Survival Kit

Do not burn bridges

First and foremost lessen for a test expert: Do not burn bridges. You may disagree with your current boss and may want to quit the job. Well…you may have already quit the job and ask you are stepping into your boss’s room to hand over your resignation letter, you want to give him a piece of  your mind.


Testing community is pretty small, especially in the top management level. So words will get around as to your suitability at some point. Ensure that you leave your current job on a friendly note. Unless you are being sacked or made redundant. Well that is a different ball game altogether.


Try to network with other test experts from other industries. It may be hard for some who likes to put their head down and get the job done. However if you want to rise to the level of Test Manager in big corporations, networking becomes essential.

Review your wardrobe.

The era when Test Managers wore shabby clothes and had unruly beard and all of that is long over. We are now front and centre of the software industry. So it time to review your wardrobe. If I am hiring someone and they show up in the interview looking smart in their suits, that will definitely give a good first impression.

Learn the art of making statements in a positive light

Instead of saying “Testing has been progressing well but we have encountered some defects that is currently under review by the dev team“, rephrase as below “Testing has been progressing well. Major requirements have been confirmed as working. There are few outstanding defects that are currently under review by the dev team. These defects refer to fringe application requirements and have low impact.”

Try to avoid words like “but”, “however”, “despite this” etc. This is a spin that I had to teach myself as it is not easy to give a positive spin to all statements.

Why do you need positive spin?

If you look at the example above, I did not say anything that contradicts what was said in the original statement. Instead of saying “but”, I phrased it such that testing progress comes off as a success story.

We have often been guilty of not showcasing our own success story. This is why good PMs can deliver bad news in a way that is acceptable to the bigger audience. As a test expert, you need to learn this trait quickly.

In my professional experience, I had to lean the hard way that upper management doesn’t always look kindly upon people who are bearers of bad news. Think of Roman period or even before that when the bearer of bad news were put to death, at the whim of the king or emperor. While such extreme scenarios won’t happen any more, it has parallel to upper management not looking kindly to a nay sayer (someone who always gives negative news or reports faults first). This is a trait that you need to develop.