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Software Test Architect – Role and Responsibilities

Testing as a career offers testers many avenues to pursue their career goals and aspirations. Testers often follow a structured path from being a junior engineer to high-quality engineering positions, such as test leadership roles, before encountering one path to Management and another to Technical growth. While the Management career path is very well known and Managers seem like a ten-case!, the Technical path seems a little vague especially if you have a few Senior Technical Leaders in the Test field to look for in your organization. The purpose of this post is to hopefully shed some light on the role of the Test Architect as part of the Technical growth path in Testing.

Without further ado, let’s jump right in.

The Test Architect (TA) role is a senior position in the organization and is treated on a par with Management positions in terms of rewards, recognition, visibility and influence. However, one key factor that differentiates a TA from a Manager is the lack of direct responsibility for managing people. While Managers tend to have people management as a core feature of the job, TAs do not directly manage people. However, this in no way precludes TA from the hookHence, influencing, advising, coaching and providing guidance to members of the Test Organization – all very important responsibilities of a TA.

Test Architect –

  • Provides Technical Leadership and Strategic Management to the Test Organization (TO).
  • is responsible for the formulation of the Test Strategy
  • helps Formation and Development of effective Test Architecture according to organizational needs
  • Technically responsible for all tests conducted by the TO
  • The Technical Authority is at the forefront and is responsible for the overall quality of the deliverables across all dimensions, both functional and non-functional including performance, security, usability, etc.
  • Expected to proactively analyze current processes and practices and recommend/implement improvements. At the same time, it defines the processes that are needed
  • has a broad scope, influence and impact that transcends the boundaries of the TO and spans the entire product organization.
  • It is the opposite part of the architect of development
  • Involved in driving organization-wide Quality Process initiatives and implementing them to ensure Product Quality
  • A “big and full” picture view of the product, its connections, organizational goals, technology area, etc. takes over and helps guide and direct the work of the TO.
  • influences the direction, strategy and future planning of the product organization
  • Collaborates effectively and consistently with all components involved in product development and release activities, including development, testing, technical publications, marketing, program management, and other organizations to ensure implementation and delivery of each plan.
  • participates in customer engagement and provides necessary technical product support to customer facing organizations in creating presentations, demos, pocs, etc. Also, receives and analyzes current customer feedback to identify deficiencies as well as work with implementation/sustainability agencies as needed. The customer engagement activity also includes alpha / beta testing opportunities and acts as a liaison with customers and partners while ensuring that the Test strategy is appropriately aligned.
  • assists with Test plan development
  • responsible for the design and development of the TO’s Test Automation framework/chain and any internal tools required. Where the tools do not fully meet the requirements of the TO, the TA writes code / components that can extend the available tools or design and develop the tools according to the requirements.
  • Contributes to the understanding of Business requirements and works with the development architect to translate requirements into solution architecture designs. Evaluates requirements and seeks clarity as needed, participates in product design reviews and works with the development architect and development team to make design improvements and refinements as needed. It also helps to implement Testability requirements in the design
  • Analyzes competitive products and technologies and makes appropriate recommendations (may use demos, pocs) to influence product/technology direction.
  • has general product knowledge and can lead both junior and senior team members
  • affect the technical direction and the use of technologies after the necessary evaluations
  • participating in hiring activities for TO and mentoring TO team members
  • proactively seeks to make continuous improvements to Test coverage, execution and automation
  • is result oriented and has a high level of responsibility, commitment and accountability. The hope is that involving a TA in a project is a guarantee of achieving positive results
  • Contribute to the test plan for all products handled by the TO and possess test skills such as test specifications, code, etc.
  • Growth is from a TA level upwards to a more senior role with a wider scope of activity and influence across the organisation. Needless to say, there is a marked improvement in accountability and regulation as upward progress occurs along the growth path.

Some characteristics expected from a Test Architect

  • Broad Technical Skills that include Product, Technology and Competitive knowledge. Good knowledge of the domain/areas to be handled is essential. It is not enough to be an expert in one area or technology and requires a broad and very deep understanding of a gamut of technologies and tools.
  • Extensive knowledge of current industry Quality & Test processes and practices, Tools and techniques
  • Ability to work in teams. This point cannot be stressed enough because at this point it is the last thing to be accepted. silo movement or just trying to be one personal star theater Being able to take the team to a remarkable level is definitely important here. The “law of influence” is very important despite the lack of direct reporting relationships. In this position, a high EQ is as much a requirement as a high IQ. The ability to collaborate and collaborate is important
  • Excellent communication skills – within and outside the TO, across teams, with customers – both horizontally and vertically, is essential. Effective communication skills are also very important.
  • Another aspect that is very important is an excellent working relationship with the Manager. No, I’m not saying this because I’m seen on the Management side! The fact is that to be a successful TA, it is necessary to work closely with the Administration, keeping the Administration informed and updated about developments, seeking and providing data and feedback, regular reporting, etc. is very important. This feature cannot be emphasized enough
  • The ability to focus and prioritize is important. It is important to understand the difference between urgent and important tasks and effective priorities
  • Must focus on explicit and implicit customer/user needs
  • Self-regulation is a key characteristic expected of TAs. It’s important to work without the need for “too much” monitoring or management. The TA must be self-motivated and a self-starter. No, this does not absolve the Administrator of the responsibilities of running the TA as needed!, but the TA needs very little follow-up to get things done. The expectation is that when TA is assigned to a specific product, project or area, positive and agreed results are almost always guaranteed.
  • The ability to motivate yourself and others is important. Also, it is important to be able to set a good example for other TO members
  • The ability to set goals is also important. In many cases, the TA will need to define and set goals including stretch goals as appropriate
  • Patience and flexibility are valuable, especially in all interactions with team members. This is especially true when trying to lead or lead other team members, the ability to communicate in ways that are understood by listeners at their level is necessary while also having good listening skills. . The humility to acknowledge the need for continuous learning and to put in place a learning program is essential to continuously update skills and keep abreast of current developments in the industry.
  • Ability to strategize and look ahead and at the big picture
  • A lot of maturity, responsibility, a high level of integrity, the highest levels of pro-active behavior, initiative skills and professional behavior are naturally expected of TAs.
  • Sound Project Management skills are essential
  • Knowledge/experience of Software Analysis & Design required while also having a solid background in Software Quality & Testing. Must have hands-on experience performing both functional and non-functional testing and be able to evaluate requirements, design and even code required.

I hope the above is useful in gaining a general understanding of the Test Architect role and some of the expectations surrounding this position. The above list is by no means exhaustive or a complete representation of the responsibilities/requirements of the Test Architect role. Each organization and even groups within the larger organization will have their own expectations that form part of the Test Architect contract. However, most or all of the elements mentioned above will exist in one form or another.

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