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  1. #1
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    Anyone here a QA Lead? or familiar with the role..

    Who does the QA Lead report to? And who do the other QA resources in the department report to?

    I ask becasue I'm struggling with a control problem. I'm a QA Lead that reports to the departments Senior Manager. The QA resources report to a different manager (NOT A QA MANAGER). This manager feels the need to assign work to the QA resources that I'm supposed to be leading. This is just one example. There are other things that this manager does to show that he is in charge of the QA Analysts. For the record he is a control freak and I'm really struggling with not having any real authority.

    Is anyone else a QA Lead? Do you have authority?

    I moved into this role to get experience leading the analysts. Maybe I'm wrong and don't have a clear understanding of what a QA Lead does. That's why I would like to hear how your company is structured...and if your a QA Lead what authority do you have?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Moderator Joe Strazzere's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone here a QA Lead? or familiar with the role..

    seminole,

    I haven't seen a reporting relationship like you describe. But why would anyone else's experience be relevant here anyway?

    In some shop, QA Leads have little authority. In others, they have a lot. (And it depends what you mean by authority). In some shops the QA Lead's emphasis is getting a particular project done. In other shops, they lead for a product or product line.

    You have issues with your manager, and your reporting structure, in your company. Many companies do things differently - there are no industry rules for this. Many different arrangements could work, and many could fail.

    Did you understand what the company wanted from you in this role when you accepted it? Has it changed? If so, why? Have you talked with your manager about this?

    You wanted authority. You feel you have none. Now you need to decide what you are going to do about that arrangement, if anything.
    Joe Strazzere
    Visit my website: AllThingsQuality.com to learn more about quality, testing, and QA!

  3. #3
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    Re: Anyone here a QA Lead? or familiar with the role..

    [ QUOTE ]
    seminole,

    I haven't seen a reporting relationship like you describe. But why would anyone else's experience be relevant here anyway?

    In some shop, QA Leads have little authority. In others, they have a lot. (And it depends what you mean by authority). In some shops the QA Lead's emphasis is getting a particular project done. In other shops, they lead for a product or product line.

    You have issues with your manager, and your reporting structure, in your company. Many companies do things differently - there are no industry rules for this. Many different arrangements could work, and many could fail.

    Did you understand what the company wanted from you in this role when you accepted it? Has it changed? If so, why? Have you talked with your manager about this?

    You wanted authority. You feel you have none. Now you need to decide what you are going to do about that arrangement, if anything.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Thanks for the reply.

    First, I understand it all to be my situation and not anyone else's; therefore, I have to make the final decisions, not anyone else. I didn't think I actually had to write this but I guess I should have to be clear.

    Second, I was hoping to see what others do in the industry as far as org structure and the QA Lead. It's not releveant to my company but either is how others write test cases at other companies. So why ask about how you write test cases on a forum? To bounce ideas off each other, to compare/contrast, etc. That's all I was looking for with how other companies do things.

    Third, when we converted the QA contractors to employees I felt like I lost control. From status reporting, to assigning out work, to the manager saying he is doing the reviews I feel like it's a control issue with their manager. And it changed when the QA resources became employees. Do other QA Leads in the industry do the things mentioned (reviews, work assignments, etc.)? I don't know for sure. I would love to hear some people's experiences.

    I know I have to talk to my manager about my concerns and I will. But again, I was just looking for others experiences.

    Thanks

  4. #4
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    Re: Anyone here a QA Lead? or familiar with the role..

    I've been a QA lead in a couple organizations with a few different control issues.

    In my first position, I was truly leading my team. It worked out really well. It had it's own set of issues, but ultimately it was the best case scenario in my book.

    Secondly, I had worked in a position where QA was under development. NOT a good scenario. I always felt like the pressure was on to deliver something. Give something to them that said the product was good to go. Worse yet, my employees felt the same. So it was like we were always under to gun to deliver something regardless of quality. Just mitigate the risk and get it out the door.

    I'm currently in a position where we have a QA Manager who oversees Leads across different QA groups. So it's great to have someone to advocate for Quality and it's also great to have more closely-tied QA groups so we can share informational resources, so it's definitely comfortable. It seems to work out fairly well.
    Brent
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    9 out of 10 people I prove wrong agree that I'm right. The other person is my wife.
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  5. #5
    Moderator Joe Strazzere's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone here a QA Lead? or familiar with the role..

    [ QUOTE ]
    First, I understand it all to be my situation and not anyone else's; therefore, I have to make the final decisions, not anyone else. I didn't think I actually had to write this but I guess I should have to be clear.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Got it.

    In companies where I have run QA, the QA Leads reported to me, as did the non-lead QAers. I did all the reviews, the Leads contributed to those reviews, but didn't actually perform them. Individuals were typically assigned to work with the Leads just for the duration of a project. For the duration of a project, Leads usually lead the day-to-day activities. I would re-assign individuals after the project was completed, and occasionally during a project if the need arose. Typically though, individuals tended to stay with the same Leads for long periods of time.

    In only one other company where I have worked did individual QAers report to non-QA managers. I left that company shortly after that restructuring occurred, since I considered that a major red flag for my role.

    Everywhere I have worked, the QA Leads are not Managers. There was always a clear distinction to their roles.

    Not sure if any of this applies to your situation, but I hope that helps.
    Joe Strazzere
    Visit my website: AllThingsQuality.com to learn more about quality, testing, and QA!

  6. #6
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    Re: Anyone here a QA Lead? or familiar with the role..

    Seminole,

    When I joined my current employer, I was given the role of QA Lead.

    The make up of the IT dept here meant that delivery of projects was split between various delivery streams, each containing some BAs and some Devs. At this point, testing was conducted by BAs.

    I was tasked with setting up QA processes and procedures within one of these delivery streams as well as assuming responsibility for day to day testing and growing the test resource within that stream. I reported to a Stream Manager.

    At the same time, other stream managers were recruiting their own resouce (as QA Analysts) and whilst on paper I was empowered to advise\govern process to try and ensure it was uniform across the dept, in practice other manager did what suited them and used their Test resource as appropriate.

    I continued to formalise Qa within my stream, introducing documents, standards, processes and tools and preaching the benefits of these to the other streams. Whilst much was ignored, the benefits in terms of project delivery and tracability were clear. I was also involved in recruitment of additional QAs in my stream, growing the team to 4.

    2.5 years after joining, the Head of IT acknowledged the improvements which had been made within my stream and in order to open this up and reap tese benefits elsewhere, we withdrew QA resources from the streams and created a test team which sits independently within IT. This can be used by any of the streams and uses many of the processes and standards I had already defined. I now manager this team, which has grown to 9.

    In summary, i'd say as QA Lead you are looking to take ownership of process, have a hand in decision making which affects QA and give input into any matter which affects QA. I wouldn't expect the lead to be responsible neccessarily for man management or HR side of things (e.g. individual performance reviews, recruitment etc) but I would expect ownership of project delivery from a QA point of view - reporting, defect management, resource allocation perhaps.

    Hope this helps, just my experience of what the 'QA Lead' tag meant.

    Regards

  7. #7
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    Re: Anyone here a QA Lead? or familiar with the role..

    I can echo Joe's experience, where I have been QA Leads, when I had them or they existed, they reporting to QA not to anyone else. I did work in a place where as the QA Manager I reported to the VP of Engineering (not unusual) but the VP of E was also still active in Development. I often got pressure to release, but when I could show that things were not ready 9 times out of 10 I was listened to, the 1 times I was not gave me ammunition for supporting my other positions. While it was stressful at times, the environment was ok for the most part, and I was still treated as a valuable member of the team.

    One company that did spread QA across teams, these were Scrum Teams, had a manager that still oversaw QA and facilitated in managing the QA team as a whole. Eventually the QA Manager was let go, I considered that a red flag and left, not sure how they are making due now but they had a few people in place in QA who are still there.
    - M

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  8. #8
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    Re: Anyone here a QA Lead? or familiar with the role..

    In positions that I have been in, QA Leads were just the advanced testers that did the planning. All HR level responsibilities (reviews, etc) were conducted by the overall QA department manager(If QA was even separate, have been in shops where QA was just embedded with dev).

    In short the "QA Lead" title essentially just meant that you were a mentor for those on your QA team but had no real authority. But of course you still had the accountability if there were problems with your teams test performance...

  9. #9
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    Re: Anyone here a QA Lead? or familiar with the role..

    I've been a Lead for 3yrs now at my current company. Out of necessity, I've had to take on the administrative tasks of hiring people, assigning tasks and even being a liason between other depts and my team. And these are tasks I absolutely despise. I am a tester, project planner, process designer, I don't like to manage people.

    I do help with training and I help with furthering my team's career goals, along the lines of mentoring. Without a manager to report to directly, my tasks were skewed and it was difficult to manage it all. But it was the nature of where the company was at the time. Since then, we've grown, I finally have a manager that understands I absolutely do not want her job and she understands how to manage a couple of bullies in our Dev management team. And for women to have to deal with these kinds of men, life is so unnecessarily difficult and frustrating, because we're called names that would never apply to men who are very insecure with themselves. These particular men make it an issue with the genders and nothing anyone can really do anything about. But my new manager does really well and I'm thrilled not to have be involved with that stuff anymore and I can do "real work".

    My advice to you about your situation is in concurrance with everyone suggesting you go to your manager and make sure you understand your duties. Get them in writing. If they involve any sort of "authority" over the analysts, then the other manager would need to be informed in writing as well. Until such time, I would back off from anything to do with trying to extend any authority over the analysts.

    You also seem like you really want to pursue a managerial career path and if so, again, talk to your manager about your desire. Ask what you can do to make that happen. What are their expectations in your advancement?

    Good luck.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Anyone here a QA Lead? or familiar with the role..

    Hi Seminole,

    I've been Test Manager and being in a Prince2 environment, I report directly to the Senior Supplier, not the Project Manager. I'm the eyes and ears of the Senior in the project and everyone knows it.

    Some activities as a lead:

    I provide direction to the test activities and decisions.
    I sign off on test activities and reports at the end of every activity.
    If the test analyst is overloaded with work, I jump in do some scripting and testing myself. Otherwise, these jobs are the sole responsibility of the test analyst.
    I determine what should be documented and what's needlessly taking up time.
    I have enough authority with QA, and at the end of the day, good QA as well as bad is my responsibility.

    You should communicate with your immediate senior about what is expected out your role is and who reports to whom. Lack of this clear line of authority will keep you frustrated.

 

 

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