A Personal Report – Being a Successful Test Manager – Challenges and Learning
Promotions are part of career growth and believe me, the consequent responsibilities teach us many things and help us grow further. From Junior to Senior and Senior to Manager, every level of that success ladder asks us to unlearn some things and learn new ones.
Getting to be a QA Test Manager is surely a matter of pride for anyone and I were not an exception. Today, I want to talk about how it happened, the challenges and my learning from that phase.
Being a QA test manager is similar to monitoring the factory floor from the first-floor gallery. The skill set and expectations are quite different from that of a senior tester or a test team lead.
Here is a gist of the important things I learned in this journey as a Quality Assurance Manager.
What You Will Learn:
Yes, being a manager, you are supposed to manage a group of people. These very people define your success as a manager.
In my beginning days as a test QA manager, I was assigned a project and needed to hire a resource for a requirement. I asked for someone with little experience because I thought, I will be able to monitor and mentor him/her in terms of inputs for the testing phase. Also, my assumption was that fresh minds have efficient test ideas. And I have to accept that, I was completely wrong on both points.
When did I realize that? Luckily for me, I could not find a newbie tester and was working with someone with 4 years of rich experience on an application similar to ours. Soon after the project work started, I was assigned two other small projects and I got busy with them.
I realized then that the experienced tester made my task a lot easier. He used to take up responsibilities and handle them on his own. He took care of tasks such as bug tracking, development team communication, configuration issues, by himself and kept me posted on the updates. That was really great.
Had it been someone new, it would have required a lot more of my time and attention at that point, which would have been impossible given my schedule.
Therefore, quality of team members matters immensely.
Being a perfectionist with an end user-centric testing approach has defined my unique style of working. Undoubtedly this made the clients very happy as I used to exceed expectations.
But being a quality assurance manager, I was supposed to meet expectations while actually not working but making it work and that is very difficult.
Sometimes, when team members came up with ideas, which I found were good but could be better, I had to stop myself. I had to convince myself that the target is quality work and how you get there doesn’t matter.
Also, I had to work on a weakness of mine, keeping critical tasks for myself. I used to assign less critical tasks to the team and reserve critical ones for me. But that was the wrong attitude as it reflects a lack of trust in my team. With time, I learned that to nurture and improve the team, I will have to trust them, know their weaknesses and strengths to assign tasks and be ready to mentor and support.
Managers handle multiple projects simultaneously; Managing teams, answering queries, and many more. You are expected to take on multiple responsibilities. To succeed, you must be a master at juggling.
Preparing a to-do list, prioritizing, organizing, dealing with interruption and trying to stick to schedule help achieve multiple tasks in parallel.
This is true for any managerial role. People management teaches you many things the hard way. But when taken positively, it’s beneficial for life in general.
Know that, you can handle some conflicts/issues and for some, you will simply have to say No. There are always reactions and responses to both cases.
Sometimes you succeed in convincing people and sometimes you don’t. Just accept it.
You cannot make everyone happy and sometimes you have to control the situation. Think about the bigger picture and use authority, if needed.
Positive attitude, long-term vision and keeping things transparent help.
Recommended read => How to build a successful QA team?
The attitude of working hard and performing better alone does not help when it comes to being a successful manager.
A manager has to work smart and should be a master at delegation, understanding of tasks & expectations, explaining issues & benefits and overlook the overall quality of work to be done.
About the author: This awesome post is written by STH team member Bhumika. She is a project manager, carrying 10+ years of software testing experience. She is totally into testing and loves to test everything exists.
Are you a senior QA or test lead and walking towards the position of QA test manager? What are your feelings? What challenges do you think you have to work on? We would like to hear from you.