This article:

  • Explains how a small development organization can benefit from having a different team member perform as a Rotating Quality Assurance (QA) Lead for each sprint.
  • The roles and responsibilities of a Rotating QA Lead.

434 words, estimated reading time 2 minutes.

For small development organizations that do not have a full-time quality assurance (QA) staff, a Rotating QA Lead ensures that each sprint has one team member whose sole focus for that sprint is on quality.

By assigning the Rotating QA Lead role to a different team member for each sprint, all team members acquire hands-on experience with QA processes and skills. Among other benefits, this can help developers who do not have a QA mindset to better understand how code that has quality built in improves the productivity of the entire team.

Examples of Rotating QA Lead Responsibilities

Depending on the organization’s requirements, a Rotating QA Lead team member will have one or more of the following responsibilities:

Role: Requirements Sanity Checker

Tasks: Reviews all tickets that are NEW or Work in Progress (WIP) for the week’s sprint for completeness of requirements.

Comment: Tickets that make it to Technical Team Review (TTR) without complete requirements revert to WIP. The Rotating QA Lead then leads discussion with assignee and team to ensure requirements are clear and complete.

Role: Test Scout

Tasks:

  • Identifies two new integration or end-to-end tests that are required.
  • Writes test scenarios and enters into Jira.
Role: Test Coder

Task: Time permitting, writes code to automate at least 1 test.

Comment: Tests should be previously prioritized tests in a “test backlog” or similar structure.

Role: Stand-up Call Leader (Optional)

Task: Uses the opportunity to improve meeting facilitation skills by leading the established team standups.

Role: Technical Team Review (TTR) Approver

Tasks:

  • Performs user testing to ensure all user requirements are met.
  • Performs technical analysis to ensure all FRs and other technical requirements have been met.
  • Performs browser testing.
  • Inspects client and server logs to ensure warnings and debug output is not present.
  • Upon approval, moves ticket to user acceptance test (UAT) for product owner acceptance.
Role: Code Review Final Approver

Tasks:

  • Ensures that all outstanding Pull Requests (PRs) that need a code review have them by the end of each day.
  • Serves as PR approver on any PR. For PRs that involve migration ensures the DBA has reviewed and approved as well.
  • Enforces that any PR has a :shipit from no less than 2 team members.
Role: First-Responder for Production Support

Tasks:

  • Performs the first-responder protocol and responds to system alerts.
  • Triages issues to other team members as needed.

Summary

QA is often overlooked, ignored and postponed and the excuse is typically, lack of time and resources. This approach to rotating the roles and tasks of QA should at least remove the excuses and at best ensure that essential QA tasks are completed.

About the Author

John Lorance

John Lorance

VP, Engineering

John Lorance brings 20+ years of hands-on software and data system development experience, providing technical and executive-level management leadership to multiple early stage startups. As Telegraph Hill’s VP of Engineering he leads development of Telegraph’s Interim CTO practice, delivering critical engineering management support and agile coaching to startups and organizations undergoing digital transformation. He is a particular expert in leading global development teams, with successful outcomes as a result of effective team communication and inclusive stakeholder input.