9 Steps to Becoming an Outstanding QA Lead
Every professional software tester aspires to advance from Senior Tester to QA Lead. It’s a natural progression for talented and knowledgeable professionals, and with increased responsibility comes increased pay and even more opportunities.
Before advancing to a higher level of responsibility, one must acquire the enhanced skillset and expertise that QA Team Lead positions necessitate.
Becoming a QA (Quality Assurance) Lead entails far more than being skilled at or familiar with the tasks required to test software successfully. To be effective, efficient, and exceptional in this role, the individual must develop all critical skills that are not directly related to senior testing.
A Look at Common QA Lead Responsibilities
During a typical project, a Software Quality Assurance Lead employs a variety of high-level skills related to organizing and supervising pre-release product testing. To fulfil the QA Lead responsibilities, one must:
- Manage a test team of five or more testers of varying skill levels through project management.
- Have a thorough understanding of all aspects of the testing procedure.
- Participate in the design process to gain a deeper understanding of specific projects.
- Examine and fine-tune the application, solution, or systems under test.
- Identify risks and ensure adequate test coverage to validate new features and any necessary regression.
- Create and maintain customized test plans and cases, including automated scripts for oversight or control.
- Define a specific testing scope relevant to the project (s).
- Select and manage specific quality assurance processes and testing tools for the assigned task.
- Install and configure the necessary systems and software.
- To effectively and quickly achieve project goals, implement test scenarios, strategies, and the overall testing process.
- Execute test cases using automated or manual testing methods as needed.
- Deploy and manage various testing frameworks specifically tailored to the project at hand.
- Create, implement, and accurately record specific quality assurance metrics.
- Analyze and identify issues discovered, including final product quality assurance before launch.
- Work with the QA and R&D teams to diagnose issues and develop solutions.
- Instil and promote teamwork among individuals and groups involved in the testing process.
Why Is Quality Assurance Testing Required?
A product’s entire end-user experience depends on completing an effective, efficient, and high-quality test management process. The effectiveness of the QA test procedure from start to finish determines the final product quality — and the QA Lead is responsible for this procedure and its methods.
In some ways, every aspect of product quality depends on the individual who creates testing processes tailored to that product. This can include features such as UX/UI design or specific coding standards and approaches.
Poorly designed or poorly functioning products provide a poor end-user experience. Unfortunately, poor customer experiences drive away customers, resulting in revenue loss; in the worst-case scenario, it can even lead to business failure.
User experience depends on effective QA processes, ultimately determining a company’s success or failure. Testing is the foundation of any specific product, and it directly impacts the ability to attract and retain customers — both throughout the lifecycle of a specific product and for a business in general.
QA Leads are responsible for completing efforts to meet project objectives, product quality, and enterprise objectives. Remember that these QA test strategies are the last line of defence a product — and the business developing and marketing it — has against market failure.
How to Become a Reliable and Strong QA Lead
A successful QA Lead must develop the following mindsets in addition to testing skills. This is about more than just the job description; developing these skills and abilities will propel a career forward in terms of personal goals and create more substantial opportunities.
It is important to note that, if successfully instilled in a larger team framework, the following attitudes guarantee a higher standard of excellence and genuinely top-tier quality functioning.
1. Be a role model by informing and influencing others to have a positive attitude toward excellence.
Building enthusiasm and team morale through non-work activities and recognition are critical to the work of a QA Lead. Similarly, at every opportunity, they should encourage and inspire livelily and informed discussion about technology, particularly concerning testing processes and solutions.
This method assists in identifying a team’s strengths and weaknesses and areas for potential improvement. An excellent QA Lead should approach the job with the goal of eventually training a replacement from within their current team. QA Leaders should cultivate a positive, forward-thinking attitude, including the principles of learning from past mistakes, developing a progressive team vision, and pursuing more important goals through a team charter.
A strong QA Team Lead understands when to delegate because they understand that appropriate autonomy fosters team trust and confidence. There is no more effective way to foster a positive team environment than to demonstrate genuine leadership and management skills beyond the scope of a QA Lead position.
2. Present findings in the context of their commercial value.
A good QA Lead focuses on the data communicated to stakeholders as a natural progression of the testing process. Data should be presented in the context of “how” the observed application function is detrimental to the feature or application’s goal.
3. Rather than enforcing processes, provide information.
Obtaining as much information as possible about issues discovered during testing can aid in determining the source of a problem. This information also contributes to a better understanding of how testing services validate and analyze software functions for product developers and engineers. This comprehensive, detailed information should be presented regularly and ongoing fashion.
4. Learn to provide and identify information to make informed decisions rather than simply taking “bug notes.”
A QA Team Lead should present findings and recommendations of fault impact on the goal of the application or feature under testing rather than acting as a “gatekeeper” of quality. This method allows project stakeholders to make informed and precise decisions. It will also help developers isolate and resolve detected errors.
5. Investigate and learn about the products being evaluated.
A QA Lead should learn about the product domain and work to understand the product’s business objectives. Exploring the product will aid in discovering new features that were not explicitly conceived or implemented.
By collecting testers’ questions during testing, the QA Lead can assist product owners in creating better workflow designs. They can also use those tester questions to help developers build better scenario implementations. QA Leads should also focus on adaptability in terms of tools, standards, and processes to maximize the benefits to the project and client.
6. Recognize items that slow down testing.
Next, QA Leads should have a keen eye for detail to identify problems with testing. They should also look at how testers spend their time on average work days, paying special attention to efforts in configuring the test environment, test data, test prerequisites, etc…, as these are prime candidates for reusing and streamlining.
Tracking effort and time spent on these efforts will aid in determining the quantity and quality of real and direct testing time spent on a project. It can also aid in improving and streamlining testing activities that slow down processes and delivery.
7. Recognize the extent to which automation can benefit a project – and its limitations.
A QA Lead can establish a balanced testing approach by understanding the scope of the automation framework. This approach helps to maximize the benefits of automation testing while balancing the creation, execution, and maintenance effort associated with automation.
8. Improve your technical, testing, and business abilities.
A great QA Lead is constantly learning. As a QA Lead and tester, continuing education is critical for career longevity and advancement. As a result, staying current with industry trends, attending educational training, and researching great leadership styles are all essential activities.
9. Discuss your experiences, both successes and failures.
QA Leads who attend events such as local testing and quality assurance meetups will provide opportunities for greater understanding and education — both for the individual and other professionals in the field.
Assume there are no local meetups near a QA Lead’s location… In that case, various Software Testing Club forums and LinkedIn communities are excellent places to begin networking with other testers.
Even if becoming a QA Lead isn’t the ultimate goal, mastering these mindsets is critical to becoming the best possible team player and, ultimately, a better tester.