So you want to be a Test Lead and don’t know how to start?

A Test Lead usually manages the testing for a project or a subset of a projects depending on how big it is and what’s required overall. A test lead role is not typically a managerial role but in some cases it may to lead to that.

Assuming you came from a tester background, it might not be hard to start. You will ease into the position with little effort since you already know what the testers you’ll be leading do for their jobs. Politics and planning should be considered. And you will need to grasp what needs to be done day-to-day but the transition should be reasonably easy. If you have a mentor that makes life even easier, so try to find someone that you can easily take advice and information from.

If you don’t have a testing background the challenge becomes a little more difficult. We have run into a number of organisations who are parachuting people into test lead roles without any background. This is largely because the actual testers have been moved to an offshore location so there is no need for any local testers and no pool from which to recruit test leads from. People are landing in the role with no idea what to expect and no background. Even the terminology is unfamiliar.

For these people test lead training is critical. You need to understand what testers are talking about when it comes to routine tasks. Understanding the language of the role will make everything more efficient and ultimately more successful.

Networking with other industry professionals by joining LinkedIn groups and your local Quality Assurance associations. You can consider a certification depending on whether the funds and time permit you to pursue it.

There is nothing worse than not knowing what to expect or how to handle it.