When I was proposed with this double role, it was a challenge to me; to see if I would be just as effective. It is possible for the same person to be both Scrum Master and a member of the development team, although this is not recommended. Well, it could be under the right circumstances.
After many years of experience as an automation tester and after a year in this double role, I realize that the role of tester already contains some of the skills required for being a Scrum Master.
Both roles have more things in common than differences, such as:
- They are responsible for managing the process and are focused on better quality by helping the development team create high-value products
- They have knowledge of business requirements and help to set up the user acceptance criteria
- They are sure that all the defined acceptance criteria are met
- The tester as well as the Scrum Master make sure that all the user stories are completed at the end of each sprint, regarding the definition of done
- They help towards continuous improvement which is applied to all parts of the Software Development Lifecycle
- They aid in increasing the collaboration and productivity of the development team
- They are responsible for proactive planning, in order to avoid any pressure during the testing phase and in other parts of Software Development Lifecycle
- They can discover problems and defects in the system
- They can assess the risk of any change
- They have soft and interpersonal skills
Apart from the common characteristics of those two roles, there are also skill sets that are acquired from each role individually, which are supporting the smooth development of each project.
The Tester as a Scrum Master learns to be observant of the daily team activities, gaining knowledge about the product and a clear view of the project progress. Also, they learn how to be a good listener and pay attention to the challenges the development team is coping with every day. Thus, they proactively prevent problems and defects.
It is beneficial for a team as well as for an organization, working in Scrum or wanting to shift its development process to Scrum, to have the tester and the Scrum Master roles under the same person. Taking part in the development process by having experiences from different parts of the process helps to identify where the main challenges lie. Based on this, having both the role of a Tester and a Scrum Master, one will give a different perspective, improving the overall development process and helping the team to provide a better quality of their deliverables. Also, they will add value to the process, and will be able to have a better influence on the development team.
If the circumstances are the right ones, a Tester can also be the best Scrum Master!
Author: Dimitra Kakosimou.