The Makings of a QA Leader at ST&P Conference

STP LogoThis post contains the results from the second of two sessions that I facilitated at the Software Test and Performance Conference in Boston. This session was held in the largest of the available rooms, and it we nearly filled it.

I asked the participants to think back to the very best leaders that they had worked with in their QA careers. I pointed out that a leader is not necessarily a manager, as informal leadership can often be very powerful. We then used the Group Wisdom Without Groupthink process to collect and rank answers to the question:
“What separates the most effective leaders from the rest?”

Over the course of an hour, we generated and ranked over 40 answers to this question. These are listed below, in the order that the group ranked them.

Tier One
Straight shooter
Creates an environment of trust

Tier Two
Open to new ideas
Takes blame/Gives Credit
Knows the job (Leading from experience)

Tier Three
Great communicator
Shielding from politics
Big picture
Can push back to upper mgmt.
Active listener
Lets me make mistakes
Subtle influencer, “A benevolent manipulator”

Tier Four
Obstacle remover

Tier Five
Timely, supportive feedback
Works for you first
Ability to get things w/o explicit authority
Political savvy
Builds skills

Tier Six
Positive reinforcement
Self-aware/Emotional intelligence
Walks the talk

Tier Seven
Balance team’s needs with business needs
Good judgment
Rolls up their sleeves

Tier Eight
Asks open questions
Does the management job
Stays calm
Consensus builder
Pursues staff’s interests

You may find it interesting to compare these results with those from the workshop that I facilitated at the Targeting Quality conference in Waterloo, Ontario: From Tester to Leader.

Also relevant are the results from these similar workshops:
IEEE Group Answers: “What makes an engineering manager great?”
Bay Area Engineering Managers Support Group (plus ‘Group X’)

These results on retaining key employees seem relevant as well.



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1 thought on “The Makings of a QA Leader at ST&P Conference

  1. Matt Goodman

    Thanks Chris for getting this information posted. The process for identifying these traits (group think without group pressure) was useful, and will find a way into my toolbox.
    Your Benevolent Manipulator,
    Matt Goodman


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