Innovation in Software Testing; Is it Technology or Management ?

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    One of my friend from Software Testing Innovation center happened to attend an interview as a process of new employment. He was interviewed to set up an Innovation Lab for Software Testing. Since he is very strong at Software Testing Technicality, he easily got passed in initial 4-5 rounds. His last round was with Director and QA head of that company and he got rejected based on insufficient management skills.

    Innovation in any industry is tightly attached with the core technicality, that industry is running on.

    To share an example, I was reading a local newspaper on a weekend. There was a blog from one of the reputed Travel Tour Company. Managing Director of that company mentioned in her blog that, in spite of being MD she ensures that she conducts approx. 5-7 tours in year as a tour manager. Getting involved as a Tour Manager gives her real time feedback from the tourists (end users), which at the end help her company to enhance the tour promotions. For her, execution of tour is core technicality which gives birth to innovative ideas. So being technical to make effective decision is really important.

    Understanding management process to implement innovative ideas is also important. To be a good manager, one has to be well versed with the project implementation processes, identifying risks, taking actions/preventing risks, people management skills etc. Every company has unique process to implement the projects and that can be learned if your goals are to make career in management areas. There are courses / master’s program which guide or train on management skills.

    Let’s see the skills of Innovator. Innovator are passionate about the techniques they are working on. They always challenges to the processes, predefined structures/workflows, existing techniques etc. which all are correlated to the technicality of that industry / business unit. Tasks are never planned, no in-scope/out-scope, blank on estimations and outcomes. Work is all the time scattered, messy, highly in disciplined. Innovator can only visualize and work towards those visions. Innovation may not succeed all the time. There isn’t any course or master’s program to train to be an Innovator, there isn’t any curriculum track. You just have to work, work and work on the techniques. Your thoughts, ideas, devotion gives birth to the skills of Innovator. When it comes to Innovation in Software Testing, technicality is utmost important. Innovator need to know developers view as well as what a noraml tester would do on it. Software Testing Innovator has to go beyond normal devlopment, testing, implementation techniques and invent something different.

    Skills of Manager and Innovator is just like the two opposite sides of the pole. This discussion is not to judge who is good or bad, each role is equally important but cannot be found in one person.

    The Tourist company’s example shared at the start may need management experience to implement the new ideas, however for software testing it has to be full of technical experience and very little portion of management skills.

    Please share your opinions, views to help my friend

    <span style=”font-size: medium;”> </span>



    I feel,
    Testing job teach me every day many management techniques, excluding technology – I learned day to day in my routine job about Planning, Lifecycle, Monitoring, Control, Analysis, Design, Execution, Evaluating, Estimation and Metrics, Business Value, Audits, Improvements, Communication, Documentation, Industry Standards(CMMi, TPI, CTP, STEP, ISO/IEC/IEEE 29119).

    Software Testing is more routine job 🙂 & I always enjoyed it 😛



    I would say that the innovation in software testing should be knowledge related ( might also cover management).

    Nobody can predict what the job description of a tester would be, but I believe we can all agree that the requirements will divers and changing all the time. In order to coupe with this, I believe you need strong knowledge base and adaptability skills.

    I cannot agree that “Software Testing is more routine job”, I would say that in testing software sometimes involves routines.


    Hi Meena,
    I think your friend got the priorities mixed up. The job was “to set up an Innovation Lab for Software Testing”. The important thing is to get the lab working, which requires management skills. Being an innovator does not require management skills.
    So while it will be greatly beneficial to have an innovative mindset the management side will be more important, especially at the start up phase.

    : I guess software testing can be a routine job when you always get the same sort of software and you always test it the same way. If I ever get to be in that position I will need to find a new job…


    When you need to get people on board because you are going to be making changes you need to have great management skills I think. It definitely helps selling an idea to a team if you also have the technical know how and can relate to their every day jobs.

    There has to be a balance. I guess it depends on what the actual roles and responsibilities would have been. To be an innovator is to be a salesman and this may not be natural to very technical people who tend to be more convinced about facts and be rather dry. This is of course complete over exaggeration.

    But anyways, my two cents. How is your friend feeling now @Meena ?


    I feel that as a software testing professional, we should not get satisfied with our work, we should keep on questioning the process, techniques used and identify the gaps for improvement, always there should be an urge to bring some improvements. keep our minds open for suggestions / concerns. but all these can be achieved only by better managements skills. From my perspective technical knowledge + management skills would automatically bring innovation in to the team.


    Here is one more view from one of my friend.

    “Many a career and many innovations would never have succeeded, had they not been MANAGED. I strongly feel that hard core technical resources should not only be good at their chosen area of technology and innovation, but also at managing it (marketing it, convincing people who matter that their innovation is the thing to go for), if they want to derive the maximum satisfaction from being a technical expert. In the by-gone days, these were indeed two separate fields – technology anid management I mean. However, in today’s highly volatile and ever-changing technology world, most technical experts are busy MANAGING their own innovations and ideas and selling them to the market. It becomes very difficult to find a mentor for your technological innovations, because there are so many others just like you – and a management mentor or seller will pick and choose what he wants to market or sell.

    Bottom line is that you as a technology expert have to do the job of the manager as well, you need to convince the powers that be – your innovation has the “WOW factor” as they call it and why it should be out there being used.”

    Thanks Gauri for your comments.

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