9 Steps To Becoming a Great QA Lead

Whenever a topic, especially a process-based one such as testing documentation, emerges, one of the most common problems a team may have to face is: …

Whenever a topic, especially a process-based one such as testing documentation, emerges, one of the most common problems a team may have to face is: Who will do this? The QA lead or the team member?

This happens because beginners have difficulties understanding the scope of work, responsibilities, and roles of themselves in a project. In fact, this is not some newbie problem. A lot of managers/ leads/ coordinators also find some roles an issue due to the lack of clarity. Can all Senior Testers want the responsibility of being a QA Lead? Do they have the proper qualification to become one?

quality assurance lead responsibilities

Becoming a QA Lead isn’t just about how good of a tester you are. Once you’re a great tester you need to develop specific skills to be effective in a QA Lead role.

If you are looking for a QA Lead job, or looking for a QA leader, this article is just what you need to truly understand the nature of it, what to expect, and how to deal salary.

QA Leader Job Description

QA Leader Job Description
Illustration of quality control

QA Lead is the one to establish metrics, guide the whole team members, and manage outside resources, not to mention developing test programs. You can use this QA Leader Job Description as a guide to evaluate your next hire or check for your promotion.

Typical job responsibilities for this position include:

  • Establish and evolve formal QA processes, ensuring that the team is using industry-accepted best practices.
  • Oversee all aspects of quality assurance including establishing metrics, applying industry best practices, and developing new tools and processes to ensure quality goals are met.
  • Act as a key point of contact for all QA aspects of releases, providing QA services and coordinating QA resources internally and externally.
  • Lead and mentor QA team members, as well as manage outside contract testers.
  • Develop and execute test cases, scripts, plans, and procedures (manual and automated)

What are QA lead roles and responsibilities?

QA lead roles and responsibility?

1. Learn how to influence project members in a positive way

Build enthusiasm and team morale with non-work activities and recognition, engage in discussions of technology & test approaches/ solutions with the team, identify strengths of the team members and leverage them within the projects, build a positive attitude and learn from past mistakes, establish team vision and objectives with a team charter, provide responsible autonomy where possible. Creating this positive team atmosphere demonstrates both leadership and management capability.

2. Report your findings in context of its business value

Focus on the data that is being communicated back to stakeholders, from your findings as part of testing the data should be in the context of how the behavior observed is detrimental to the objective of the feature or application being developed.

3. Be a provider of information and service, rather than a process enforcer

Identify as much information about your findings that help track the root cause of the issue, and learn to offer your validation and analysis services as frequently as possible to the developers on the team.

4. Learn to provide and identify information to make informed decisions versus simple bug notes

Rather than appear as a “gate-keeper” of quality, learn to present findings and recommendations of its impact on the end goal of the application or feature under test this will allow the project stakeholders to make the correct decisions, as well as help the developers isolate and resolve identified errors.

5. Focus on exploring and learning about the products that you test

Build your domain knowledge about the product, along with understanding the business objectives of the product. Exploring the product will help identify new features that may not have been clearly designed or implemented. Questions raised by testers often help product owners with better workflow designs and developers with better scenario implementations.

6. Learn to identify items that slow down testing

Analyze how testers spend their time on most working days. Pay attention to the effort associated with setting up the test environment, test data, test prerequisites, etc as these are the best candidates for reuse and streamlining. Tracking effort and time on these will also let you evaluate where actual testing time is being spent on a project and help improve on tasks that are slowing the team delivery down.

7. Recognize the extent that automation offers to your project, and also identify its limits

Understanding the scope of automation framework will enable you to establish a balanced test approach, allowing you to leverage the benefits of automation testing while allowing you to balance the creation, execution, and maintenance effort associated with automation for delivering the maximum ROI from testing.

8. Sharpen your technical, testing, and business skills

A great tester never stops learning. 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.

9. Share your experiences’ successes and failures

Attending local testing and QA meetups allows you to share your experiences and receive advice from others in similar situations. If there are no local meetups in your area, forums on Software Testing Club or LinkedIn are a great start to finding other testers to network with.

Remember, even if your goal is not to be the QA Lead, mastering these mindsets is critical to becoming the best possible team player and ultimately, a better tester.

Looking to start your QA career? Check out our job listings

How IT leaders avoid technical debts? Check out our guide for CIOs to manage Technical debts

How much do QA leads make?

As of Feb 21, 2021, the average annual pay for a Software QA Lead in the United States is $102,722 a year.

Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $49.39 an hour. This is the equivalent of $1,975/week or $8,560/month.

While ZipRecruiter is seeing annual salaries as high as $165,500 and as low as $39,000, the majority of Software QA Lead salaries currently range between $88,500 (25th percentile) to $115,000 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $148,000 annually across the United States. The average pay range for a Software QA Lead varies greatly (by as much as $26,500), which suggests there may be many opportunities for advancement and increased pay based on skill level, location, and years of experience.

Based on recent job postings on ZipRecruiter, the Software QA Lead job market in both Hanoi, Vietnam and the surrounding area is very active.

Is QA Lead a good career?

CareerBliss found that QA analyst was ranked #2 on their list of happiest jobs. While this may come as a surprise to many testers and QA professionals, CareerBliss Data Scientists (who did not have the happiest job) took into account many factors including compensation, work environment, growth opportunities, company culture, professional reputation, daily tasks, and relationship with the boss and other co-workers to determine the ranking.