Baptism of Fire – Lessons Learned from My First Year in QA Leadership

Having been in Software engineering for 11 years and QA for 7 years, in June 2017, I became a QA Engineering Manager. Without any training, I went from Technical Lead to QA Manager almost overnight. I’ll admit, I felt like an imposter, if it hadn’t been for the support from my manager in particular, I’m not sure how I would have proceeded. It was always a change I wanted to make but was I prepared for the next 12 months?

From day 1 and from no fault of the company, I needed to take on managing the local QA team and build a brand new team in Cork, Ireland too. My eyes were open to the fact there were big differences between the lead role and the management role. This talk will go through what I had to overcome in my first year and also the main lessons I learned in those 12 months.

Over that year, some of the hurdles to overcome were the following:

– Hiring and coaching a whole new team in a remote location
– Resignations from local team
– A disciplinary process to go through
– In-team disputes

Below are some of the lessons I learned:

– Encouraging and advocating technical decisions from your team rather than making them myself
– Always putting your people first, coaching and supporting them
– Dealing with people’s reaction to you after a title change and having a consistent approach with all team members
– Not taking resignations personally