5 Key Skills to Manage a QA Team

QASource | January 27, 2015


Understanding key management skills required to achieve an efficient, productive QA team is essential to the success of projects. In today’s world, we are changing our approach towards Agile & Scrum processes, which focus on not just executing test cases at the end of a test cycle, but communicating risks throughout the software development lifecycle. This requires QA testers to be involved with various parts of the team including business analysts and developers at each level. Being able to manage the QA teams is crucial for an organization’s success. Here are some key skills needed to manage your QA team effectively.

  1. Technical skills and Domain knowledge:
    You must know all there is to know in your particular field and keep on the alert for new knowledge. The least difference in knowledge between you and another man may spell his success and your failure. — Henry Ford

    Having an excellent grasp of technical architecture of the application, tools/technologies being used by the application and domain knowledge of the application from the user’s perspective is essential for any QA testing team. The team should also know project roadmaps, team goals, the stakeholders involved and customer requirements. This knowledge is essential, as a manager should at any given point be able to provide guidance and support to team members in key areas of the project including application, tools and environments, as well as be able to provide solutions to overcome any problems with the QA services they are delivering upon.

  2. Project Management Skills:
    Project management can be defined as a way of developing structure in a complex project, where the independent variables of time, cost, resources and human behavior come together — Rory Burke

    Project management can be a challenge, but these skills play a huge role in the success of any project or product. These skills allow managers to keep up with timelines, resource requirements, as well as pressure from management and leads to faster and more successful releases. Time and experience is the best way to build project management skills.

  3. Planning Skills:
    “A good plan is like a road map: it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there.-- H. Stanley Judd

    A critical skill for managing your team is the ability to plan. Assessing the strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities of each team member, as well as the required tools, constraints, and approaches to a task will help provide a roadmap for a project. Although planning a project may start at a high level, it must trickle down and be implemented in each level of the project. Team members should each know their role in the overall plan.

  4. Effective Communication Skills:
    “The art of communication is the language of leadership. — James Humes

    While managing the team, impeccable communication skills are essential to the success of a project. There are many forms of communication that can be utilized. This includes, but is not limited to email, phone calls, meetings and chat messenger. When interacting with their QA team, managers need to keep in mind the audience to which they are speaking and be sure to share factual information. This may call for speaking in different tones based on personalities or cultural differences. Keep in mind not every team member is the same, each may react to situations differently and thus, it is important to learn about the inner workings and personalities of each team member. In addition it is important to keep all aspects of a project: QA engineers, development team, business analysts, etc. communicating. Rea more about how to integrate QA and development.

  5. Skills to Motivate team:
    “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships. — Michael Jordan

    Motivation is not giving speeches to the team, but resonating messaging to impact each individual team member. Being able to identify individualistic characteristics and appreciate each and every team member is essential to building morale of your team. The team lead should always possess a positive attitude and exude this to the rest of the team members. Building morale amongst team members can really motivate the entire team to perform to the best of their abilities. In order to build confidence of the team, each team member must feel valued and that culture of software QA must resonate throughout the company.

It is important to keep in mind that continuously striving to learn and hone key management skills can significantly impact the way your team functions and benefits the overall project.

Are there other strategies or skills needed to manage a QA team efficiently? Leave a comment below and let us know.

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