My name is Nataliia Horova, and I continue to share the inspiring stories of our teammates. In today’s issue of the Growth Stories rubric, I want to introduce you to Olha Kolomiiets, a QA Lead at Innovecs.
Olha narrated to me her journey that took her from the tourism industry to the tech world, particularly a QA role at Innovecs. In the article, you will find six practical tips for developing a QA Lead role.
Journey to the QA engineering
Throughout my life, my passion for optimizing processes led me to explore the tech sphere. Initially working on tourism projects, I managed the Georgian National Tourism Award. I faced diverse challenges and implemented innovative solutions, from managing the website on WordPress, editing content, and ensuring its smooth operation, to writing technical assignments and integrating services like Mailchimp.
One notable achievement was developing an application that streamlined guest invitations with QR codes, benefiting 700 participants annually. This application significantly improved the invitation process and efficiently tracked participants at events.
While working on some tech solutions at my previous job, I realized my desire to explore the field of QA and enrolled in relevant courses. After I gained some experience, I received an invitation from Innovecs to join the team. I began my journey as a Game Release Manager, a hybrid QA position that involved communication with operators and suppliers. After a year, I became the Lead of the Game Release team, building a skilled and efficient team from scratch. Eager to continue growing, I pursued an international certification, the ISTQB Foundation exam, and joined the QA team.
The opportunity to become a QA Lead arose, and although I was initially unsure, my Tech Lead, Dmytro Kryvenko, believed in me and encouraged me to embrace the role. With his mentorship, we built the successful QA team we have today.
#1 Find Your Mentor
At the beginning of your career or while switching to another role, finding someone who will guide and support you is crucial. Mentorship is vital in realizing your passion for the tech sphere, providing valuable guidance and insights for your development. A mentor can identify your strengths and weaknesses that may go unnoticed by yourself. Their external perspective helps identify your talents and areas for growth. Therefore, exploring various resources through extensive reading and learning is essential. There are no excuses for not knowing something in today’s world — one has to seek knowledge actively.
Fortunately, I had the privilege of having the right person on my project who took me under his wing and nurtured my growth. Dmytro’s willingness to foster my development and my openness to his guidance was vital for my career growth. Finding yourself in the right place, at the right time, and in the right mindset is equally important. In the current tech landscape, where numerous individuals work in this industry, you can gather insights through informal conversations with friends or stay updated by reading the latest blogs.
Additionally, consider enrolling in courses where your supervisor may serve as your mentor, just as it happened for me in the ISTQB courses. The mentor’s feedback helped me identify my strengths and areas that required improvement.
#2 Communicate Effectively
Clear and concise communication is vital for a QA Lead. Expressing ideas clearly and ensuring mutual understanding is essential. Engaging in active listening and being attentive to others promotes effective communication in any given scenario.
Working in a multinational team has presented unique challenges. Understanding how to collaborate with individuals from different countries matters a great deal. Our team consists of diverse cultures, and even though we share a common language and documentation, achieving consistent results can take time and effort. Each country’s level of development and communication norms shape how information is transferred and communicated.
I am actively learning and improving my cross-cultural communication skills. The book “The Culture Map” by Erin Meyer has been valuable in understanding and navigating intercultural differences in business. It provided a practical framework for comprehending how different cultures perceive the world and shed light on behaviors that may have initially seemed peculiar.
I have discovered that a straightforward communication style prevails in Anglo-Saxon countries, where the outcome relies on how people present their ideas. However, it’s essential to exercise caution and consistently seek clarification through questioning to avoid pitfalls caused by inadequate documentation.
This newfound knowledge has dramatically enhanced my ability to react and adapt effectively in diverse cultural settings, improving communication and collaboration.
#3 Pay Attention to Details
Being detail-oriented is critical for successful work for QA Lead. Paying close attention to even the most minor details can effectively identify potential issues and prevent severe consequences. The ability to promptly recognize and address problems accurately is paramount in ensuring the quality and reliability of any product or service.
#4 Trust and Delegate
As a QA Team Lead, setting direction, and serving as a role model are fundamental and so is gaining the trust and respect of the team members. However, influential leaders understand that they cannot control every aspect and instead learn to trust their team members. By delegating responsibilities, QA Leads enable their team to understand their roles better and perform their tasks more effectively.
The art of delegation lies in balancing control with quality and progress while empowering team members to take ownership of their tasks.
#5 Growth as an Endless Process
In this information-overloaded world, I prioritize finding valuable resources that save time. I particularly enjoy podcasts and concise articles that deliver meaningful and relevant information.
I recommend the “QA DOU Podcast,” where speakers discuss practical topics and analyze real-life situations. It’s a straightforward approach.
For more complex subjects like automation and new frameworks, I listen to “The QA Lead Podcast,” which keeps me updated on Automation trends and development directions.
Another valuable resource is the “Ministry of Testing” online community, which provides support for software testers. It covers software testing, test automation, quality assurance, agile testing, etc.
I actively participate in webinars and follow various Telegram channels where QA specialists share their knowledge and occasionally host webinars.
Recently, I gained precious insights into giving and receiving feedback from the book “Radical Candor” by Kim Scott. Here are 3 of the most insightful lessons from it:
- To develop radical candor, you must learn to be honest and direct without offending people.
- Collaborative leadership is far more effective than just barking orders.
- Get to know your employee’s real motivations by having honest conversations.
Lastly, Medium and YouTube offer a wealth of helpful information. The key is to allocate time and maintain the desire to explore them.
#6 Reflect on Your Progress
Self-doubt is a natural part of personal growth, and everyone experiences it. Self-reflection is pivotal for overcoming impostor syndrome. It’s important to overcome impostor syndrome by conducting self-reflection. Take a moment to recall yourself a year ago and compare it to where you are now. This self-evaluation is not about comparing yourself to others but reflecting on your progress. It serves as a reminder that you have moved from point A to point B, hence, maintain this internal dialogue with yourself..
Dealing with impostor syndrome means constantly questioning whether you’re doing things right and whether you’re in the right place. Nobody knows the “right” way when in a leadership position. It’s part of human nature — we never know for sure. No one has followed the same path as you, and experiencing this syndrome is normal during your career development journey. Don’t be afraid of these feelings. If you find yourself asking questions like “What’s next?” or “How should things be?”, it’s a good sign. It indicates that you’re ready to grow and progress further.
I want to thank Olha for sharing her exciting journey with us. I want to thank Olha for sharing her inspiring journey with us. I hope that the insights she has provided, along with the six key tips — Find Your Mentor, Communicate Effectively, Pay Attention to Details, Trust and Delegate, Growth as an Endless Process, and Reflect on Your Progress — will be helpful to those aspiring to become a QA Lead.
Stay tuned for more captivating stories.