STH is back with yet another interview series. This one is for QA/Test lead position. We are going to cover few most common but important QA test lead/manager interview questions and answers.
As always, we will follow the pattern of explanation based answers rather than politically correct ones. Let’s begin.
Typically QA interviewers test all interviewees in 3 major areas:
#1) Core technical knowledge and expertise
Now that we are talking about a QA test lead interview, the process is similar and the way to assess communication remains the same.
Overall cohesiveness, conviction and clarity are few factors that contribute to effective communication. When it comes to evaluating the first two areas for a QA test lead, we can divide the areas where the QA lead interview questions might come from 3 categories:
1) Technical Expertise
2) Team player attitude
3) Management skills
We will take a look at each of these and elaborate further.
test lead interview questions
Test Lead Interview Question on Technical Expertise:
This can be further divided into process and tools based skills. A few sample questions that can be asked are:
Q #1. What were your roles and responsibilities and how was your time divided between tasks in a project?
Normally a test lead works on the project just the way the other team members do. Only 10 %( industry standard, might differ from project to project) of the time is spent on coordination activities.
You can further break this down into saying:
50%- Testing activities- depending on the stage the project is in, this might be test planning, design or execution
20%- client communication and delivery management
Prepare ahead. Have all the numbers figured out ahead of time.
Read also => Test Lead Responsibilities
Q #2. What QA process do you use in your project and why?
When this question is asked to a QA team member, the idea is to assess their familiarity and comfort in using the process in place. But when this question is coming to the team lead, this is to understand your expertise is being able to establish the said process. The best way to go about this is: brainstorm.
A sample answer could be this way: Currently, we follow a mix of both traditional and Agile projects. The way we go about this is: we handle releases in short sprints but within the sprints, we would still create a test plan, test scenarios but not test cases and report the defects as we would in the waterfall model. To track progress we use a scrum board and for defects we use Bugzilla tool. Even though our sprints are short, we make sure that all reviews, reports and metrics happen on time.
You can add more to this: if it is an onsite-offshore model project, if the dev and QA sprints are separated and lag behind one another, etc.
See also => QA processes in end to end real projects
Q #3. What do you consider to be your key accomplishments/initiatives?
Everyone wants a successful manager, not just a manager- hence, this question.
Awards, performance ratings and company-wide recognition (pat-on-back, employee of the month) etc. are all great. But do not discount the day to day accomplishments:
May be you have streamlined the reporting process or simplified a test plan or created a document that can be used to sanity test a system that is complex very minimum supervision when used, etc.
Q #4. Have you been involved in test estimation and how do you do it?
Test estimation gives an approximate idea of how much time, effort and resources are required to test. This will help determine the cost, schedules and feasibility for most projects. Test leads are approached for test estimation at the beginning of every project. Therefore, the answer to the question of whether test estimation was part of the job profile for a QA lead is “Yes”.
The ‘How’ part differs from team to team and lead to lead. If you have used function points or any other techniques, be sure to mention that.
Also, if you have not used those methods and based the estimation totally on historical data, intuition and experience- say so and provide a rationale for doing so.
For example: when I have to estimate my projects or CRs, I simply create basic Test scenarios (high level) ones and get an idea of how many test cases I might be working with and their complexities. Field or UI level test cases can be run and written at a pace of about 50-100 per day/per person. Medium complexity test cases (with 10 or more steps) can be written about 30 per day/per person. High complexity or end to end ones are at a rate of 8-10 per day/per person. All of this is an approximation and there are other factors such as contingencies, team’s proficiency, available time, etc. have to be taken into consideration but this has worked for me in most cases. So, for this question this would be my answer.
Estimations are approximations and are not accurate always. There will always be a give and take. But it is always better for a testing project to overestimate than underestimate.
It is also a good idea to talk about how you have sought the help of your team members in coming up with test scenarios and identifying complexities because this will establish you as a mentor, which every team lead should be.
Read also => How To Be a Good Team Mentor, Coach and a True Team-Defender in an Agile Testing World? – The Inspiration
Q #5. What tools do you use and why?
QA process tools such as HP ALM (Quality center), bug tracking software, Automation software are things that you should be proficient along with all your team members.
In addition to that, if you use any management software such as MS Project, Agile management tools- highlight that experience and talk about how the tool has helped your day to day tasks.
For example: Talk about how you use JIRA for simple defect and task management in your QA Project. In addition to that, if you can talk about the JIRA Agile Add in and how it has helped with Scrumboard creation, planning your user stories, sprint planning, working, reporting etc. that would be great.
Q #6. Process familiarity and Mastery – if you process you follow at your work place is waterfall, onsite-offshore, Agile or anything to that effect, expect detailed Q&A about its implementation, success, metrics, best practices and challenges among other things.
For details check out the below links:
Onsite offshore software testing
Agile testing tutorials
There goes the first section. In the next test lead or test manager interview questions article, we will deal with team player attitude and management related questions.
As a parting note, I would like to bring to your attention that when answering questions in an interview, do not look at it as an examination. Look at it as a platform to brainstorm and put forth your point of view and your individual experiences.
About the author: This article is written by STH team member Swati S.