QA Team Lead Job Description
The QA team lead manages processes and personnel to conduct quality assurance testing, typically within a software development organization or department. In this role, the QA team lead develops effective and efficient methods, maintains documentation throughout the QA process, and communicates with development teams to provide a reliable, consistent, and positive end user experience.
The QA team lead conducts rigorous testing throughout the development process, identifying potential issues and reporting them back to development teams. In some cases, the QA team lead is also responsible for developing and implementing fixes and improvements, working with their team and with others in the organization to deploy updates and resolve issues that arise during the QA process.
QA Team Lead Duties and Responsibilities
While the QA team lead’s specific duties can vary from organization to organization, many of the core responsibilities tend to be the same:
Develop QA Processes and Procedures
Many of the duties that fall under the responsibility of the QA team lead involve establishing QA processes and procedures. This can include preparing documents that outline testing processes, generating use cases to ensure that testing captures the software or system’s functional requirements, and enacting test plans for new software products or updates to existing systems. The QA team lead also introduces and updates these processes in collaboration with their team and developers.
Direct QA Teams
QA team leads manage the day-to-day activities of QA team members, including scheduling and managing ongoing projects. They also conduct employee training and evaluation and may provide support during the hiring and onboarding process. QA team leads need to assess current testing needs and schedules and determine staffing needs to effectively conduct the testing. They also oversee team members’ work to ensure that they adhere to specifications.
Identify Bugs and Issues
QA team leads play an active role in software testing, following the processes and procedures that they developed and testing new and updated systems for bugs and other issues. The QA team lead may support compatibility testing, develop and utilize software to capture performance data, and evaluate individual aspects of the software or system including user interfaces and functional requirements.
Throughout the development and QA process, QA team leaders maintain detailed documentation related to the software or system. These documents provide developers and engineers with vital information about software performance and issues and are used in future development work. QA documentation also ensures that systems are adequately tested and that all use cases are accounted for.
Manage Testing Schedules
QA team leads develop, enact, and manage testing schedules, ensuring that the QA team meets expectations and deadlines. These schedules tend to include specific elements of the software or system and frequently need to be completed before developers and engineers can continue with the next phase of development. QA team leads need to monitor team activities to ensure that they meet schedules, specifically when multiple projects are in process at once.
Coordinate Bug Fixes with Development Teams
Finally, QA team leads coordinate bug fixes and software enhancements with development and engineering teams. In some cases, the QA team lead may resolve some of these issues on their own and conduct further testing to ensure stability and usability, but more frequently they will report software and system issues to developers or engineers and test the next iteration of the software to ensure that those bugs have been eliminated.
QA Team Lead Skills and Qualifications
QA team leads direct and manage their teams while also directly working on QA tasks. Companies tend to look for candidates with industry experience and the following skills:
- QA experience – a background in quality assurance is a necessity in this role, since QA team leads need to thoroughly understand processes in order to develop improved and effective procedures
- Team coordination – QA team leads coordinate the activities of their entire department, so effective leadership, scheduling, and management skills are also vital in this role
- Process enhancement – effective QA team leads should always seek out ways to improve processes, so familiarity with process and efficiency enhancement is helpful in this role
- Organization skills – this role requires a high degree of organization to successfully schedule and direct QA procedures and coordinate development and testing processes
- Communication skills – effective verbal and written communication is also important in this role as QA team leads provide reports to developers and engineers to improve software and systems
Tools of the Trade
QA team leads tend to work in office settings, so they should be able to use standard equipment and software in addition to the following:
- Project management software (Trello, Asana)
- Test management software (JIRA, Redmine)
QA Team Lead Education and Training
While there are no formal educational requirements for QA team leads, a background in quality assurance and industry expertise are both very desirable in applicants for this role. In some cases, a member of the QA team can attain a QA lead position based on their track record and personnel management skills.
QA Team Lead Salary and Outlook
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide salary estimates for QA team leads, both Glassdoor and PayScale have gathered data related to this role. PayScale estimates that QA team leads earn a median annual salary of $83,715 per year based on 956 reported salaries, while Glassdoor estimates an average annual salary of $96,342 based on 5,155 salaries.
If you’re interested in learning more about working as a QA team lead, we identified several resources for further reading and information:
“Leadership in Testing: Test Lead Responsibilities and How to Manage Test Team Effectively” – this article explores the duties and responsibilities of the QA team lead, particularly as part of the testing process
Quality Assurance: Applying Methodologies for Launching New Products, Services, and Customer Satisfaction – D. H. Stamatis explores effective quality assurance processes and best practices in a number of industries
“9 Ways to Lead as a QA Manager” – read this article to learn more about the leadership aspects of the QA team lead role as well as tips for effective team coordination and time management
Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams – read about testing and quality assurance, particularly in teams that use the Agile methodology
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