Time is on My Watch: The Oft-Forgotten Role of QA Management

Posted by Jacob Stevens on January 30, 2009

Time equals quality. We know this. We’re also wary of feature creep, and we know that quality isn’t guaranteed solely by simply putting forth the time. Not even close. But when it’s all said and done, we know it: quality takes time.

Most of the effort of a QA manager is not to manage time, but to manage within time.The effort is spent on process. Streamlining. Documenting. Tracking. Measuring. Organizations pay QA managers to assure quality, by managing how to do things. And thankfully it isn’t uncommon for the how to include when to do things.

Or perhaps more accurately, when in a relational order of process. Too often, QA does not own or is not included in the decisions that set schedule and milestones. When QA is involved, too often the QA managerial role over time, over assuring quality by assuring adequate time, not just for testand verification but for all components of the project or the product group – too often that is forgotten or neglected, due to QA management itself.

It’s easy to get into a project manager mentality when overseeing any quality assurance efforts. In essence, QA managers are simply a specialized PM, and test leads specialized PjMs. It’s one cog in a larger piece, a greater purpose, and I’m not suggesting QA managers ought to hold in higher regard the importance of their own objectives than that of the team or product group. I’m simply reflecting on the ultimate role of QA management, the ultimate goals, and noting that a very effective tool – that also happens to be mandatory in some quantity or another – in assuring quality of project or product, is allocation of time.

Too often we forget that. But as QA managers, we’re still responsible for it, regardless of who sets the schedule. So don’t let Mick Jagger fool you – time isn’t always on your side. But your job is to assure quality, and quality takes time, so time is on your watch.