Test Manager – A Hero or a Villain?

Heroes are not always found in movies; they are everywhere, and you can also become one. On the other hand, villains are not always the people who steal away the heroine from heroes. Here, we are talking about real-world heroes and villains who save organizations from underdoing disasters or become a source of the great distress for businesses.

In a highly competitive business world, organizations have to come up with an “X” factor in their products and internal team coordination to better serve their users and stand out among the market. That is why employees of an organization are considered to be its most powerful assets.  

A test manager has the power to make or break software because he/she is responsible for leading a team of quality assurance professionals to evaluate the products before they go-live with them. When it comes to the development of highly complicated software products and applications, an effective and efficient team with a powerful and strong leader is necessary for organizations. Testing is considered to be the most important part of the development life-cycle of a software product. So, a good test manager that must be able to put in its heroic efforts is essential as well. 

A test manager can either serve as a hero or a villain. Of course, you, as a test manager, would want to be the former; it will also make you more receptible to management, staff, and user appreciation.

How can a test manager become a hero who can save an organization from trouble? 

Let’s discuss the traits of a test manager as a hero.

Have a shift-left mentality 

The idea behind the “shift left” mentality is to involve the role of testers from the beginning of the process, usually in the initial planning phase of new features. The very first mistake a test manager can make is to assume that they will start working on evaluating a product after it is manufactured. Instead, testers are responsible for their roles in product planning and preparation. Depending on your technical background, planning a meeting may seem scary or irrelevant to your work.

When you first transitioned to the quality assurance system, it was easy to succumb to the “impersonator syndrome” and perhaps feel a bit out of place. But this is where you need to start being a team hero.

When planning a meeting, speak up! Ask questions! Do not leave the room until you fully understand what is being discussed. The job of a quality inspection expert is to help find flaws, weaknesses, and complexities that others may not recognize. For a successful product, you are as responsible as the developer.

Use and encourage team members to use tools 

Tools are a great source of simplifying and making challenging procedures easy. Testing is a critical process as it adds up the responsibilities of testers to hunt maximum defects and issues in the system or software under development. But inspecting or hunting vulnerabilities and errors manually can be long hours of a process while consuming heavy energies of the quality assurance team members. That is where test managers can show up as a hero to lighten up the burden of their subordinates by asking and empowering them to use special issue tracking tools, test management tools, and bug management tools to get rid of their time wastage while enabling them to invest their precious time in more valuable tasks or projects.

Software testing tools not just assist testers and test managers; they also smoothen internal communications between teams, which lead to improvisations in efficiency for delivering the best quality software product. 

“A leader is always the one who considers himself a part of a team instead of just being a Boss”

If you want to be more inclusive, bridge the gap between your development team and other customer-facing roles. As a test manager keep in mind that your responsibility is to provide “quality assurance”, which means that your job requires you to understand the areas of the product that will cause friction with customers. Seek better and in-depth knowledge so that you can share or pass it on to your team and prepare to evaluate software products and applications from the perspective of your targeted users. 

By exposing expectations upfront, you can also be more of a part of the team. If there is a rift between you and your team’s expectations, it may feel hard to deal with the clash. Communicate all expectations and responsibilities to your team, focusing on quality assurance management. Your work may involve tasks and meetings completed with the Scrum team. Discussing these responsibilities from the beginning will help you and your team better respect each other’s time so that you and your team can schedule time more effectively.

A leader is always concerned about the achievement of a goal while not hurting anyone in their team. Thus, factors like giving respect to staff, being understanding, and having a positive attitude towards your team leads to test managers being more well-liked within the team. With this attitude of leaders, subordinates are more likely to not break the trust of their leader regarding the achievement of the shared goal. 

Wrap up 

You can easily become a boss. But it takes effort and hard work to be a successful leader or a true hero, who is liked by their members in the team and organization. Achieving goals with strict supervision can make you a good boss and a good villain but not a good leader. A Test leader or a  manager is one who has a shift-left mentality and who empowers his employees to use special tools to listen to their testing burden. The test manager is one who thinks of himself as a part of a team. This “X” factor must also be present in test managers if they truly want to call themselves as great leaders or heroes instead of being a villain.