Here’s another in a series about transitioning from being a QA to becoming a delivery lead. The hope is that people who are considering becoming a delivery lead use these blog posts to make a more informed choice – by identifying the skills required to make the transition, and highlighting the similarities in the two roles.
Today I am interviewing Bejul Shah.
What inspired you to make the move from a QA to a delivery lead role?
I have been a QA for over 15 years, eight of which have been with Equal Experts. I have particularly enjoyed roles where we were key influencers for the client’s digital transformation journey. I was part of the first UK team to help set up our South Africa business unit, where we promoted a flat team structure with our first client there. Together with the QA tasks I was advising on plus shaping better ways of working to deliver at pace and being hands-on, I found it exciting to see visible improvements. This inspired me to work closely with the delivery leads, and eventually I transitioned into the role having passed the internal interview process.
What are the key skills you have gained as a QA that have helped you as a delivery lead?
There are several skills that have helped me as a delivery lead. The QA role requires an holistic approach to product thinking as well as team contribution. A key skill is the ability to build close relationships with stakeholders and team members. Contributing to the code for test automation and pipeline setup has helped a lot with being able to talk in the technical domain and make those connections. I try to be hands-on with the delivery lead role, helping the team whenever needed. This particularly helped recently when we lacked operability knowledge within the team. The focus on shifting testing left and minimising bottlenecks was a valuable experience in the challenges of efficient project delivery.
What are the major differences between the two roles?
Both roles have a responsibility to keep a positive and good interaction within the team, however, with the delivery lead role, the importance is amplified. Ensuring that the team feels empowered, energised and engaged is key for successful project delivery.
As a QA, I used to be aware of the intricate detail or quirks of a product. I now find myself asking my team QAs for this. At least the inquisitive and exploratory mindset of a QA has stuck with me.
I have always tried to be proactive about continuously improving ways of working and how to be a better performing team. Now as a delivery lead I have a lot more focus on that and appreciate all the various enablers, processes and roles that results in a team being high performing.
Any advice for prospective delivery leads out there?
If you are considering transitioning to the role, reach out to the delivery lead community or the recruitment team where you work. You will find a lot of encouragement and flexibility. In my case, I tried a 50/50 role split between QA and delivery lead that a client was in support of. This may not always be possible, but I found it a great insight into the delivery lead role which I was then able to move into 100%.
While you’re moving into a delivery role, you may initially focus more on improving QA processes within the team. Whilst this is important, it is good to be equally attentive of other areas that could be improved. Each role within the team has its challenges and understanding and addressing them will lead to a healthier team.
Do you have any regrets about making the move?
I do miss the technical aspect of the QA role, however, I do not regret making the move as I try to be hands-on and keep those technical skills up to date. Starting out as a QA means that you come into the delivery lead role with a great skill set that keeps getting broadened. I thoroughly recommend it.