I've recently transitioned to a software engineer in test role--currently the only person in this role. We have a number of projects that are in the early feasibility stages, and I'm trying to convince project managers that I need to be involved even in these early stages. I've had a hard time getting the point across though: they seem supportive, but keep saying things like "we're not quite ready to think about testing yet" or "we don't want to waste your time [with general project stuff that isn't strictly related to testing]".
I don't want to wait until teams think they know what they need for testing; rather, I want to get up to speed on what developers are thinking, planned features and tech stacks, etc. so I can start doing the same feasibility work on the testing side, and foresee problems we'll encounter during development while I have a chance to get out ahead of them.
I think if I had already gone through a few projects in this role I'd have a much easier time articulating my concerns--and I have done so as a developer so I do have some thoughts--but with this being my first rodeo in a role we've never had before, I'm having trouble making my case.
I'm actually less concerned about getting support from developers once I actually get "onto" a project, and I can likely learn a lot from grabbing developers and asking questions, but how can I convince project managers that onboarding me now will add value when they have the impression that it's too early?
Note: I should clarify what I mean by "early feasibility stages": our group writes software that interacts with hardware, not software-only products, so when a project starts out there's a lot of work to do before writing production code to prototype things and determine whether our planned approach is, well, feasible. For example, can we use computer vision to detect a user error before it causes us to crash and bend metal? If we make this set of assumptions for the underlying control architecture, will those assumptions break when we integrate this other hardware piece?
I believe there are similar questions to be answered about how we will test the product, which is the focus of this question.