In addition to the core job, a QA manager can add value by finding new solutions that drive greater business ROI. This means venturing beyond methods and tools from years ago.
Beyond technical development, test leads and QA managers strive to build an innovative, high-value team. This begins with understanding one’s own role and working to spread the benefits of leadership. In this article, we consider the importance of QA managers in Agile organizations. We also look at the importance of thought leadership and strategy development for test automation.
In a strictly agile organization, QA is done by developer leads and development testers on each team. Typically, there is no separate QA team.
There's a good reason for this integration. The team is responsible for the quality of the code. Therefore, high-quality delivery is a top priority. Quality concerns become integral to planning, development, and status. This is a key aspect of the definition of done. Consequently, a primary goal for the entire team is verifiable code quality.
Transitioning to agile, however, requires considerable effort to reach the point at which quality is a core competency. Programmers and testers are highly technical. Therefore, they tend to focus on the technical aspects of QA: methods, tools, and test automation. This intensive dedication can keep them from giving proper attention to other product development concerns. Part of the job of the test lead is to alert the team to business needs, integration, and customer requirements.
However, QA is a distinct profession—it cannot be merely an afterthought in software development. QA managers need to build and maintain expertise if they are to be effective. Testers need to keep pace with the latest technologies, trends, and tools. Anyway, developers don’t have time to do this for both programming and testing.
Each development team has its own functional specialty. For example, one team may work on the UI while another builds services. Different types of development require different skills and special knowledge. Similarly, there is a division of labor between manual and automated testing. Test automation will be entirely different with respect to UI, APIs, or integration testing.
The role of the QA manager is to build an effective team that can maximize its resources. The manager defines roles and responsibilities—and helps the team cohere. In an Agile organization, it’s vital to equip each development tester so that they can support their teams.
Test automation is necessary to meet higher demands for shorter schedules and bug-free releases. However, it’s critical that you continue to assess each of your investments in automation tools and processes.
Trends like automation, continuous testing, and DevOps continue to raise the bar. With the potential for more flexibility, speed, and complexity, everyone is scrambling to take it all in. Maximizing speed and quality—while minimizing cost—is both a goal and a challenge. For the test lead, test automation presents the biggest ROI opportunity. This is especially true when considering the Functionize platform.
Therefore, QA managers must understand that test automation is a toolset. As with any other tool, test automation increases productivity and process efficiency. This opens up the possibility for a series of creative solutions to thorny problems. Add it up across everything within the testing scope, and the team can greatly improve the entire testing process. Most importantly, keep the following in mind: To move forward on such initiatives, the team needs an experienced QA professional to craft an automation strategy. A good strategy depends on solid leadership ability. The leader must prioritize the implementation across the entire functional spectrum.
Above all, test automation can significantly multiply time and effort. Proper setting of stakeholder expectations is key to maintaining the same vision of success. While Selenium and Appium are respectable solutions for testing web and mobile apps, they are unquestionably tedious to maintain.
Functionize's Natural Language Processing and ML engine gives your test lead even more power, speed, and flexibility. It also helps you to significantly reduce the burden of test reconfiguration and maintenance. A company that makes a substantial investment in an automation platform like Functionize will better exploit the assets in their delivery pipelines. This will translate directly into higher quality products, happy customers, and better marketplace positioning.