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I am looking to transition to a test manager role and I'm up for an interview.

Been doing test automation for more than 2 years, being QA lead at a startup where I initiated and executed QA process, did manual QA for few years and did development work as well.

But I'm not sure what should I have and need to know to say I'm ready for the test manager role ?

6

Depends on the position, company and industry. A test manager role will have different responsibilities and a need for different skills.

I would listen to the following podcast where Alan and Brent roleplay a discussion between two common type of Test managers:

AB Testing – Episode 67

For this episode, we shoved Brent into a time machine and asked 1990s “Traditional Test Manager” Brent to have a conversation with “Modern Testing Manager” Alan.

Listen here

Some skills/experiences I think are important:

  • People skills (e.g. do you like coaching and managing people?)
  • Can you implement a testing/quality strategy in scale for a company of their size.
  • Broad knowledge of testing field
  • What strategies do you execute to stay up-to-date. (e.g. books, blogs)
4

First of all, best of luck for your interview. I hope you do well and get the job.

For a senior QA to transition into a QA Manager role can be a challenging task and at the same time if you have good skills, you can transition seamlessly.

One of the important aspects that QA Manager has to do is to have good conflict resolution skills and the ability to make a decision based on the need of the project.

I say this so, because as a QA Manager, there would be many times when you might have to act as a judge between conflicts- that can be within people who report you directly or between two people, who are on different teams, one of which would be led by you.

I have seen instances where the QA Manager or the QA Lead, is expected to take the side of QA people, since , you are from a QA/Testing background, and these are the times when you would be to have the best skills to resolute a conflict, with the best interest of both the project, company and people.

Another skill that you should have or rather that you would need to learn quickly is the effective delegation of work to your team.

1

At a broader level, here is the list of things that you would be responsible for, in a Test Manager role (irrespective of the company you work for):

Planning and control

Analysis and design

Implementation and execution

Evaluating exit criteria and reporting

Test closure activities

We can talk at length about each of these topics. You will be able to play this role efficiently only if you have acquired a lot of experience in software testing. For example, there are different aspects related to test planning, understanding the nature of application, whether functional automation would be required or not. If required, what are the best tools that should be used? How much effort it would take? What all risks do you foresee? Defining the scope of testing.

Because if you don't plan it well then you are caught in your own plan when unexpected things happen.

People management is a part of it but there are other important things that you are supposed to drive. One wrong decision can put not only you but your whole team in trouble.

But still I would suggest you to go for it. You will make mistakes when you initially step into this role but will gradually understand all the aspects of it.

I would recommend you to go through the ISTQB Test Manager study material. That will be helpful to you. Later on, you can also do the certification.

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