Head of Test


A head of test takes ownership of establishing policy for the test team and setting the testing strategy. At this role level, you will:

own continuous improvement, researching new technology and new techniques to implement change

make important decisions

build the QAT community and provide organisational leadership

potentially advocate test capabilities, both internally and outside of government

ensure that teams have the right capabilities

Work Activity Components

Title Details
Testing execution and management (Level 6) Takes responsibility for the management of all testing activities within complex development or integration projects or programmes, combining effort as appropriate with IT staff, suppliers and clients/users. Monitors and controls the testing effort and records and publishes testing metrics required to manage the testing activities.
Risk management (Level 6) Manages all risks associated with testing and takes preventative action when any risks become unacceptable. Evaluates risk potential based on the results of the testing during any/all stages of the project.
Test planning (Level 6) Determines project-testing standards for all phases, influencing all parties to conform to those standards. Liaises with project managers to manage the expectations for the testing stages of projects. Agrees "quality gate" criteria and corrective action.
Testing approach (Level 6) Assesses and advises on the practicality of testing process alternatives, including automated testing. Gives advice to both client/user and management to determine the most appropriate testing approaches for complex projects or programmes within the constraints and operational requirements of the organisation. Manages overall client relationships and sets expectations with respect to all testing matters.
Testing process improvement (Level 6) Initiates improvements to test processes. Reports on the effectiveness of testing for the whole organisation and identifies improvements to the testing process. Presents improvement proposals to colleagues and senior client/user management. Directs their implementation.
Client relations (Level 6) Works with project management office (PMO) to integrate testing and quality into delivery lifecycles.
Leadership, audits and external suppliers (Level 6) Gives direction and leadership to other testers. Audits other test programmes. Assesses suppliers' development and testing capabilities. Organises specialist resources (e.g. non-functional, integration and service testing) where the skills are not available in-house.
Strategy and techniques (Level 6) Defines strategies to ensure the most effective and efficient testing is carried out, including the use of specialised testing tools and techniques. Helps to set priorities which balance desirable versus practical testing strategies.
Leadership (Level 6) Leads, develops and is accountable for an organisational approach and commitment to quality assurance. Ensures that the quality assurance process is robust and is based on industry best practice. Plans and resources the organisational quality assurance activities.
Work allocation, support and delegation (Level 5) Allocates responsibilities, including supervisory and assigns packages of work to groups of staff. Ensures that work packages are aligned with the particular skills and abilities of teams. Supports teams in the delivery of work packages. Delegates work to individuals and teams, taking full account of skills and capabilities.
Guidance, performance and feedback (Level 5) Optimises the performance of people, measuring and reporting on performance against agreed quality and performance criteria. Collects data on the performance of groups of staff. Gives regular feedback to teams and senior staff as to team performance on work packages.
Formal appraisals (Level 5) Conducts formal appraisals of the performance of team members. Facilitates a dialogue with team members about expectations, progress, performance and development needs. Participates, as appropriate, in formal processes such as compensation negotiations, grievance procedures, and disciplinary procedures.
Empowerment and role model (Level 5) Facilitates effective working relationships within and between teams of staff. Motivates groups of staff and teams towards a high level of performance. Engages with, and empowers groups of staff. Acts as a role model for groups of staff, setting a standard, acting professionally at all times and working to a professional code of conduct and ethics.
Career paths and mentoring (Level 5) Advises individuals on career paths, and encourages pro-active development of skills and capabilities. Provides mentoring to support professional development.
People processes (Level 5) Participates, as appropriate, in formal processes such as compensation negotiations and disciplinary procedures.
Emerging technology (Level 6) Considers the implications of emerging technology, approaches, trends, regulations and legislation.

Behavioural Skills

Title Details
Conceptual Thinking Acquiring understanding and insights regarding the underlying issues in complex problems or situations through the development of abstract representations, the identification of patterns and the analysis of hypotheses.
Strategic Perspective Keeping organisational objectives and strategies in mind, and ensuring courses of action are aligned with the strategic context.
Decision Making Making decisions at the appropriate time, taking into account the needs of the situation, priorities, constraints, known risks, and the availability of necessary information and resources.
Goal Orientation Maintaining focus on agreed objectives and deliverables.
Organisational Awareness Understanding the hierarchy and culture of own, customer, supplier and partner organisations and being able to identify the decision makers and influencers.
Interacting with People Establishing relationships, contributing to an open culture and maintaining contacts with people from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. Effective, approachable and sensitive communicator in different communities and cultures. Ability to adapt style and approach to meet the needs of different audiences.
Influence, Persuasion and Personal Impact Conveying a level of confidence and professionalism when engaging with stakeholders, influencing positively and persuading others to take a specific course of action when not in a position of authority.
Leadership Clearly articulating goals and objectives, and motivating and leading others towards their achievement.
Providing Direction Directing others to undertake specified tasks within a defined timescale.
Delegation Delegating tasks, responsibilities and authorities effectively.
Follow-up and Monitoring Checking progress against targets, taking action to resolve exceptions/ issues and reporting and escalating where necessary.

Technical Skills

Title Details Depth
Application Development Tools Software tools which automate or assist part of the development process. Familiar with
Corporate, Industry and Professional Standards Applying standards, practices, codes, and assessment and certification programmes relevant to the IT industry, and the specific organisation or business domain. Proficient in
Test Management Techniques Principles, methods, techniques and tools for the effective management of the testing process and the execution of tests throughout the lifecycle of development or integration projects. Expert in
Development Approach Understanding and application of different development approaches e.g. iterative/ incremental methodologies (Agile, XP, TDD, SCRUM) or traditional sequential methodologies (Waterfall or V-Model). Irrespective of development methodology a DevOps approach may also be taken where development and operational staff work collaboratively. Expert in
DevOps The collaborative approach consisting of agile practices, processes, and procedures designed to facilitate rapid IT service and product delivery. DevOps emphasizes people (and culture) and seeks to improve collaboration between development (Dev) and operations (Ops) teams with the aim of shortening the systems development life cycle to provide continuous release of high-quality software. Expert in
Agile A collection of methods, practises, tools and techniques, underpinned by the Agile Manifesto, that enable teams to deliver high value products and services in small, workable, increments. An Agile culture typically encompasses concepts such as Servant-Leaders; ceremonies, Stand-Ups, Sprints and Retrospectives; and the deployment of tools and techniques such as Backlogs and A/B Testing. Expert in

Other Skills

Title Details Depth
Presentation Techniques Methods and techniques for delivering effective and accessible presentations, either face-to-face or online within various contexts and to a variety of audiences. Proficient in
Appraisal Techniques Methods and techniques for appraising an individual's performance and potential. Proficient in
Techniques for Effective Meetings Methods and techniques for running effective meetings and for understanding and influencing the roles played by participants. Proficient in
Coaching Techniques Methods and techniques for coaching individuals or groups by a balanced combination of support and direction, including use of virtual learning environments plus add-ons to augment feedback specific to work items, workflow or career plans. Proficient in
Standards Writing Techniques Principles, methods and techniques for establishing, documenting, and maintaining standards. Proficient in
Project Planning and Control Techniques Methods and techniques associated with planning and monitoring progress of projects. Proficient in
Resource Allocation The effective and efficient routine deployment of resources, (but also including reassessment and reallocation in a dynamic multi-project environment), to achieve optimum results. Proficient in
Stakeholder Engagement Establishing relationships, analysing perspectives and managing stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. Adapting stakeholder engagement style to meet the needs of different audiences. The identification of key business stakeholders and an assessment of their level of power and interests, and their perspectives to inform the way(s) in which they should be considered and managed. Familiar with
Performance Monitoring Identifying, agreeing and monitoring (usually by face-to-face interviews) objectives and deliverables with individuals. Identifying under-performance issues against agreed quality standards and performance criteria. Identifying gaps in capability and causes, disciplinary or ability-related (needing assistance, training or other support). Proficient in
Disciplinary Issues and Procedures Managing episodes of unsatisfactory behaviour or performance in accordance with appropriate policies and legislative conformance. Includes changes to circumstances, such as sickness, disability and other personal issues. Familiar with


Title Details
Facilitation Methods and techniques for managing (or facilitating) a meeting or group session (both face-to-face and online) and then through a series of planned activities the creation, by consensus, of products (e.g. lists of business issues, requirements, technical options, etc.).
Software Quality Assurance Techniques Methods, techniques and standards for the quality assurance of the software development process.
Usability Evaluation Techniques Methods and techniques for the assessment of IT product usability, accessibility and health and safety throughout the lifecycle of development projects.
Latest Cyber Security Threats for Senior Execs Short, high-level, up-to-date and to-the-point briefing on the latest threats and vulnerabilities in cyber security.
Team Dynamics Team dynamics are critical for organisational success. Without positive team dynamics, the organisation cannot fully leverage employee potential and tap into their skills and experience. An understanding of team dynamics facilitates employee productivity and satisfaction while allowing teams to meet business objectives. Team dynamics methods, tools and techniques, such as Belbin,  help individuals understand their role within a particular team, help develop strengths and manage weaknesses as a team member and improve overall team contribution and effectiveness..

Professional Development Activity (PDA)

Title Details PDA Group
Mentoring Acting as a mentor, advising those for whom there is no direct responsibility, on matters to do with their job role, career and professional development. Broadening Activities
Gaining Knowledge of Broader IT Issues Increasing and maintaining currency of knowledge of broader IT issues through reading, attending and participating in seminars or conferences, special studies, temporary assignments etc. Increasing Knowledge
Gaining Strategic Knowledge of Employing Organisation Developing a comprehensive understanding of the business environment in which the employing organisation operates and its position, policies and direction in relation to industry, country and global issues. Increasing Knowledge
Gaining Knowledge of Standards and Legislation Gaining and maintaining knowledge of relevant national and international standards and legislation. Increasing Knowledge
Participation in Professional Body Affairs Taking an active part in professional body affairs at branch, specialist group, committee or board level. Participation in Professional Activities
General Management Continuing learning and development in general management skills, such as effective communication, leadership styles and skills, team building and team roles, motivation and delegation, planning and resource scheduling, influencing, persuasion and negotiation, so as to be in a position to accept greater responsibility at senior management or director (including non-exec) level. Developing Professional Skills

Organisational Skill Name and Description

Framework Skill Level
Government Digital and Data Profession Capability Framework

Functional testing

Financial management involves planning, organising and monitoring financial resources.

Practitioner Functional testing

You can: design and execute a wide range of testing techniques and communicate test results to both technical and non-technical stakeholders make decisions on the environment for testing, and can coach others identify defects, alert the business to them, and help to prioritise them based on defect severity

Government Digital and Data Profession Capability Framework

Non-functional testing

Modern development standards involves using the latest technologies and best practices to improve the quality of the software development process.

Awareness Non-functional testing

You can: show an awareness of non-functional testing techniques execute non-functional test scenarios and identify defects run non-functional tests others have written and know the processes to do so understand a range of standard non-functional testing techniques

Government Digital and Data Profession Capability Framework

Technical breadth

Practitioner Technical breadth

You can: demonstrate a good working knowledge of different tools and techniques, and can train others advise others on testing techniques and frameworks effectively research, plan and train others within the team

Government Digital and Data Profession Capability Framework

Test analysis

Practitioner Test analysis

You can: think creatively, ask the right questions and critically evaluate and communicate findings to a larger team lead investigative work into problems and opportunities in existing processes drive the collection of information and the creation of recommendations for improvements absorb large amounts of conflicting information and use it to determine solutions

Qualification Components

Title Awarding Bodies
FEDIP Leading Practitioner FEDIP - The Federation for Informatics Professionals in Health and Care
ISTQB-BCS Advanced Test Manager BCS - The Chartered Institute of IT

The Professional Body Responsible for this job family is BCS. This job role profile was created in collaboration with BCS, using Role Model Plus.

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