Improving your QA team management skills

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quality assurance team is only as good as its manager. Poor leadership is guaranteed to trickle down and adversely affect everyone on a software testing team. Without a strong figurehead directing a development project, communication can break down, impeding collaboration and dragging down QA operations. A good QA manager is especially important for organizations that lean on disparate teams for their development and software testing needs. That is why it's so important that managers take the time to hone existing skills and develop all new ones to become team leaders.

Keep learning
KMS Technology QA Director Mush Honda suggested that team leaders continually build on several core areas of team management. QA managers should always be on the lookout for opportunities to learn about changes within the software testing industry and incorporate emerging best practices. Team leaders need to be flexible in this regard, always ready to incorporate new QA tools and approaches to software testing. This will ensure that their team stays on the cutting edge of QA processes and utilizes the most effective strategies.

"A great tester never stops learning," Honda wrote. "Continuing your education as a tester is critical to a long career that advances in leadership. Be sure to stay on top of the industry's latest trends, attend educational training, and study great leadership styles."

One only needs to look at the spread of agile methodologies over the past several years to see how important an open mind is in the QA field. The industry is increasingly gravitating away from waterfall methods and embracing agile approaches to software testing.

Another example would be the use of integrated test management software to bridge gaps between disparate teams. Even organizations that want to implement agile strategies may be unable to fully do so without the help of test management platforms that facilitate information sharing and communication. For instance, with this software in place, testers, engineers, developers, programmers and other project stakeholders can all access and disseminate critical reports and documents, helping businesses to become more agile.

Communication is critical
A good team leader should be able to effectively share feedback and ideas with software testers as well as foster direct discussions about the team's status. Software test engineer Sharath Bhat explained in a post for Software Testing Help that QA managers should feel comfortable speaking to team members in an informal setting, encouraging them to speak up about lingering problems with the team or any other issues that could potentially affect productivity and effectiveness. Although many organizations participate in regular group meetings, such as daily scrum sessions or standups, it's important that software testers have the opportunity to talk about matters privately, away from such environments. As Bhat noted, this information could prove invaluable if there's a particular issue with the team that has been stewing beneath the surface.

"Timely and appropriately delivered feedback can make the difference between a team that hides mistakes and a team that sees mistakes as opportunities," Bhat said.

Overall, it's essential that QA leaders remain flexible and open to new management tools and strategies to best serve their teams. The software testing field is rapidly evolving, and managers want to be sure that they stay abreast of any new developments that could aid their own growth as organizational leaders. 

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