To Scrum or not to SCRUM – this is the question


one of the most used words today is “scrum”. All caps or not, it does not really matter. The baseline is that it is not an acronym.

Now, after working in this framework for a while, with various better or worse implementations I came to the conclusion that up to a point it is better to have the QA in charge of the “Scrum master” role. Here’s why:

  • In the early stages of the process, QA usually writes the acceptance criteria which get signed by the client
  • During the development QA must ease the communication between the developers and the product owner

Why the first?

Because they are the ones that later on in the process must verify that the deliverable covers all the expectations. Else the clients would get an image as a website while the team will strongly state that it looks exactly the same. This doesn’t mean that it functions, or if it does that it functions well.

Why the second? Why can’t a developer handle the task?

The QA person is the one handling the status of the tickets once they are considered complete and in testing. The developer must dig for this information while the QA can’t avoid it. So, the dev can but it is extra work.

Why not have the Product Owner in charge of it?

1) If the client is “many” and “decision-challenged”. The product owner brings way more to the project by just listening to the client and filtering the information for the team. This filters most of the noise. To his extent comes the QA that delivers his the required client-facing information.

2) If the client is “one” and “decision-challenged”. the product owner should filter the incoming information and extract the client-facing information by its own. In this case I do not consider that the QA should handle the “Scrum master” role. However in a team of 2 complementary senior QA resources, the more soft-skills oriented one can cover this role as well. He/she already have visibility regarding the team’s workload and there shouldn’t be 6 hours of decisions every day.

3) If the client is “one” and the decisions don’t change. This is quite ideal. Once the acceptance criteria are agreed upon there is no need of a product owner all-together. The team should be productivity driven with the final goal always visible.

Personal opinion:

Since the scrum is founded on the premises of a holistic approach (treat the team as a whole, not as individuals) and the client is the input and output, the QA should be the filling and the Product Owner should be the shield around it.

Please disagree and let’s have a chat.


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