Is it a good idea to have one of the Lead QA testers as the project's Scrum Master?
I have been thinking more and more as to whether it’s a good idea to have one of the Lead QA testers as the project's Scrum Master? Here’s my thinking, which may not be the same in every company/workplace but I am sure out there somewhere in the ether there is a similar example.
Basically, our SM is a current dev team, who has his time split 70-DEV/30-SM. However, in practice, this is not the case. They seem to hide under the SM role and the DEV side suffers. I have seen this on multiple teams within our organization.
I have a thought, that as the Lead QA, they are already in a position to know what the project should be produced for the given sprint, and its acceptance criteria have clearly been defined between the Product Owner and the QA team, so test cases can be created and ready for the end of each sprint.
I feel as if we are losing a developer, while also duplicating the work/interaction with the product owners. Thoughts?
It reads to me as though your organization is using the SM role in a somewhat different way than classic Scrum, so my suggestions could be way off-target here.
Classically, the SM role is to facilitate progress by finding ways to clear or work around any impediments that arise during a sprint, to lead meetings, to ensure that meetings stay on-topic and stay within the time frame, to assist with coordinating resources, and so forth. Ideally, the SM role should not be held by someone who has another role in that project.
If I've interpreted your question correctly, your SM is also a dev on the project team: this is, as you've experienced, not ideal. If this is the case, I'd suggest your first priority would be to try to arrange future projects so that each team member has exactly one role - that is, your SM is not a developer (or QA) on that team.
Regardless, I think you should try to have someone take Scrum Master training and become a dedicated SM for as many project teams as possible - it's very much an administrative/resource-juggling role compared to the Dev/QA roles which can and should be blurring in the teams.