QA Engineer’s Journey to Scrum Master in a Mobile Team
What is Scrum? Who is the Scrum master and who should not be? Can a test engineer become a scrum master?
In this article, I will talk about my scrum master experience in Trendyol Mobile iOS team as a test engineer. Firstly, let’s get to know these concepts.
What is Scrum?
People produce products of the highest possible value, productively and creatively. It is a framework in which they can address complex and adaptive problems while developing them.
• It’s simple
• Easy to understand
• It is difficult to master skillfully.
Scrum to manage work performed for complex products it is a used process framework. Scrum is not a process, technique, or defined method. It is a framework in which you can use various processes and techniques.
Scrum, product management and by clearly demonstrating the effectiveness of your working techniques, in your product, team and it offers the opportunity for continuous improvement in your work environment.
In Scrum, the principle of “Separation of Powers” is applied. The Product Owner, who owns the product, is responsible for “What” will be done in the product, and the development team, namely the Development Team, is responsible for “How”. The Scrum Master, on the other hand, has undertaken the task of observing that the process is not in accordance with the framework of the Scrum framework and correcting it if necessary.
“Scrum Master is a full time job” (Tonight’s Moon — 20–01–2011 by Adam Wyles and Crescent Moon by Luis Argerich)
Who is a Scrum Master?
The Scrum Master is the person responsible for ensuring that a scrum team lives up to its values and practices.
The Scrum Master is often thought of as a coach for the team and helps the team do the best it can.
The Scrum Master does everything possible to help the team perform at its peak. This includes removing any barriers to progress, facilitating meetings, and doing things like working with the product owner to make sure the product backlog is in good standing and ready for the next sprint.
The Scrum Master is also often seen as the guardian of the team. The most common example is the Scrum Master protecting the team by ensuring they don’t become too committed to what they can accomplish during a sprint due to pressure from an overly aggressive product owner. However, a good Scrum Master also protects the team from complacency.
The Misunderstood Stances of a Scrum Master
🔹 The Scrum Master is not a Project Manager.
🔹 The Scrum Master is not the manager of the team.
🔹 The Scrum Master role is no less important than the Product Owner role.
🔹 The Scrum Master is not a person who does texting or reporting.
How did I implement the tasks that should be in the Scrum Master within the team?
💡 Scrum Master: Servant Leader
In the Scrum world, a Scrum Master is known as a “Servant Leader”. It should focus on the needs of the team members and the customer. While doing this, they should do so in accordance with the principles, values and goals of the organization/company they are in.
As a servant leader, the SM must help the team act on the Scrum values of courage, openness, respect, focus and commitment and help them realize their full potential.
💡 Scrum Master: Facilitator
The Scrum Master has separate responsibilities for both the Product Owner, which is the product owner, and the Development Team, which is the development team. It should help them in the product development process and make things easier.
The SM should be the person who provides communication, relationships and collaboration for the team and customers. It should eliminate any setbacks that may hinder the progress of the process. It should ensure that Scrum events are organized and efficient. For this, SM should develop appropriate techniques for the team and the process.
We have a column on our sprint board that we call “Blocked”. This area is where we position the works that we could not progress due to the problems experienced during the development or testing phase. As a Scrum master, I would like to enter the reason for the works in this field. And I collect these works in an excel and report them to my team leaders.
💡 Scrum Master: Coach
The Scrum Master needs to coach for the development of both the team and the organization/company. It should help the team reach the sprint goal. It should also work to maintain and strengthen agility for the organization/company. In fact, it would be very beneficial for all Scrum Masters in the company to establish a committee where they talk and develop practices among themselves, and to establish a committee where they discuss how to provide agility for teams in the best way (SM Community of Practices).
📌 Example; We follow up the crashes on the Firebase dashboard on Mondays and Fridays with other SMs in the iOS team via the Slack channel, discuss them and open the necessary works for sprints.
💡 Scrum Master: Teacher
The Scrum Master is responsible for teaching Agile and Scrum both to the team and to the organization. In the philosophy of “Not Doing Agile, Being Agile”, Agility and Scrum should be well understood. Teach the team Scrum values, roles, activities. It should teach how to visualize the process for the team, and to create and manage the backlog for the Product Owner. It should ensure that the customer understands the process correctly. In the committee established within the company, all SMs are required to teach and apply the practices they develop to the team.
📌 Example; We also consider the test effort in our sprint planning. This is how the testers in the team see their own effort and we actually consider the output here when planning the sprint jobs. For this reason, I gathered the document stating how we gave the test efforts in a common area where everyone in the team can see it.
💡 Scrum Master: Mentor
The Scrum Master should contribute to the team and the process by using his knowledge and experience. It should pave the way for personal development within the team.
SM may not have much experience at first and it is natural to encounter mistakes and obstacles. The important thing is to reach this experience and mentorship level by maturing together with the team. It may take some time to reach this level as agility is intertwined with experimentation. Therefore, as well as helping the team, his own personal development is also very important.
📌 Example; The advantage of being a Scrum Master as a QA engineer is to be able to transfer the solutions you find to the team while you are constantly intertwined with the problems. As we are a mobile team, more than half of our work is A/B work.
Therefore, when these works come to the test, we want to see that the required fields are filled in the work. If this field is missing, we contact the developer and the process starts all over again.
While we were thinking about what we can do about it, we exchanged ideas with developers dealing with devOps and CI/CD. When I told them about the problem and possible solution, we talked about it and decided to take on the sprint. He|she will no longer be missing in the works, and as soon as the developer opens a pull request, he|she will be notified via Slack channel and warn him|her to fill in the necessary fields in the work.
I am grateful for seeing the problems as QA and finding solutions as SM 🙏
💡 Scrum Master: Problem Solver
While the Development Team is creating valuable output in a sprint, the problems that prevent development or may occur within the team are called “Impediment”. A good SM should prevent problems before they happen, if they can, and create a healthy environment that won’t hinder the team. If any impediment is encountered, it should be able to solve this problem.
📌 Example; As SM, we do “grooming” with the product team every Wednesday. While we are planning the works we plan to take to the sprint that week, we also clarify the adjustments of the design, service spec and test data that will be necessary in the development and testing stages. This is essential to avoid possible delays and problems. Despite the identified deficiencies, I prefer not to include the work in that week’s sprint, if the deficiencies continue on the planning day.
As a QA engineer, I wanted to share my scrum master experience with you. Thanks for reading, I’ll be waiting for your questions and suggestions.🙏
⭐️ If you are committed to quality for once, you should use it in every position.