Test manager in Agile environments


Test managers tend to be quite nervous about agile. As the focus of a testing team switches to collaboration on products and projects, rather than testing being an isolated phase or service, it may feel like the need for a test manager disappears. Because testers should be communicating their progress directly within their project teams, providing their estimates as part of an agile methodology and using just-in-time test planning, there is no need for a test manager who acts as an intermediary or overseer at a project level. 

But in general, in agile environments, one could see the test manager role as evolving to a higher-level position that includes:

  • In sprint zero: advisor to the team – how to cope with responsability for quality?
  • Facilitation of inter-team communication across many agile projects within an organization
  • Presenting an aggregate view of testing utilization to high level management
  • Personal support, mentoring, and professional development for testers (e.g. as a line manager)
  • Being an escalation point for testers
  • Budgeting or forecasting for testing as a service (dependent on organizational process – testing as a service must be used)
  • Involved in scrum-of-scrum meetings
  • Providing advice regarding quality
  • As a stakeholder for the product owner
  • Combined with the scrum master role
People Involved

The test manager is the only person involved in this role.


Artifacts of an test manager in an Agile context could be:

  • General test agreements between different Agile teams
Success factors

The success factors of a test manager in Agile are quite diverse. However, they include:

  • To build trusting relationships with their staff
  • Improve the capabilities of the testing group
  • Trust the different teams and facilitate rather than trying to steer them in a direction. 

This building block is inspired by the blog Test Manager in Agile by Katrina Clokie.