A QA architect has in-depth knowledge of a variety of testing techniques and methodologies used both inside and outside of Microsoft. They often provide technical assistance and/or advice to the test Manager.
A test architect is expected to be able to affect change not only across the testing community, but between other engineering disciplines as well. Test architects must drive quality across all disciplines, providing guidance, feedback, and suggestions to improve quality practices across an entire engineering team.
While a few test architects may be focused on a specific problem or improvement, the goal for the test architect investment should be long-term improvement of the organization testing process and growth. Senior test leaders, when faced with an urgent problem or situation in need of quick improvement can typically find a solution. Broad or recurring issues, however, may require a test architect. The test architect should be thinking long-term and laying out a path for solving big issues over a long period and not focused on fighting daily fires. The test architect must be focused on defining the testing process and setting the test team up for continued success.