of the testers as well as the finance of the project.
- Then, he needs to estimate required time, resources, staff training, and budget for completing the tests and submit them to the project management team.
- Test manager has to ensure an appropriate test environment setup so that testers can start their work by providing required hardware & software tools.
- The entire test plan has to be divided and assigned to each team member by the test manager for effective completion.
- Once the test results start coming through, managers have to assess progress and decide if the tests employed are effective enough in detecting bugs or if new tests need to be executed.
- Test managers also work to manage & control the individual testers and combine their work outcomes.
- Documentation of different test results and preparing test deliverables is also a responsibility the test manager has to complete.
- Clients can give additional requirements in the midst of the project. So, test manager has to keep constant communication with the client and keep track of new requirements too. Because new requirements will need to be tested for bugs too.
- He has to identify what are the end goals for a product and monitor test results to ensure that goal and quality are being ensured.
- The deadlines, funding, and staff costs are all planned by the test manager. As the testing progresses, he must constantly adapt the test strategy.
- Test manager has to schedule regular status meetings and get feedback from testers as well as send the status reports to clients.
- It is ultimately the test manager’s responsibility to ensure the product delivered to the customer is of optimum quality. All the hard work of developers and testers depends on the management quality of the test manager. Because he gets the final call as to when the product is ready to be released.
- He has to introduce suitable metrics for evaluating test progress and assessing product quality.
- Executing tests requires a huge effort on the testers’ parts and often requires automation tools. The test manager has to negotiate with project managers to ensure testers get enough time and the help of automation tools for effective test completion.
- Test automation tools are expensive and hence they are to be employed only when necessary. The test manager decided when and how to properly manage the test resources both human and tools.
- They communicate with project managers, developers, stakeholders, and other team members to coordinate the test plan. They have to confirm that the entire software team is on the same page.
- At the end of each project, he has to prepare detailed test reports for the test engineer and project team to ensure the quality of the product.
Test manager has to perform a variety of responsibilities to ensure successful product deployment. To help him keep everything on track, test management tools can be utilized.
Must-Have Skills of Test Manager
Communication & negotiation are two of the most critical abilities for a test manager. This is due to the fact that they not only coordinate the testing teams but also communicate with many stakeholders and developers. So, test manager needs to be capable of communicating the demands of stakeholders to testers along with conveying testers’ needs to project managers.
Furthermore, unanticipated modifications may occur as the testing progresses. As a result, test managers must be adaptable to changing requirements. They are also distinguished by strong analytical & conceptual abilities, organizational strength, and remarkable leadership abilities.
Other must-have skills a test manager should possess are:
- Sound knowledge of various testing types & automation tools
- Track, report, and produce clear & concise status reports
- Previous experience in project & test management
- Familiarity with test management tools
- Acquainted with different operating systems
- Knowledge of business analytics and marketing
- Understanding of programming languages the specific company uses
Challenges Test Manager Faces
A test manager is responsible for ensuring test progress, sufficiency, effectiveness, and final product quality. Ensuring all of these is not an easy task. Test manager is but one man. As a result, he faces a number of challenges in his quest to bring a successful product to market.
Some of the common challenges test managers face are:
Lack of Communication Between Distributed Testing Teams
Test managers strive to guarantee that testing teams and project teams collaborate well. However, if the testing team is distributed, it becomes challenging to establish effective communication between the two teams.
This communication gap may result in test results failing to match project goals.
Lack of Skill in Software Quality Testers
If the testing team doesn’t possess the necessary skills, no matter how much the test manager tries, he won’t be able to meet the project goals.
This is one of the most challenging aspects of managing testing projects. If developers take longer than pre-planned time, testers may be forced to finish within unrealistically short deadlines. Moreover, last-minute testing can increase the risk of manufacturing problems and dissatisfied customers.
Frequently Changing or Unclear Requirements
If the client requirements are too vague or they keep changing the requirements frequently, the testing team may not be able to ensure the utmost quality. Because planning test cases for every minor code modification can become impossible in the long run.
In such cases, the test manager has to negotiate with clients to make the requirements clear as well as calm the testers going haywire with frequent changes.
To overcome these challenges, test managers can consider holding frequent meetings, pre-defining testers skill sets, and facilitating ongoing learning. They should also consider including impact analysis, requirements prioritization, and efficient assessment metrics.
Successful managers help steer their test teams to best testing practices, help them to constantly learn & grow, and effectively resolve disagreements to find common ground and maintain a healthy workplace.
Their responsibilities are more diverse than those of individual developers, testers, and stakeholders. Without an efficient test manager, the entire testing and deployment phases may collapse. So, to achieve successful software products in any kind of company, employing a well-equipped test manager is of utmost importance.