So by now you would have realised that projects run using waterfall methodologies are from the Triassic period and Agile is the new kid on the block and here to stay (well for the next six months at least..). And, the traditional role of a Test Manager seems no more, almost extinct like the Tyrannosaurs. But wait, just because testers are working in collaboration with the project teams and reporting, estimating and planning directly with them doesn’t mean the Test Management role is dead as a Dodo, no far from it.
If you’ve ever seen Jurassic World you’ll know that they managed to engineer a new breed of dinosaur and like the dinosaur Test Managers have evolved as well; taking on a far larger role than ever before, working at a higher level across many Agile projects within their organisation. Their role has become even more so important as their role encompasses the personal support of the Agile Tester, providing coaching and mentoring and being the first point of contact for issues and guidance. Additionally, the role of a Test Manager in an Agile world is to present an overall view of testing, how it is being utilised and how each Agile project interacts with one another.
The modern day Agile tester works mainly in a silo not knowing what other Agile projects are doing. As a result, the Test Manager who operates more at what would be described as a programme or business unit level; who has a holistic view across many Agile projects, is ideally placed not only to see how to build capacity and skills strategically (as they will have an overall view of the pipeline and to see when more people are needed and what skills people need to develop as the products and landscape changes) but also to bring all the testers together and give them leadership and guidance and to leverage the best of breed from lessons learnt.
So, before you think of banishing the Test Manager to the museum, take some of their DNA as you’ll need them sooner than you think as their role still has a place in today’s ever changing environment.