For three years now I have been a line manager for test engineers. I would say it is a continued journey and I’m still learning. I did not have the perfect experience going into my first management role. However, a gentlemen called Dan took a bet on me and gave me an opportunity to be a test manager (thank you). Since then I have moved onto a second managerial role at a different company. I originally decided to get into management to help guide and support test engineers in the field.

Throughout these three years I have learnt a lot. This particular post is going to delve into “the advice monster”. As I’m in the quality field, I call this, the testing monster — this monster jumps out and scares you when you least expect it.

A colleague mentioned that they’d like to see what this monster looked like, so here is a picture:

This monster would jump out in 1–1s/ad hoc chats with my reports or other members of the team about all things quality. In reflection, in part, this was down to my habit as a tester. To question, discuss and solve problems together. However, in a management role, this doesn’t help test engineers at all. They need the room to think, learn and adapt. If you’re trying to give advice all the time, then you’re not giving the space for them to evolve. Sure there will be times when you guide, but more often than not, the help should be asked for.

So, my advice to any new test managers is to simply be quiet! Ask open questions like what’s on your mind? what can you learn from this? how can you be better? If you see your report pausing to think before they answer, then you’re probably on the right track.

I definitely miss technical discussions and talking all things quality, however, my main learning is to guide either 1) when it’s asked for 2) things are going massively off track.

Test team leader sharing my knowledge, experience and thoughts on testing related matters.