During discussions in class about process-related topics such as Creating a traceability matrix or test documentation review, beginners often ask, “Who is responsible for this task? The QA lead or the team member?”
This uncertainty indicates a lack of understanding of work scope, roles, and responsibilities. Beginners and even managers/leads/coordinators struggle with defining and delegating work due to this lack of clarity. Figuring out who should do what becomes a dilemma for QA leads.
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Like some of you, I also wondered if the QA leads themselves have a clear understanding. Can’t they figure it out as they go? In reality, this approach often compromises efficiency and quality.
To avoid these issues, we have outlined the major tasks and responsibilities of the QA team lead in the Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC) in the table below:
Responsibilities of the QA Team Lead for Different QA Activities:
|STLC Activity||QA Team Lead Tasks||Team Member Tasks|
|Project Kickoff- Start||Create and present the project highlights to the QA team and other stakeholders||Assist the team lead and provide feedback on any improvements or inconsistencies|
|Test Planning||Create, maintain, manage, and enforce the test plan
Conduct risk analysis and management
|Provide inputs on areas of the test plan document, such as:
and any other relevant areas
|Requirement Gathering||Divide work based on application modules and assign team members as points of contact
Schedule requirement gathering activities
Communicate expected outcomes (e.g., condensed list of requirements, understanding document)
|Be responsible for individual modules
Gather requirements through BRD/FRD review or walkthrough meetings
Present/document requirements in the expected format and within the allocated time
Provide suggestions or alternate points of view if needed
|Test Scenario Creation||Allocate work
Participate in test scenario creation
|Create test scenarios within the agreed timeline and format
Seek resolution from the team lead or relevant technical teams when questions arise
|Test Case Documentation||Allocate work
Write test cases
|Create test cases and data (if applicable)|
|Traceability Matrix Creation||Create template and provide guidelines on TM creation
Collaborate with the team to create the TM
|Contribute to the creation of the TM for assigned modules|
|Test Documentation Review (Internal)||Establish review rules
Set timelines and responsibilities
Be a part of the review process
|Perform review based on the established rules and provide non-personal comments on peers’ work|
|Test Documentation Review (External)||Notify the BA and/or dev team about test documentation readiness for review
Send the work product for review
|Be prepared to incorporate suggested changes during the review process|
|Test Readiness Review||Create the review checklist
Conduct the review and present results to the project manager
Perform basic sanity and smoke tests
Determine if the team is ready to proceed with testing
|Follow instructions for readiness
Perform basic smoke and sanity tests for assigned modules
|Test Execution||Consider team inputs when setting test execution guidelines
Assist new testers in familiarizing themselves with the application
Review team members’ reported defects for validity and completeness
Escalate showstoppers and make decisions on next steps
|Execute test cases, update test case statuses, and report progress
Immediately notify of showstoppers or issues impacting timelines
Comprehensively report defects
|Reporting||Send daily status reports to stakeholders
Represent the QA team in status meetings
Collect testing metrics
|Assist the team lead in their tasks|
|Test Closure||Evaluate exit criteria to determine when to stop testing
Share results of the exit criteria evaluation
Prepare the test closure report with QA sign off and a list of known issues
Collect project details for retrospection
|Assist the team lead in test closure tasks|
|User Acceptance Testing (UAT)||Gather acceptance criteria from UAT users
Share acceptance criteria with the team
Collaborate on UAT test case creation
Provide UAT training if necessary
Be available for UAT assistance
Perform UAT tasks and present results
|Create or gather UAT test cases
Perform or assist in UAT as needed
For more information about the processes mentioned in the table, click on the following links:
- Test plan creation
- Requirement gathering and test scenario writing
- Test case writing
- Test documentation review
- Traceability matrix creation
- Test readiness review and exit criteria checklist
- Status reporting
- User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
Tips for QA Team Members:
1) Take responsibility for the quality of your work. Don’t expect the team lead to fix any issues you encounter.
2) Be self-sufficient. Avoid relying on the team lead for daily instructions.
3) Communicate any concerns, red flags, or issues in advance.
4) Reach out to developers/BAs/technical teams directly for functional or technical questions, if possible.
Tips for QA Team Leads:
1) Consider the team’s opinions on timelines, schedules, and effort estimations.
2) Establish robust processes that allow the team to work independently with minimal supervision.
3) Foster open communication and be approachable.
4) Share responsibilities and be a team player.
About the author: This article is written by STH team member Swati S.
That concludes the tasks and duties of QA team leads and members in a typical QA team. Please share your experiences, comments, and questions below.