How to Be a Better Software Testing Team Lead or Manager

It is not always easy to have management responsibilities in software development and software testing when you come from a technical position. This is also true in software testing. In this article, Mark Garzone shares some tips on how to be a better software testing team lead or test manager.

Author: Mark Garzone,

Are you a test leader or inspire to become a test leader of a team of testers? Follow these tips on leading your team of testers to stellar results.

Invest in your tester’s team education by buying tester books, paying for tester certification programs, and sending testers to conferences. Besides having smarter more educated testers as a result of educational investment the testers will be more loyal to the company. Do this especially if the developers get such treatment with trips to conferences otherwise you build up resentment in the tester team towards the development team.

When selecting or hiring new testers to join your team, choose a tester whose skills will complement the existing members on the team. For instance pick a security tester to join a team that does not have a security tester. Or pick an automated tester for your team if the remaining members of the team are not strong as automating testers. This way you will get a stronger team and the members of the team will have chance to cross-train and learn new skills.

Introduce new testing technologies and tools. Testers like to learn new techniques and new tools and get bored of doing the same thing the same way all the time. Add some variety to the tester’s work. For instance if your company does no automation testing introduce this new technique to the company.

Being a Better Test Leader or Test Manager

Move testers around different testing projects so that they get bored testing the same product or type of application. Otherwise they might start looking for work at a different company to find that new and exciting feeling.

Approve vacation requests as requested by testers if requested long in advance of project deadlines. Projects slip all the time so why punish a tester for the project manager’s bad management of the project.

Limit the tester’s team overtime work otherwise it can lead to tester burnout. Pay the testers for their overtime work. If you cannot do that then at least order pizza for long testing days at work.

Don’t ask testers for daily email status reports. It more efficient to just hold a daily Scrum with them to figure out what’s going on the project.

Delegate testing work. You might be a super tester yourself but you cannot do all the testing yourself. Also monitor the delegated work to make sure it gets done.

Have other testers review your test plans, test estimates and test exit reports. This will catch errors and missing information from these documents.

Praise your testers for good work and criticize gently for bad work immediately. You don’t want to wait for the end of year annual review to give feedback which affects the work being done today. Timely corrective action only happens when informed right away for bad work.

Fire lazy testers after a warning. There are plenty of eager hard working testers around so get rid of the lazy ones.

Check that not too many duplicate bug tickets are being reported. Too many duplicates is a sign of a tester being lazy and not searching the bug reporting tool before submitting a new ticket. Let the tester know that they need to check for duplicates.

Don’t change the priority of a ticket without chatting with the reporter tester first otherwise they might get offended.

Don’t close a ticket as invalid without justifying why it’s invalid in the comments otherwise the reporter tester won’t understand why it’s invalid and might continue to report those types of errors in the future.

Be positive, professional, punctual and follow through and your commitments. Also never over commit to something if there is a good chance you cannot meet the commitment. If a commitment cannot be met due to some event beyond your control let the interested parties know about it advance. People don’t like unpleasant surprises. Besides that, it gives the interest party an opportunity before it is too late to take steps to mitigate the failed commitment.

Hold a testing team improvement meeting every two months to get ideas from other testers on how to improve the testing process in the company.

Depending on the customer it sometimes best not to let them know of all the bugs found while the system is under development. Some customers do not understand that it is normal for lots of bugs to be found during the coding phase and react negatively at the knowledge of this. In this case it is best to have two bug tracking systems, one external bug tracker which shows any bugs found by the customer and another that is internally visible only to programmers, testers, and project managers.

About the author

Mark Garzone is an expert software tester in many fields with many years of experience. This article is an excerpt published with permission from ” Software Testing: A Guide to Testing Mobile Apps, Websites, and Games”. Copyright 2014 Mark Garzone. Book web page:

1 Comment on How to Be a Better Software Testing Team Lead or Manager

  1. Are leaders born or made? If test managers can, in fact, develop leadership skills, how can you become a better—even a great—leader?

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