CEWT #4 was about test management and test managers. One of the things that became apparent during the day was how much of a moveable feast the role associated with this title is. And that reflects my own experience.
A few months ago, when discussing courses for the line managers in the Test team, a trainer outlined what his course would cover and asked whether I'd got any heuristics for management. I gave him these, none of which were included in his synopsis:
- Clear and present. (Say what you think and why, and what you are committed to; encourage and answer any question; be approachable, available and responsive, or say when you can be)
- It’s all about MOI. (Motivation: explain why we are doing what we’re doing; Organisation: set things up to facilitate work, opportunities; Innovation: be ready with ideas when they’re needed)
- Congruency in all decisions. (Consider the other person, the context, yourself)
In advance of CEWT, one of my team asked me what I felt my responsibilities as a Test Manager are. Off the top of my head, I suggested they included following:
- Provide appropriate testing resource to the business.
- Assist in the personal development of my staff.
- Develop relationships in my teams, with my teams, across teams.
At the pub after CEWT last night I was asked what I did as a Test Manager. I replied that it's changed a lot over time, but has encompassed situations where:
- I was the sole tester. (And also learning how to be a tester.)
- I was planning and scheduling the testing for a small test team, working on a single product. (And also learning about planning and scheduling for others.)
- I was planning assignments of testers to projects and teams across products. (And also learning about how to work without knowing so much about some of the work my team are doing.)
- I was managing larger and larger teams. (And learning how to be a better manager.)
- I was delegating larger and larger projects to other testers. (And learning how to help others to manage larger projects.)
- I was keeping track of more and more projects across the company, as we grew. (And learning about finding ways to get the right information at the right costs.)
- I was delegating line management responsibility to other testers. (And learning about how to help others find and express themselves in line management roles.)
Ask a slightly different question, or a different test manager, or in a different context, or about a different time ...
Get a different answer.