Role: Test Designer
The Test Designer role is responsible for defining the test approach
and ensuring its successful implementation. The role involves identifying
the appropriate techniques, tools and guidelines to implement the required
tests, and to give guidance on the corresponding resources requirements
for the test effort.
Roles organize the responsibility for performing activities and developing
artifacts into logical groups. Each role can be assigned to one or more people,
and each person can fill one or more roles. When staffing the Test Designer role, you need to consider
both the skills required for the role and the different approaches you can take
to assigning staff to the role.
In some development cultures, this role is referred to as the Test Architect,
Test Automation Architect or Test Automation Specialist role.
This section provides links to additional information related to this role.
The appropriate skills and knowledge for the Test Designer role include:
- experience in a variety of testing efforts
- diagnostic and problem solving skills
- broad knowledge of hardware and software installation and setup
- experience and success with the use of test automation tools
- programming skills (preferable)
- programming team lead and software design skills (highly desirable)
- indepth knowledge of the system or application-under-test (desirable)
This role is primarily responsible for:
- Identifying and describing appropriate test techniques
- Identifying the appropriate supporting tools
- Defining and maintaining a Test Automation Architecture
- Specifying and verifying the required Test Environment Configurations
- Verify and assess the Test Approach
The Test Designer role can be assigned in the following ways:
- Assign one staff member to perform the Test Designer role only. This is
a commonly adopted approach and is particularly suitable for large to mid-sized
- Assign one staff member to perform both the Test Designer and Test Manager roles.
This strategy is a good option for small test teams. A person filling both
these roles needs to have strong management and leadership skills as well
as strong technical skills and experience.
- Assign one staff member to perform both the Test Designer and Software Architect
roles. This strategy is also an option for small test teams. A person filling
both these roles needs to have strong technical skills and experience in
software design and usually skills and experience test automation.
- Assign one staff member to perform both the Test Designer and Test Analyst roles.
This strategy is another option for small to mid-sized test teams. You need
to be careful that the minutia of the Test Analyst role does not adversely
effect the responsibilities of the Test Designer role. Mitigate that
risk by assigning less critical Test Analyst tasks to a person filling both
these roles, leaving the most important tasks to team members without the
Test Designer responsibilities.
We recommend reading Kaner, Bach & Pettichord's Lessons Learned in Software
Testing [KAN01], which contains an excellent
collection of important concerns for test teams. Of special interest to the
Test Designer role are the chapters on Testing techniques, Test automation
and Test planning and strategy.
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