A Day In the Life of a Test Manager

NOTE: Please review the last of this post if you are interested in an upcoming e-book.

During the last 4 months, I conducted a research project for an area I felt would be a great conference presentation on test managers.  My goal was to do the following:

  • Interview experts and practitioners in the field on three discussion questions
  • Create a 50 question survey
  • Initiate discussions on my blog regarding test managers and test management
  • Initiate discussions on multiple LinkedIn sites for test managers and test management

Through the four months, I was able to gather input, quotes, and feedback from over 10 experts and practitioners in the field.  I received an enormous outpouring of support and notes through the blog sites and LinkedIn groups.  I was amazed at the amount of valuable data that was provided throughout the course of this research.

The most awesome part of the research project and data gathering was that my survey resulted in 275 survey takers, and the most revealing part of this was the three discussion questions at the end of my survey which were:

  • Why did you want to be a Test Manager? (173 out of 275 gave detailed responses)
  • What 3 to 5 things would you do differently if you had the authority to choose how your day would look?  (148 out of 275 gave detailed responses)
  • Which topics within your organization do you feel there is a lack of alignment or agreement? (136 out of 275 gave detailed responses)

I was able to condense the overflowing data into a 75 min presentation, which I shared at the Software Test Professionals Conference (STPCon) on April 23, 2013.  You can see the presentation on YouTube (see below)

My next step is to compile all of the interviews, responses, survey notes, and other valuable data into a detailed e-book on the subject, and once published, I will share with everyone for a very affordable price.  If you are interested in this e-book and would like to be notified when it is ready you can do one of the following:

  • Add your email to the blog (over on the right) to be notified when I add new blog updates/posts (least favorable, probably)
  • Post a comment on this post with your email I can use to notify you of updates to the e-book
  • Email me at mikewlyles@gmail.com and let me know you’d like to be notified when the e-book is ready

I want to thank everyone who contributed to the survey, to the experts that gave their time and quotable material, to all those who posted on my blog, to those who joined in on conversations in LinkedIn, and also to Software Test Professionals for giving me the opportunity to share the information with a very large attending group at the conference!  Without you guys, none of this would have been possible!

Best Regards,

Mike

Staying Relevant in the Testing World

I have been so fortunate to be a speaker at two conferences in the last two weeks.  I was in Chicago at QUEST2013 to speak on “Building a Successful Test Center of Excellence” on April 16-18, and at the time of this writing, I am in San Diego at STPCon (A Software Test Professionals conference), where I am speaking on multiple topics:

  • A Day In the Life of a Test Manager
  • Pre-Conference Workshop segment: “Test Metrics: A Case Study
  • Gambling with your Test Estimates
  • Building A Successful Test Center of Excellence

I have been able to connect to some of the luminaries in the testing community these past two weeks, and to be part of their circles, communicate new ideas, share our thoughts on testing and the future of testing, and to think beyond the boundaries of imagination for what we can accomplish together…..well that is simply mind blasting!

So, to all the readers who are coming to this site – this may be your first time.  You may have just heard me stand up and present to you for an hour or two.  If so, hopefully you were impressed – not with my abilities at public speaking, my wit, my communication skills – but hopefully with the keen obviousness of the passion I have to help others grow and my ability to share, with everyone that I meet, something that they can take with them and use.

If you have attended my conference presentations, I would love to hear feedback and inputs.  If you have not, keep looking… I may be coming to your town next!

In closing, I made a commitment to my conference attendees – and that was for two things on my blog by the first of next week:

  1. Links & Materials: A blog posting for sites and reading materials which can help every test professional grow and increase their knowledge in the real world.  I plan to have this posting up so that you can have a one-stop location (my site!) to get you started on your vast travels through the world of testing.
  2. A Day In the Life of a Test Manager:  I spent almost four months compiling data, interviewing test professionals and well known names in the field, creating a 50 question survey (that was taken by 275 people), compiling notes from blogs, linkedIn discussions, and other avenues, and created a presentation which was shared with the testing community on Tuesday, April 23.  My presentation was 1 hour 15 mins, therefore, the immense amount of data that I had compiled for this research was much more than could be shared in that short amount of time.  I shared highlights and touched on what is in the complete paper, and I plan to post a link on my site which will provide everyone the ability to get their hands on the detailed book of information that was gathered.

Please keep visiting the site.  I plan to dedicate a lot of time to getting these two posts up in the next week.  And I solicit your inputs and comments and request that you click the button to “Follow by Blog via Email“.  You have no idea how much interaction with each of you excites me.  It was my purpose in life to share with you things which can help both of us grow.  Let’s grow together!

Sincerely,

Mike

Test Manager Survey – Running Now Through Saturday, March 23

** NOTE ** DUE TO THE OVERWHELMING RESPONSE I AM WRAPPING UP THE SURVEY ON SATURDAY, MARCH 23, TO ALLOW ME TO START COMPILING THE RESULTS AMD START MY PRESENTATION EARLY. IF YOU HAVEN’T TAKEN THE SURVEY YET PLEASE TAKE IT BEFORE END OF DAY ON SATURDAY, MARCH 23RD **

If you’re in the testing profession, especially if you’re a Test Manager, I am reaching out to everyone to get input for a survey that I have created to pull information related to Test Managers and the profession.

I am using this information to review within a presentation that I am preparing for the Software Test Professionals conference in San Diego, CA (STPCon) April 22-25, 2013.

Please go to the following link and take the survey – the questions are very simple and should only take a few mins to go through and respond. Also, please share the link with all that you know that could submit responses as well. Here’s the link!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/mike-lyles-test-manager-survey

Thank you so much in advance for your help!

What do YOU know about Test Managers?

Calling all testing professionals, practitioners, and enthusiasts!

I’m working on the material for my STPCon presentation “A Day In The Life of a Test Manager” in San Diego (April 22-25,2013) and I’m soliciting your inputs on specific areas you would like to discuss in the course. As I wrap up my own plans and ideas, I’d like to pull in specific input from this forum to add additional material to the presentation.

The following is the description of the presentation

Test Managers: the world is full of them. But do we really know what they do? Does your organization agree on the core roles and responsibilities? The answer is probably “No” for many organizations. This session will examine the day-to-day life of past and present test managers, case studies on their practices, review results of a survey taken among various test managers, and suggestions on which responsibilities need to be core in a successful quality organization.

I plan to have topics regarding Test Managers and Test management that are common among all organizations as debate items – specific discussions where half the room may feel one way and the other half feel another way.

Some questions that I am currently polling various groups on are:

  1. How would you describe the roles, responsibilities of a Test Manager? What are the skill sets that successful future Test Managers should possess?
  2. What are the challenges of the Test Manager Role in your view? Does the role vary a lot across industry or the core of the role remains same always? How important is People Management as a skill required for a Test Manager role? What weightage (%) would you give it in the role for a TM.
  3. Which are the major conflict zones in a testing organization , internally within themselves and externally with the other teams – PMO, Development , SCM, Release Management team, Maintenance team , Environment teams .

I appreciate any inputs you have or areas where, if you were an attendee to a conference presentation of this title, would want to see discussed.

Thanks in advance for your inputs and help!!  Please add your ideas, notes, suggestions, questions, comical remarks, or just simply your support as comments below!!!

NOTE: Come back in a few days – I will be posting a survey for which I will be putting together questions that both I (and each of YOU!!) have put together, for a survey on Test Managers, which will be used to share the results with conference attendees!