Monday, December 12, 2005

Group Test Manager - Role Description

I happen get mail from a head hunter, asking me if I am interested in a "Group Test Manager" position in a reputed Company. When I looked at the job description, what surprised me is that - not even once the word "Testing" appeared in the profile of the job that required to manage a group of test managers. I am not sure this "profile acrobatics" is from newbie head hunter or from a HR trainee who was given the task of drafting job requirements for Group Test manager.
What is the problem here? What if the word "testing" does not appear? What is big deal if I confuse "Testing" and "Quality assurence" or "SQA" or "Production Mangement" or "Software process Facilitation"? The danger of such job posting is that it is loose-loose game. As there will be expectation miss match from both sides. It will be good if the expectations are settled down before the person starts the job. If that does not happen then - chances are that either company or the candidate will start looking for alternatives within months in the new job. Think of the cost of recruitment, training, relocation and other indirect costs that involved in bringing a person onboard - especially at such senior level. If, in the beginning, the hiring manager and HR - fail to put right effort in drafting job requirements and matching title, there would be dark clouds over the future.
Notice that in this job description - the pre-requiresites (Excellent Communication, Interpersonal, Analytical Skills) mentioned last and under "Needless to mention" category. It is unfortunate that these essential requirements for the job are taken for granted - is this the case?

Position - Group test manager
Time line - very urgent
Experience 9 to 14 years
Degree in Computer Science or related field or equivalent work experience and
Minimum of 8 years of related experience in SQA and/or Production Management required Combination of equivalent training and related work experience with experience managing technical teams.
Good software engineering process facilitation skills.
Excellent problem resolution, judgment, and decision making skills required.
Strong mentoring, team building, and counseling skills on software engineering and career issues.·
Excellent written and oral communication skills required.
Willingness to travel internationally on a regular basis (at least twice a year)
Nice to have· Overseas experience
Work experience in offshore and outsourced environment
Full SDLC experience· ITSM or Six-Sigma knowledge
Needless to mention: Excellent Communication, Interpersonal, Analytical Skills are pre-requisites.

Here is another example of vague and ambiguous job description. This is from very reputed internet MNC.

Need QA Engineers with 2-6 experience in following

- Experience in Linux, Solaris and Unix
- Experience in White box
- Experience in Seibel and QTP


May God bless - the company who requires people with above mentioned skills, Head hunter who hunts for the people, Interviewer who does the interviews and finally the poor candidate -applying for this job (like someone who enters automobile "spare parts" shop asking for medicines)

Finally, if you are somebody who is currently drafting job descriptions for your test positions - Need help in reviewing and fine tuning them. Feel free to contact me at for my services in this regard.



Anonymous said...


I totally agree with you when it comes to role descriptons.
I have also come across people in HR/Consultants, asking what an OS is ?

Unknown said...

Hello Shrini

Most job descriptions are archaic as the line manager fails to take ownership. The recruiter does not know what to make out and wants to catch some fish and present it to achieve his/her goals.

Whenever I put out a job posting I ask the lead/manager:

1. What is expected of the person for that role
2. Absolutely need for that area as body of knowledge/skill
3. Specific tasks for that role/ability
4. Hard skills (which people call as soft skills) that are required for that competency - Perseverance attention to detail

During the actual interview we need to qualify the essential requirements and take calls/decisions. I am still learning from Peter drucker's principles. Peter Drucker gives pearls of wisdom in Picking people.

1. Think through the assignment
2. Look at a number of potentially qualified people
3. Think hard about how to look at these candidates – Focus on strengths
4. Discuss each of the candidates with several people who have worked with them
5. Make sure the appointee understands the job

Finally I run through Drucker's heuristics -

"If I have put a person into a job and he or she does not perform, I have made a mistake. I have no business blaming that person, no business invoking Peter principle, no business complaining I have made a mistake."

"The soldier has a right to competent command. It is the duty of manager to make sure that the responsible people in their organisation perform."

"Of all decisions an executive makes, none is as important as the decision about people because they determine the performance capacity of the organisation. Therefore, I’d better make these decisions well."

Dhana -

holy said...

good article about QA Job...very informative and beneficial for my company..thx