What Should Be Your Expectations From the QA Team Lead?

When a topic, especially a process based one (For example: Creating a traceability matrix or test documentation review, etc) is discussed in the class, the immediate question I get is: “Who does this? The QA lead or the team member”

This is great proof that beginners have a difficult time understanding the scope of work, roles and responsibilities. They only have a vague idea about this and are often looking for ways to validate if their understanding is accurate or not. And, if you are thinking this is only an issue for newcomers, you are wrong. Lots of managers/leads/coordinators also find the role definition/delegation of work to be an issue due to lack of clarity in this area- what to do yourself and what to delegate is often a dilemma for the QA leads.

Just like some of you might think, I was wondering too that, “What if they don’t know, to begin with? Won’t they figure out as they go?” Yes, they do. But lots of time, efficiency and quality are compromised in the process.

To avoid all that, we have outlined the major tasks that are part of STLC and the respective responsibilities in the form of the below table:

Team lead’s responsibilities for different QA activities:

STLC activityQA Team lead TasksTeam member tasks
Project Kickoff- StartCreate and present the project highlights to the QA team and other stakeholdersTo assist and let the team lead know of any improvements or inconsistencies
Test PlanningCreate, Maintain, manage and enforce Test plan



Risk analysis and management
To provide inputs on areas of the test plan document, such as:

Scope

Assumptions

Risks

Milestones

and any other area that the team member has an input on.
Requirement gatheringDivide work based on modules of the application and choose team members as point of contacts for each module



Decide on a time when this is to take place



Let the team be aware of what is expected as an outcome (e.g.: list of requirements in a condensed point by point manner, understanding document, etc.)
Be in charge for your individual module



Gather requirements through BRD/FRD review or walkthrough meetings



Present/document them in the format expected, within the time allocated for this activity



Provide suggestions or alternate point of view in case of incompatible formats or unachievable time lines
Test scenario creationWork allocation

Query resolution

Template finalizing

Setting deadlines

Participating and contributing to test scenario creation
Create Test scenarios for the module allocated to you, with in the set timeline and in the format already agreed upon.



Seek resolution either from the team lead or from the respective technical

teams in case of questions
Test case documentationWork allocation

Query resolution

Template finalizing

Write test cases
Create test cases and data, when applicable
Traceability Matrix creationCreate template and share the guidelines on how to create a TM



Work with the team and contribute to it
Contribute to the creation of the TM for the modules that you are individually responsible for
Test documentation review- internalSet rules on what basis the review is to happen



Set time lines and responsibilities



be one of the peers and involve in the review process
Perform review based on the rules set and provide non-personal comments on your peer's work
Test documentation review- externalNotify the BA and/or dev team that the test documentation(test cases) is ready for review and send the work productOn Standby to incorporate any changes suggested during the review process
Test readiness reviewCreate the review checklist



Perform the review and present results to the Project manager



Basic Sanity and smoke test and determine- are we ready we test?



Give a go ahead to the QA team for testing
Wait for instructions on readiness



Perform basic smoke and sanity test for the modules that you are individually responsible for
Test executionSet test execution guidelines after seeking the team’s inputs



Work on test execution



Help new testers with catching on with the current application



Report defects



Review the defects reported by the team members to make sure that they are valid, not duplicates and complete in the description



Escalate any showstoppers and make decisions on how to proceed in such situations
Execute test cases, set appropriate test case statuses and report progress



Notify immediately of showstoppers or issues impacting testing timelines



Report defects comprehensively
ReportingSend daily status reports to all stake holders



Represent the QA team in any status meetings



Collect metrics based on overall testing statistics
Assist the team lead in all the tasks being performed
Test closureEvaluate the exit criteria for when to stop testing



Share the results of the exit criteria evaluation



If the exit criteria is all satisfied, make the test closure report and send it to the stake holders providing the official QA sign off, include a list of known issues



Collect details about the overall project- its successes, areas of improvement, lessons learnt, best practices implemented, etc and present them in the project retrospection meeting or document.
Assist the team lead in the test closure tasks
UATGather the acceptance criteria from the UAT users to understand the parameters for their evaluation



Share the acceptance criteria with the team and work with them on collecting or creating UAT test cases



If necessary, train the UAT users on the application



If necessary, be on standby for any assistance during UAT



If necessary, perform some tasks during UAT and present the results to the client or UAT users for their go/no-go decision
Create/gather UAT test cases





Perform or assist in UAT – when need be

For all the processes mentioned in the above table, follow the below links for more information:



A few tips for QA team members:

1) Do NOT create your Test cases, defect reports etc. with the expectation that if there are any problems with it, the team lead will find and fix them for you. Each individual is responsible for their work product and its quality. A team lead’s review is customary as an additional checkpoint and most often high level in nature.

2) Expect little to no hand-holding on a daily basis. No team lead should tell us what to do, every single day.

3) Communicate ahead in case of any concerns, red-flags or issues.

4) Unless your process restricts you from doing so, if you have any questions regarding the functionality or technicalities, please get in touch with the developers/BAs/other technical teams by yourself, without relying on your team lead to relay the information for you.

Tips for QA team leads:

1) Consider team’s opinion on timelines, schedules, effort estimations and planning

2) Establish strong processes so the team can work independently with minimum or no supervision

3) Keep the communication channels open and be approachable

4) Be a team player and share responsibilities

Also read => How to build a successful QA team? Leadership in Testing Part 1 and Part 2 here.

About the author: This article is written by STH team member Swati S.

That is a quick wrap up on team lead and team member tasks and duties in a typical QA team. As always, please share your experiences, comments and questions below.