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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Properties of a test / QA / QE Manager

Testing is a vital and critical part of the overall software development process, and is very important that the overall testing environment have the right mix of aggression and thoroughness. A large amount of this attitude comes from the person who leads the testing team. So, what makes a good QA or Test manager?
There are many attributes that a good test, or QA manager should have. Here are some of them:
• The test manager should be very familiar with the software development process. This is the only way that the rest of the testing team can develop the feel for when they should be doing what activity.
• The test manager has be able to ensure that the overall enthusiasm of the team remains high, and promote a positive atmosphere, despite what is a somewhat 'negative' process (e.g., looking for or preventing problems). People should be made to feel that they have an important role in ensuring that customers get a software that works well.
• The test manager should be able to promote teamwork to increase productivity. Teamwork between the members of the testing team is critical, given that each of them may handle a separate area, and may have several elements of intersection. In addition, each person can have a different field of specialization, and together they can cover a large area.
• The test manager should be able to promote cooperation between software, test, and QA engineers. This is not so easy sometimes, but is very critical. It is a close interaction between dev and QE that results in a deeper understanding of where software can go wrong.
• The test manager have the diplomatic skills needed to promote improvements in QA processes. Sometimes software and hardware can be expensive, and management may not really understand or appreciate the need for such, and it is in such cases that the test manager can better explain.
• The test manager must have the ability to withstand pressures and say 'no' to other managers when quality is insufficient or QA processes are not being adhered to. It is the test manager who is responsible for quality.
• The test manager must have people judgement skills for hiring and keeping skilled personnel
• The test manager must be able to communicate with technical and non-technical people, engineers, managers, and customers.

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