Over the years I have moved from a Senior QA Engineer to VP. It requires significant changes in how you adjust to working with others. It is also very different in managing a small team of testers versus managing large testing teams. Here are a few key adjustments that I have had to make over the years.
- Enable others to manage the teams. It is important to put highly qualified people in place who can manage their own teams. You have to have the ability to trust those individuals who will help you carry out the strategy that you help establish for the team. In a sense I became the architect of putting the pieces together that would make the organization function smoothly.
- You must be diplomatic. Managing a large team often requires establishment of priorities. In large testing teams not everything is going to always run smoothly, there will be issues. It is important to make the best decision for the team even if that means disagreement on the strategy on how they team will get there.
- Don’t micromanage. This is perhaps one of the most important elements. As a leader you have empowered others within the organization to make decisions. Placing trust in those people will reap significant results down the road. There are always multiple ways to get to the end goal. If you are always making decisions for your team, you aren’t allowing others within the organization to grow.
- Establish a clear direction. Large testing teams need a very clear direction on how the organization needs to operate. There needs to be a very clear roadmap on what things need to be accomplished each year. Sure those might change depending on priority, but it is important to adjust those once the priorities change. The team also needs a consistent process on how the team is going to operate.
- Set realistic timelines. Larger testing teams take longer to react to changes. It is important to set realistic timelines with a larger team. When I managed a team of 7 people, I could pull them all into a room and make a process adjustment and the team would be able to make the change, almost immediately. In managing a team of 250, who was distributed across the globe that same change might require at least a week to get everyone of the same page.
I hope these will help you to manage your large testing teams.