Roles and Activities > Developer Role Set > Test Designer

The Test Designer role is responsible for defining the test approach and ensuring it's successful implementation. The role involves identifying the appropriate techniques, tools and guidelines to implement the required tests, and to give guidance on the corresponding resources requirements for the test effort. Sometimes this role is also referred to as the Test Architect, Test Automation Architect or Test Automation Specialist. This role is responsible for:

  • Identifying and describing appropriate test techniques
  • Identifying the appropriate supporting tools
  • Defining and maintaining a Test Automation Architecture
  • Specifying and verifying the required Test Environment Configurations
  • Verify and assess the Test Approach

Staffing To top of page

Roles organize the responsibility for performing activities and developing artifacts into logical groups. Each role can be assigned to one or more people, and each person can fill one or more roles. When staffing the Test Designer role, you need to consider both the skills required for the role and the different approaches you can take to assigning staff to the role.

SkillsTo top of page

The appropriate skills and knowledge for the Test Designer role include:

  • experience in a variety of testing efforts
  • diagnostic and problem solving skills
  • broad knowledge of hardware and software installation and setup
  • experience and success with the use of test automation tools
  • programming skills (preferable)
  • programming team lead and software design skills (highly desirable)
  • indepth knowledge of the system or application-under-test (desirable)

Role assignment approachesTo top of page

The Test Designer role can be assigned in the following ways:

  • Assign one staff member to perform the Test Designer role only. This is a commonly adopted approach and is particularly suitable for large to mid-sized teams.
  • Assign one staff member to perform both the Test Designer and Test Manager roles. This strategy is a good option for small test teams. A person filling both these roles needs to have strong management and leadership skills as well as strong technical skills and experience.
  • Assign one staff member to perform both the Test Designer and Software Architect roles. This strategy is also an option for small test teams. A person filling both these roles needs to have strong technical skills and experience in software design and usually skills and experience test automation.
  • Assign one staff member to perform both the Test Designer and Test Analyst roles. This strategy is another option for small to mid-sized test teams. You need to be careful that the minutia of the Test Analyst role does not adversely effect the responsibilities of the Test Designer role. Mitigate that risk by assigning less critical Test Analyst tasks to a person filling both these roles, leaving the most important tasks to team members without the Test Designer responsibilities.

Further InformationTo top of page

We recommend recommend reading Kaner, Bach & Pettichord's Lessons Learned in Software Testing [KAN99], which contains an excellent collection of important concerns for test teams. Of special interest to the Test Designer role are the chapters on Testing techniques, Test automation and Test planning and strategy.



Copyright  1987 - 2001 Rational Software Corporation


Display Rational Unified Process using frames

Rational Unified Process