When a project starts to get complex, it needs an organized person capable of leading the process and keeping everything on schedule. Testing, of course, is no different. Managing an interdisciplinary team, various deliverable cycles, and keeping everyone aligned and within the project scope requires an experienced project manager. And with testing, project management is about a lot more than Gantt charts and spreadsheets.
Managing a process, not just tasks
As test velocity increases, teams become compartmentalized. This is simply a result of the increase in work—as volume increases, people retreat into their roles, triage their own tasks, and focus on their immediate responsibilities. If the work gets done, this is great—but the potential for problems is obvious.
This scenario is perhaps the best illustration of what a project manager can bring to a testing team. By watching the entire process at once, critical gaps can be addressed and eliminated.
In addition, the project manager can facilitate communication, serving as a liaison between individual groups. Perhaps more importantly, the project manager helps break down silos that can hinder efficiency.
Focus resources where they are most needed
After meeting deadlines to specification, increasing efficiency is one of the key goals of a project manager. By working across teams and throughout the entire process, the project manager can anticipate capacity issues, identify bottlenecks, and optimize the team for better velocity.
Of course, members of individual teams can step up to fill this role in the absence of a dedicated project manager. However, this forces people to work outside their expertise, taking their time and energy from work at which they’re more productive.
Incorporating a project manager into the testing team allows everyone to focus their strengths and expertise, allowing the process to become much more efficient.
Ensure quality assurance is complete and comprehensive
Because they monitor the entire testing process, project managers are uniquely positioned to lead the quality assurance process. This step is critical for avoiding broken tests and experiences. The project manager has already identified potential problems—as a result of organizing and supervising the entire process—and can give these gaps special attention as he or she leads QA.
For some organizations, testing program project managers might seem like something that’s simply “nice to have.” But for any program hoping to increase velocity and truly grow their testing culture, dedicated project managers provide the essential oversight to maintain consistent, stable growth.