Katrina Clokie has a really good blog post describing the difference between a test leader and a test manager. The test leader influences testing across the organization without direct positional authority. I’d suggest one tweak, the test manager role should also include the leadership qualities of the test leader.
Especially in Agile, but applicable in any life-cycle, everyone tests. Developers should be testing their code, and product managers (or product owners) should be participating in the acceptance testing. Everyone has a role in building high quality, even if the activities are not directly tests. The test manager can play an influential role in these other groups, in addition to leading their direct team.
I’ve been advocating the role Quality Leader instead of Test Manger to stress the influential capabilities of test managers:
Photo Credit: Olivier Carré-Delisle