Whilst there is no need for what we would see as an old school test manager, being one that manages test resources and allocates testers to projects, there is still a need for a test manager/test lead, and I'll explain my thinking here.
In the past my role has been around fighting fires and helping teams out when testing resource is needed, which don't get me wrong I have enjoyed as it's meant getting my hands dirty and improving things from the ground level.
However, I wanted my role to be clearly defined as we have gone through structural changes since it was last defined, and some of the responsibilities aren't necessarily valid still.
- Drive testing within teams
Directly or by working closely with Testers in the team
Define how Seniors and Mid Level Engineers work together in a team
- Create a Testing Community
Help develop and mentor testers
- Recruit good testers
- Put on classes/programs for people to learn and develop
- Forecast Test Resources
- Oversee any cross cutting concerns of projects across the organisation
- Improve the perception of testing
The first thing that I wanted to work on was working closely with the teams that I look after, work with the testers within the team so I can help see what the weaknesses/strengths are and help them develop accordingly. It is also important to define how seniors and mid level engineers worked within teams to ensure that testers across teams were working at comparable levels. I also want to be able to mentor people and help testers grow and be there in case they need help/advice in any testing conundrums that they may come across.
Next I'm really eager to get a sense of community going, I've had few meetings with people who are also interested to define what we see a community as, what they want from a community, so it looks like things are going to start picking up hopefully on that front. I read an interesting blog here that defines what a community is and how it should work and I agree wholeheartedly with that approach. The next step is obviously implementing it... More updates will obviously occur on this front.
Another important factor of my role and in all honesty is probably one of the most challenging and time consuming aspects is recruiting good testers for the teams, but it's something that I want to look after and help achieve as this will ultimately make my job easier and help me achieve another goal in improving the perception of testing in the company.
I want to also work with the testers that we have and provide classes and help people put on classes to improve their skill-set to help them become better testers, as it's all very well recruiting good testers, but it's important to ensure that current testers who we have aren't left behind. This is something that unfortunately I've not had time to do yet, but it is something that I plan on doing going forward.
Also, whilst I don't manage resources I do have a say on estimating what resources will be needed for up coming projects, which I enjoy looking at and learning about new technologies etc.
Finally, I think it's important to have a view of multiple projects that are going on to see any cross cutting concerns and ensure that testing covers all aspects of any integration that may occur.
This is a high level overview of what I think a test lead/manager role should be in an agile organisation, sure it will vary from place to place, but