Ten years ago, the function of a test manager was comprised of managing the testers and reporting up to your boss. A normal day would consist of a number of meetings, data evaluation and and HR work like efficiency reviews. With all of those administration obligations, the test manager would hardly spends any time actually managing the team.
The Test Manager Function Has Changed
Today, organizations are much flatter. The traditional role of a test manager has developed to a coach and mentor. In many cases, the role of the dedicated test manager has been eradicated altogether. The trendy test manager is now not spending all day in meetings and managing up. They are doing fingers-on work to drive the the project forward.
The Fashionable Test Manager
One of many first things that happens during an agile transformation is the reshaping of teams. The massive development groups are damaged up into smaller and more handleable groups of three to 7 people. Crew members will relocate so they are sitting together. “The Three Amigos” – testers, programmers, and product managers all in one space and reporting to one person. Within this new structure, the test manager often is ignored because small, high performing teams don’t want specialised management.
So, what should the test manager do? Go back right into a testing role? Find a new position within the company outside of testing? Move on to a distinct group that also has a need for test managers? Here are some options to consider.
Options for the Trendy Test Manager
A facilitator or servant-leader is a scrum master with teeth. Instead of being separated from the group by an office door, this particular person is embedded with the crew and has a transparent unobstructed view of the good, bad and ugly. If a staff is struggling to develop and test a new function, the facilitator will really feel the pain and assist the group discover the solution or have the crew move on to the next thing.
The Non-Technical Contributor
For test managers who should not highly technical, the idea of moving to a production programmer function wouldn’t be, very exciting. For these folks, there are roles like product manager that could possibly be a greater fit. In many ways, a test manager is just like a product manager. Both roles require people who find themselves able to ask the probing questions, think about potential problems and discover ways to resolve them. The most effective test managers have sturdy important thinking abilities that translate very well to product management roles.
The Coach stays closer to the product and development work than the facilitator or non-technical contributor. A test manager switching to a coaching position should have strong technical skills.
The objective with agile is to have testers embedded in a development team. As the developer is writing the code, the tester is actively testing that feature. Think of this like building an airplane while it’s flying by the air. Some testers shy away from the technical nature of this work because it requires you to the touch the code. The Coach helps guide people to testing the correct level on the the precise time, as well as growing the talents to make that happen.
A coach and tester collectively may help design better unit tests, begin fleshing out BDD situations, build new checks towards an API and much more. The function of the coach helps shut crucial skill gaps, and over time might help an agile group move faster.
As more and more companies are transitioning to agile, there inevitably will probably be a reduction within the number of test managers needed. Fortunately, the talents of a test manager are highly valuable and transferrable to many different parts of the company. While the titles would possibly change, test managers can nonetheless leverage the talents and expertise they’ve spent years acquiring.
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