Roles and Responsibilities Inside a Software Testing Team

Alona O. by Alona O. on 01/5/2024

Roles and Responsibilities Inside a Software Testing Team

Software testing is a set of techniques to check if a digital product meets its technical requirements. Due to the complex and multi-level nature of the testing process, it is rarely performed by one person but by a team of professionals with a strictly defined area of expertise and job duties for each individual. In today’s post, we’re taking a closer look at the QA team structure and breaking down the software testing team roles alongside their responsibilities during a project.

QA Team Responsibilities

History knows a lot of embarrassing examples of software not being tested properly, like Apple’s group FaceTime issue or the Windows 10 problem with the Surface Book 2, that taught the IT industry to take QA seriously. No wonder tech companies nowadays strive for well-established quality assurance departments. To give you an idea of what you should expect from your software testing team, here are its most important responsibilities listed.

Requirements Analysis

Before diving into the testing or planning stages, it’s crucial for the test team to thoroughly understand the client’s expectations for the upcoming product. This stage also includes testing  Service Level Agreements (SLAs) between the company that owns an application and its future users. 

Test Planning

Gone are the days when quality assurance teams would just sit back and wait for developers to finish a product before starting their work. Now, test planning and case development kick off simultaneously with, or even before, the software development process. This approach calls for collaborative roundtable discussions, dynamic brainstorming sessions, and thorough research involving all key team members. That’s why the roles and responsibilities of quality assurance teams are constantly evolving to align better with these advanced processes.

Create Testing Documentation

Just as crucial as having seamless test scripts is the need for accurate reporting. Keeping detailed process documentation helps you easily keep track of what’s already been accomplished and stay updated on the project’s current status. Plus, maintaining clear and concise documentation is the only way to quickly bring new team members up to speed on the project development process. 

Test Cases Execution

Naturally, the primary duty of the QA department is running software tests. This involves identifying and reporting errors, setting up a secure testing environment, suggesting improvements for software performance, verifying fixes, and providing technical oversight for each bug throughout its lifecycle. To stay on the cutting edge, the team needs to check out industry trends from time to time, incorporate modern testing tools into their workflows, and consistently apply QA best practices. 

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Organizational Testing Team Structures

One of the important steps in building an effective and high-performance QA department is choosing the right testing team structure. This will help you make up a strong team with the required domain skills and expertise for your project’s specific needs and avoid many common pitfalls. In general, there are four types of structures to choose from:

  • Functional;
  • Matrix; 
  • Dedicated team;
  • Agile.

Functional Team Structure

The functional organization structure is a popular model for testing teams. In this model, teams are typically assigned specific roles and grouped based on their technical expertise, such as performance testing or continuous delivery, allowing for efficient and more focused work. Most often, functional teams are supervised by test managers, while senior management oversees the project as a whole. 

Matrix Organization Structure

In a matrix organization, team members with certain skills are assigned to different projects. This way, they can work on several projects simultaneously and spend their time and resources with maximum efficiency. The flexibility of the matrix organization encourages cross-functional communication and facilitates continuous delivery in various aspects of the software development process. Central to this model are test managers who lead testing teams and work with higher management. 

Dedicated Team Structure

Having a dedicated testing team is much more than just about catching bugs. First and foremost, it’s about ensuring the overall quality of the product. The key benefit of this model is its clarity. In this model, everyone knows exactly what they’re responsible for and what they need to do, allowing them to work toward the same goal. Structure-wise, the team comprises test managers who supervise certain tasks, QA managers bringing in their technical expertise, and testers who run test cases. 

Agile Team Structure

Agile setups are the most flexible, with no strict hierarchy involved. Team members with different technical skills can work together on multiple projects simultaneously and join at any stage of the SDTL — from the initial stages of planning to project acceptance. The unique thing about agile is that team members can switch their roles. As a result, they can hone and develop their skills, contributing to more robust software products. 

Choosing the Right Software Testing Team Structure

If you aren’t sure which testing team structure will best fit your testing processes, here are a few aspects to consider. 

  • Project’s scope. First off, consider the needs of your project. Are you focusing on a single project or juggling multiple ones at the same time? In the case of the latter, a matrix organization is likely your best bet. 
  • Your team’s expertise and skills. If you’re not building a team from scratch, take a close look at each member’s domain expertise to ensure their talents and resources are effectively utilized. Aim to assemble a team with a diverse range of skills that are versatile across different projects.
  • The size of software products. When dealing with large software products, it’s typically better to adopt an agile or dedicated team structure with clearly defined roles for each team member.
  • Future plans. If you’re working on a product with growth potential, opt for flexible structures. This approach allows you to seamlessly integrate more specialists as needed without major overhauls.

By following these tips, you should be able to make the right decision about the structure of your testing team. Think strategically, as your product’s requirements may evolve, and it’s crucial that your team is prepared to adapt effectively from the get-go. 

QA Team Roles: Who Does What

Depending on the project scope, the software testing team may vary in size, job titles, test methodologies, and technologies applied. That is why quality assurance team roles and responsibilities can often vary from project to project and from company to company. That said, there are certain roles that are common for pretty much any testing team, including:

  • QA Lead;
  • Team Lead;
  • UI/UX test engineer, Manual test engineer, Automated test engineer;
  • Network test engineer;
  • Test library and configuration specialist;
  • Tester. 

Further down, we break down the variety of roles and responsibilities in software testing teams, focusing on the unique contribution of each role to ensuring software quality and effectiveness. 



QA LeadThe QA Lead tops the quality assurance team. It’s the person in charge of a testing strategy, resource planning, internal team communication, testing process estimation, and the quality control of work delivered by teammates. The QA Lead is expected to be well-versed in the testing process and methodologies. At the same time, this person should have a good knowledge of the test environment, data management, reporting tools, and so on. QA Leads are often called the most important members of the testing team, which isn’t far from the truth. They serve as a point of contact, bridging the gap between the technical team and the clients that they’re doing the work for.
Team LeadSimilarly to the QA Lead, the QA Team Lead provides guidance and oversight but with a more focused approach to the day-to-day operations of the testing team. They are instrumental in maintaining the workflow, addressing challenges, and ensuring that deadlines are met. Tasks such as choosing metrics for tracking the testing progress and determining the sizing of the testing effort required to complete the project fall under their purview, too. If they find out that the team lacks certain skills, it’ll be their responsibility to find resources and/or organize training sessions to fill skill gaps.
Test ArchitectThe tech architect’s role is to analyze project requirements and create suitable test frameworks. They have both automation and manual testing experience, as well as a deep understanding of software architecture and system design. Test architects provide technical support to the QA team at all stages, from scripts and case creation to retested error fixes. Also, they take part in high-level service improvements.
QA AnalystAnother role that can often be seen in testing teams is the QA Test Analyst. This role combines software testing expertise with an industry-specific background. In addition, it focuses on business logic and correspondence to the target audience’s needs rather than on the technical details of software testing. QA analysts work closely with product owners, software developers, and team managers to ensure the functionality of future products meets industry standards.
Automation TesterAutomation testers are relied upon for their good programming skills and extensive knowledge of automation tools like the Selenium framework, HP Unified Functional Testing, AI, and robotics. Furthermore, they need to be adept at coding test scripts to be able to create robust, repeatable test cases that can effectively validate software functionality. Automation testers must also have a strong understanding of the SDLC and the principles of continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) to integrate their test automation seamlessly into the development process. Aside from that, Automation QA also includes unit testing that can be performed directly by developers.
Manual TesterThis member of a QA team structure checks the performance of the product manually. Mostly, they focus on the client-facing (frontend) side of the software, running checks as if the software was given to real end-users. Aside from that, manual QA engineers are responsible for analyzing and preparing query lists, writing and executing test cases, creating reports, and verifying products on multiple devices. Manual testers utilize bug tracking and test management tools like Airbrake, Backlog, and ReQtest to ensure the app works as required.
UI/UX TesterCompanies that truly strive for best-in-class user experience divide UI/UX testing into separate stages within the software development life cycle. The thing is, with every new issue found and fixed, both product performance and outlook might change, and not always for the better. That’s why most guides to QA team roles and responsibilities also include UI/UX testers ― people with a web design background who are able to keep the initially developed system design as polished and smoothly performing in reality as it was on paper.
Network Test EngineerThis position requires a high level of technical expertise; in particular, knowledge of programming languages, computer OS, and database technologies. The main responsibility of a network test engineer is to evaluate products, develop test plans, and integrate skills and resources that best align with the project’s goals. Also, it’s their duty to implement monitoring tools for tracking a team’s performance. 
Test Library and Configuration SpecialistA test library and configuration specialist must have a good knowledge of database and administration skills, as well as programming languages and database technologies. Their responsibilities are mostly focused on creating, managing, and updating test scripts according to the specific needs of each project. 


How to Assemble a Software Testing Team

Now that we’ve covered the many different QA roles, as well as key positions present in every team, let’s talk about how to assemble a team of QA professionals. It’s worth saying right away that putting together a team isn’t always easy. In fact, quite often, it takes up to several months before a team can be fully formed. So, don’t get in despair if things don’t work out quickly for you. Time and patience are essential in this process. Here are some steps that may help you in assembling a dream software quality assurance team.

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Set Clear Goals and Expectations

As trivial as this may sound, the first step to setting up a testing team is to set clear goals and expectations for what you’d like to accomplish. This will give you an idea of the right team structure, key roles, and the number of people you want to involve in the project.

Hire the Team

Next, you need to find the right people. Here, you may want to pay attention to several criteria. First up is the technical expertise, of course. A software QA team must have strong hard skills to write clear code, anticipate and navigate complexities, and be quick at integrating new solutions to streamline existing processes. Carefully look at candidates’ previous experience with various technologies and tools. 

Also, consider interpersonal skills. They are not less important when it comes to working in a team environment. You need QA engineers who can effectively communicate, collaborate, and resolve conflicts. This will help create a positive environment where the team feels motivated and engaged and works collaboratively towards long-term project success. 

Besides communication and technical skills, QA engineers need to have strong logical and analytical skills. While artificial intelligence can help a lot with forecasting possible test scenarios, it’s still essential for testers to have a keen analytical mind to understand complex software architectures and identify potential flaws. 

Of course, it’s not always possible to find people who are good at everything. Some of them will be better communicators, while others will shine in the technical field, and that’s totally fine. To put together a well-balanced and functional team, strive to include a mix of experienced professionals. Look for people who are good at manual testing, as well as automation experts, those who understand the technical aspects and others who excel in project management, planning, and doing mundane tasks. This will help you create a diverse team where each member complements the others, and every necessary skill is present in the team.

Average Tester’s Rates

The cost of running a testing team depends on a number of factors, including the geographical location of your team members, their level of expertise, and the specific requirements of your project. In general, tester rates can vary wildly. For example, in the USA and Canada, the average rates of quality assurance engineers may range from $60 to $90 per hour. 

Conversely, teams from Asian, Eastern European, and South American countries tend to charge considerably less, with the average hourly rate ranging from $25 to $60, depending on the role. No wonder many business owners that run a software business company prefer to outsource testing. Moreover, outsourcing testing to a remote QA company often helps gain access to a wider test coverage and conduct a wider range of test activities due to the diverse expertise and experience available in these regions. 


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When you gather a team of software test engineers, allocate some time to onboarding them. Even experienced testers will need some time to learn the tools and software your company uses, so it’s vital not to miss this phase. During onboarding, familiarize your team with the project management system, communication channels, and any proprietary testing frameworks you use. It’s helpful to have clear documentation that minimizes the learning curve for your team. 

Encourage open communication within the QA team during onboarding. Your team should feel comfortable asking questions if there’s anything they don’t understand. This not only aids in streamlining the software testing process but also fosters a collaborative atmosphere where everyone is motivated to deliver high-quality results. 

Define Testing Processes and Workflows

Next, define the steps involved in test planning, execution, and reporting, outlining the key criteria for test case design, test coverage, and the metrics to be tracked. It may be helpful to create a standardized reporting system to ensure that the QA team works cohesively and efficiently. Establishing clear testing processes and workflows is essential for maintaining consistency and quality throughout the software development lifecycle. 

Implement Agile Practices

While there are many different methodologies that can be used to manage software development or run software firms, agile methodologies seem to best suit the dynamic nature of software development. Agile emphasizes iterative development, continuous testing, and collaboration among cross-functional teams, and helps in delivering high-quality software in a shorter time frame.

Assign Roles and Responsibilities

Unless you plan to work with a remote QA team that is already formed and has a track record of completed projects behind their back, you’ll need to clearly define your QA department roles, communicate your expectations and requirements, and set a defined reporting schedule. If you choose to work with remote specialists in different time zones,  make sure you pick a communication time slot that overlaps with yours and create an emergency plan that your team can fall back on in the event of unexpected situations. 

Common Challenges and How Quality Assurance Teams Can Handle Them

Even the most organized team with well-defined QA roles and responsibilities may face challenges along the way. However, most of them can be dealt with quite easily with the right knowledge and effective strategies. Let’s take a look at the most common roadblocks that software QA teams encounter and how to address them effectively.

Time Limitations

Time limitations are among the most common challenges faced by software testers. To succeed in the competitive world of software development, it’s essential that the products are delivered fast to the market, which often puts development teams under tight schedules. Ultimately, testing becomes crucial in balancing the quality of the software and its delivery speed.

How to Handle:

  • Prioritize testing activities based on the critical functionalities and potential risks. 
  • Implement risk-based testing to focus efforts on areas that matter the most.
  • Utilize automation for repetitive and time-consuming tasks to maximize efficiency.
  • Establish a realistic testing schedule and communicate your goals and expectations proactively with the team.   

Inadequate Test Coverage

Another challenge that quite often impedes the QA process is the lack of adequate test coverage. Not all in-house teams have the means to extend the network of tools and devices, making it hard to detect defects and gaps in quality assurance.

How to Handle:

  • Consider cost-effective alternatives like cloud-based test environments.
  • Resort to crowd testing to validate the product quality across diverse devices and configurations. 

Resource Constraints

Resource constraints are a common roadblock impeding the testing of software development projects. Limited manpower, tools, or budgets can hinder the effectiveness of the testing process and even lead to delays. 

How to Handle:

  • Optimize resource allocation by prioritizing critical testing activities. 
  • Leverage test automation to reduce manual efforts and increase productivity.
  • Consider outsourcing non-core testing activities to remote specialists to supplement internal resources.
  • Encourage continuous training to address skill gaps and enhance your team’s flexibility.

Changing Requirements

Software development is a very dynamic process. Even if you have set a clear plan for what you want to achieve, new technologies, competition, and many other factors may force companies to change requirements. Therefore, it’s crucial that developers and QA engineers maintain agility. 

How to Handle:

  • Embrace agile software development methodologies to facilitate adaptability.
  • Establish a robust change management process to track and accommodate evolving requirements.
  • Regularly engage with the team and stakeholders to stay updated on any changes.
  • Conduct impact assessments to understand the implications of new requirements on existing plans and test execution.
  • Maintain documentation control to manage all changes effectively. 

Challenges in Regression Testing

As software functionalities expand, so does the timeline required to complete the project, potentially jeopardizing the time delivery of the software. 

How to Handle:

  • Streamline test suites and embrace automation testing. This approach not only speeds up testing, ensuring that the software is delivered on time, but also helps maintain the highest quality standards. 
  • Adopt a test case prioritization strategy based on business impact and significant functionalities. This will allow teams to focus on high-priority scenarios first, ensuring that essential features are thoroughly tested even within a constrained timeline.

Summing Up

To wrap things up, quality assurance includes many service levels and requires a deep understanding of software development to be productive. That includes a solid idea of the typical software QA roles and responsibilities. 

Every role of the QA team has its unique duties and responsibilities that work together to ensure the delivery of a high-quality software product. From test engineers focusing on meticulous testing to test automation engineers streamlining repetitive tasks and test analysts ensuring comprehensive test coverage, each member plays a crucial role in the quality assurance process and cannot be overlooked. 

Despite that, establishing a QA department isn’t as hard or expensive as it might seem. Modern approaches to software testing allow companies of all sizes to grow a team ― be it in-house or an outsourced one ― of skillful testing professionals, even on a budget or on tight deadlines. And with our tips, you should have no problem building and managing a successful team. 

Written by
Alona O., Сopywriter at TestFort

A copywriter with 13 years of experience in marketing and tech-related fields. Loves researching about topics and investing them in depth. Has a passion for learning new things and expanding her horizons. Her greatest joy is bringing value to readers by imparting her knowledge and insights through well-researched and compelling content.

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