In this article, I will share my experiences as Test Lead.
Lead can be name for Lead-QA, QA Lead, Lead-Testing, whatever.
Designation may be different, but I was leading a testing team.
Based on my experience of about 20 years, I am listing the tasks of the Lead QA Engineer.
The Lead does dual roles.
He/she is hands on and manager as well.
Hands on in the sense, he writes the test cases, runs them, report bugs, conducts defect triage etc.
These all tasks are done by individual contributor. Right?
Along with that, lead performance other tasks.
That is more than the individual contributors. That is leading the team. He/she is the face of the team for other stake holders of the product/project.
Now, let’s get in to details of these tasks.
Activities as Individual Contributor
A QA Lead’s main task is testing.
That is hands on. Usually the lead’s work distribution is roughly 70–30 % time.
That is 70% as individual tester and 30% as lead activities.
This can vary from project to project.
Well, now as manual tester, the lead does:
- Hands-on testing
- Writes test cases,
- Executes them.
- Writes automated scripts,
- Reviews test cases/ automated code
- Executes scripts
- Reports bugs
You might seem.
These are all done by each team member. Right?
Activities as Lead
Now, lets see what all the lead specific tasks.
I have also listed the responsibilities as a lead.
- Assigns tasks.
- Does effort estimation.
- Accountable for testing.
- Covers the testers by supporting them.
- Answerable for any slippages in estimation.
- Makes sure that tasks assigned are completed.
- Kind of sandwich — between Management and his team !
- Prepares different documents like Test strategy, Test Plan.
- Also prepares the test reports, status reports.
- Communicates with development, IT, Product, Customer support teams.
- Helps in hiring and building Team for own Team as well as others Team.
- Works on multiple Proof of Concept (POC) for clients as well as in company level.
- It can be for the testing tools/project or automation.
- Trains Juniors.
- Contribute in other projects wherever a SME is needed or just helping them in guiding/reviewing their Automation. So, it is additional consultation service for the lead.
- Support Team to deliver while others are on unplanned leave. That is the lead (he/she) jumps in performs the tasks, when there is a need.
- Look for ways to improve the testing process and create physiological safety for the team to do their best work.
- Release planning and estimation. Making the opinion count in release planning and estimation is the main skill and responsibility of a QA lead.
- Work with support team on production issues.
- Example could be reproducing the issues, identifying the root cause for slippage, etc.
- Designing/enhancing automation frameworks
In summary, QA Lead leads , guides & monitors the test analysis , design , implementation & execution, test procedures & test suites.
The lead is the face of the QA team. He has more responsibilities as listed above.
Usually junior testers would be making fun of lead that he/she is not doing anything. Just commanding !
Now you know..test lead carries much more responsibilities and performs tasks.
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P.S: If you need guidance on how to prepare for moving to Lead role, please let me know. Happy to help.
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