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Scrum Master vs. Project Manager: Differences & Similarities

For an entrant in the IT industry, the roles Project Manager and Scrum Master look like two similar ones. But this is not an absolute fact. Both roles are very separate and distinct from each other. Both can be molded into different approaches in a project. While noting down the differences between the Project Manager and the Scrum Master, you will find out that the Project Manager plays the leadership role by leading a planning for the execution of the project. Scrum Master plays a support role for the team members, by working closely with the team and ensuring that they are following Agile principles properly. Relationship between the Scrum Master and the Project Manager Next, you might be wondering, what is the role of a Project Manager in Scrum? If you know the transition from Waterfall to Agile, you might think that the title ‘Project Manager’ is just shifted to the title ‘Scrum Master’. However, the Project Manager’s responsibilities cannot be directly converted to a Scrum Master role. When you transit from traditional approach (Waterfall model) to Agile, the responsibilities of a Project Manager are distributed among the variety of team members. Some responsibilities go to the Program Manager, some to the Product Owner, some to the Scrum Master and some to the remaining team. On the other hand, switching from Waterfall to Agile is not an easy process. Unlike Scrum Master, we can say a Product Owner’s role is closely aligned to the Project Manager’s role. The highly responsible entity in a project can be identified as Product Owner. They have to maintain the product backlog and ensure that the product fits with the business requirements. In case of any changes in the product, the Product Owner has to adjust and re-prioritize the current product backlog to fit these changes and maneuver the project. This is a tedious task for the Product Owner. So, the Scrum Master is there to play a consultant role and take care of the project from all perspectives. The Scrum Master guides the Product Owner on how to manage the teamwork with the use of product backlog, sprint planning and meetings. The Scrum Master supports the Product Owner in managing the teamwork, coaches the team and ensures that the team is properly aligned to the Scrum process. The Scrum Master manages the Scrum process, ensures its correct implementation and increasing the scope of its benefits throughout the project. The differences between Scrum Master and Project Manager It is important to know the differences between the Scrum Master and the Project Manager, to find how they complement each other in large-scale projects. The Scrum Master is a coach and facilitator. The Project Manager is a leader, decision-maker and is responsible for managing the project, resources, and scope of business requirements. Sometimes, the Project Manager has to make sure whether the project is lined up with the necessary business requirements or not, whereas the Scrum Master has to look after one project team. Also, Scrum Master has to be a mediator between the project and the customer. Let’s look at how the Project Manager and the Scrum Master roles differ from each other in discrete terms. Parameter   Project Manager   Scrum Master   Goals Has defined goals like completing the project on time, planned budget, and scope Makes sure that the team members are well trained to follow Agile practices appropriately. Also, SM coaches the Scrum teams and mentions the timeline to finish the project Quality Assurance PM also knows the importance of quality, but doesn’t know how to achieve this. Usually, a consultant is hired to fix the errors Scrum Master assures the quality and very well knows the importance of it. Team Size Project Managers like to make things large. Project Manager works with more people and a huge budget. In this way, they improve to Program Manager. Scrum Master always tries to keep things smaller. They like to work in small teams irrespective of budget. Average salary in the United States (2019) $77,000 per year $97,500 per year Job Description Planning, creating budget and the related documents PM has to work with upper management to ensure a scope and direction of a project PM has to work with another department also, in case of emergency sometimes have to work themselves or instruct the team to finish a goal.   Resolves barriers and controls the Scrum processes. Making a team aware of Agile and Scrum to deliver successfully Facilitates the Scrum ceremonies Ensures that a project is running smoothly with the help of the tools Executes the Product Backlog as per the Product Owner prioritization Solves team conflicts with good communication skills Motivates the team Monitors the Scrum processes to increase efficiency                                                                     Differences: Scrum Master vs. Project Manager. Organizations that are new to Agile and Scrum commit some deadly blunders. The most common and overlooked one is the lack of clarity of the roles of the Scrum Master and the Project Manager. This is more often seen in smaller Scrum teams, where these two discrete roles overlap. There are of course similarities between Scrum Master and Project Manager roles. But that does not give way to ignoring the distinct differences between an Agile Project Manager and Scrum Master. Similarities between the Scrum Master and the Project Manager: Project Manager and Scrum Master both are humans and they both make mistakes. But they both debug and learn from the mistakes. They both can communicate, receive feedback, mitigate the risks, and enable a great bonding within a team. Actually, neither the Project Manager nor the Scrum Master is the supreme authority. The Project Manager has to report to the client and the stakeholders, whereas the Scrum Master has to report to the Product Owner alongside the stakeholders and clients. Both Project Manager and the Scrum Master fail when they ignore the basic principles that are supposed to be adhered to. They fail when they not only neglect being professionals, but also when they are any less than skilled professionals. Sometimes, they may also fail when they disrespect the team members’ opinions. Let’s find out the roles and responsibilities of a Scrum Master and Project Manager. The roles and responsibilities of a Scrum Master Scrum Master is referred as a facilitator, who manages the teams that are implementing the Agile methodology. Scrum framework is the best framework for smaller teams of developers, who can break their work into a Sprint in order to get your project done at the end of every sprint. Great teams rely on the Scrum Masters to get their work done within a time limit. You might as well say that being a Scrum Master is a kind of art. All depends on the sprint planning and release planning processes which give scientific clarity to SM in ensuring that the team is able to execute the amount of assigned work in the right way. Sprint planning Scheduling the daily Scrum meeting Managing Scrum process responsibly Helping the Scrum teams to follow Scrum practices Removing barriers so the team can focus on their work Assisting with the Product Backlog Co-operating with Product Owner in designing Product Backlog items for the next Sprint Protecting the team from external distractions Recording and assisting to improve team dynamics Guides the Product Owner on the project Helps teams to speed up the processes Monitors the sprint progress Promotes team discussions Motivates the team Scrum Master acts as a cement to bind the team together The roles and responsibilities of a Project Manager Project Manager’s role is to manage the projects and ensure that the project meets the requirements. There is a time or place for a Project Manager in the large projects. The Project Manager can cover multiple teams and can work with other dependent teams as well. PM can coordinate with multiple teams, help them to meet project timelines and collaborate when resources are required. The roles and responsibilities of the Project Manager are as follows. Defining project scope to the team Planning project target Preparing the work schedule for the team members Gathering requirements Defining the resource requirements for the project Preparing the budget for a project Assuring quality Mitigating the risks Monitoring the plans Getting user feedback Managing relationships with the client and the stakeholders Ending the project Managing the finance related issues budget Reporting to business leaders on the project progress Task allocation Risk management Focusing on processes Prioritizing the project related features Coordinating with other teams if required Conclusion The Project Manager and the Scrum Master both have varied roles. Deciding between the Scrum Master certification and Project Management certification is indeed a tough choice and entails a careful consideration of the prospects of each. Eventually, the role of a Scrum Master is proved as a ‘deciding factor’ of the successful projects. The Scrum Master and the Project Manager both have distinct roles. Both need particular skill-sets and a right person to make the work happen.

Scrum Master vs. Project Manager: Differences & Similarities

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Scrum Master vs. Project Manager: Differences & Similarities

For an entrant in the IT industry, the roles Project Manager and Scrum Master look like two similar ones. But this is not an absolute fact. Both roles are very separate and distinct from each other. Both can be molded into different approaches in a project.

While noting down the differences between the Project Manager and the Scrum Master, you will find out that the Project Manager plays the leadership role by leading a planning for the execution of the project. Scrum Master plays a support role for the team members, by working closely with the team and ensuring that they are following Agile principles properly.

Relationship between the Scrum Master and the Project Manager

Relationship between the Scrum Master and the Project Manager

Next, you might be wondering, what is the role of a Project Manager in Scrum? If you know the transition from Waterfall to Agile, you might think that the title ‘Project Manager’ is just shifted to the title ‘Scrum Master’. However, the Project Manager’s responsibilities cannot be directly converted to a Scrum Master role.

role of a Project Manager in Scrum

When you transit from traditional approach (Waterfall model) to Agile, the responsibilities of a Project Manager are distributed among the variety of team members. Some responsibilities go to the Program Manager, some to the Product Owner, some to the Scrum Master and some to the remaining team. On the other hand, switching from Waterfall to Agile is not an easy process.

Unlike Scrum Master, we can say a Product Owner’s role is closely aligned to the Project Manager’s role. The highly responsible entity in a project can be identified as Product Owner. They have to maintain the product backlog and ensure that the product fits with the business requirements. In case of any changes in the product, the Product Owner has to adjust and re-prioritize the current product backlog to fit these changes and maneuver the project. This is a tedious task for the Product Owner.

So, the Scrum Master is there to play a consultant role and take care of the project from all perspectives. The Scrum Master guides the Product Owner on how to manage the teamwork with the use of product backlog, sprint planning and meetings.

The Scrum Master supports the Product Owner in managing the teamwork, coaches the team and ensures that the team is properly aligned to the Scrum process. The Scrum Master manages the Scrum process, ensures its correct implementation and increasing the scope of its benefits throughout the project.

The differences between Scrum Master and Project Manager

It is important to know the differences between the Scrum Master and the Project Manager, to find how they complement each other in large-scale projects.

The Scrum Master is a coach and facilitator. The Project Manager is a leader, decision-maker and is responsible for managing the project, resources, and scope of business requirements. Sometimes, the Project Manager has to make sure whether the project is lined up with the necessary business requirements or not, whereas the Scrum Master has to look after one project team. Also, Scrum Master has to be a mediator between the project and the customer.

Let’s look at how the Project Manager and the Scrum Master roles differ from each other in discrete terms.

Parameter
 
Project Manager
 
Scrum Master
 
Goals Has defined goals like completing the project on time, planned budget, and scope Makes sure that the team members are well trained to follow Agile practices appropriately. Also, SM coaches the Scrum teams and mentions the timeline to finish the project
Quality Assurance PM also knows the importance of quality, but doesn’t know how to achieve this. Usually, a consultant is hired to fix the errors Scrum Master assures the quality and very well knows the importance of it.
Team Size Project Managers like to make things large. Project Manager works with more people and a huge budget. In this way, they improve to Program Manager. Scrum Master always tries to keep things smaller. They like to work in small teams irrespective of budget.
Average salary in the United States (2019) $77,000 per year $97,500 per year
Job Description
  • Planning, creating budget and the related documents
  • PM has to work with upper management to ensure a scope and direction of a project
  • PM has to work with another department also, in case of emergency
  • sometimes have to work themselves or instruct the team to finish a goal.

 

  • Resolves barriers and controls the Scrum processes.

  • Making a team aware of Agile and Scrum to deliver successfully

  • Facilitates the Scrum ceremonies

  • Ensures that a project is running smoothly with the help of the tools

  • Executes the Product Backlog as per the Product Owner prioritization

  • Solves team conflicts with good communication skills

  • Motivates the team

  • Monitors the Scrum processes to increase efficiency

                                                                    Differences: Scrum Master vs. Project Manager.

Organizations that are new to Agile and Scrum commit some deadly blunders. The most common and overlooked one is the lack of clarity of the roles of the Scrum Master and the Project Manager. This is more often seen in smaller Scrum teams, where these two discrete roles overlap.

There are of course similarities between Scrum Master and Project Manager roles. But that does not give way to ignoring the distinct differences between an Agile Project Manager and Scrum Master.

Similarities between the Scrum Master and the Project Manager:

  • Project Manager and Scrum Master both are humans and they both make mistakes. But they both debug and learn from the mistakes. They both can communicate, receive feedback, mitigate the risks, and enable a great bonding within a team.
  • Actually, neither the Project Manager nor the Scrum Master is the supreme authority. The Project Manager has to report to the client and the stakeholders, whereas the Scrum Master has to report to the Product Owner alongside the stakeholders and clients.
  • Both Project Manager and the Scrum Master fail when they ignore the basic principles that are supposed to be adhered to. They fail when they not only neglect being professionals, but also when they are any less than skilled professionals. Sometimes, they may also fail when they disrespect the team members’ opinions.

Let’s find out the roles and responsibilities of a Scrum Master and Project Manager.

The roles and responsibilities of a Scrum Master

Scrum Master is referred as a facilitator, who manages the teams that are implementing the Agile methodology. Scrum framework is the best framework for smaller teams of developers, who can break their work into a Sprint in order to get your project done at the end of every sprint.

Great teams rely on the Scrum Masters to get their work done within a time limit. You might as well say that being a Scrum Master is a kind of art. All depends on the sprint planning and release planning processes which give scientific clarity to SM in ensuring that the team is able to execute the amount of assigned work in the right way.

  • Sprint planning
  • Scheduling the daily Scrum meeting
  • Managing Scrum process responsibly
  • Helping the Scrum teams to follow Scrum practices
  • Removing barriers so the team can focus on their work
  • Assisting with the Product Backlog
  • Co-operating with Product Owner in designing Product Backlog items for the next Sprint
  • Protecting the team from external distractions
  • Recording and assisting to improve team dynamics

  • Guides the Product Owner on the project
  • Helps teams to speed up the processes
  • Monitors the sprint progress
  • Promotes team discussions
  • Motivates the team
  • Scrum Master acts as a cement to bind the team together

The roles and responsibilities of a Project Manager

Project Manager’s role is to manage the projects and ensure that the project meets the requirements. There is a time or place for a Project Manager in the large projects. The Project Manager can cover multiple teams and can work with other dependent teams as well. PM can coordinate with multiple teams, help them to meet project timelines and collaborate when resources are required. The roles and responsibilities of the Project Manager are as follows.

  • Defining project scope to the team
  • Planning project target
  • Preparing the work schedule for the team members
  • Gathering requirements
  • Defining the resource requirements for the project
  • Preparing the budget for a project
  • Assuring quality
  • Mitigating the risks
  • Monitoring the plans
  • Getting user feedback
  • Managing relationships with the client and the stakeholders
  • Ending the project

  • Managing the finance related issues budget
  • Reporting to business leaders on the project progress
  • Task allocation
  • Risk management
  • Focusing on processes
  • Prioritizing the project related features
  • Coordinating with other teams if required

Conclusion

The Project Manager and the Scrum Master both have varied roles. Deciding between the Scrum Master certification and Project Management certification is indeed a tough choice and entails a careful consideration of the prospects of each. Eventually, the role of a Scrum Master is proved as a ‘deciding factor’ of the successful projects. The Scrum Master and the Project Manager both have distinct roles. Both need particular skill-sets and a right person to make the work happen.

KnowledgeHut

KnowledgeHut

Author

KnowledgeHut is an outcome-focused global ed-tech company. We help organizations and professionals unlock excellence through skills development. We offer training solutions under the people and process, data science, full-stack development, cybersecurity, future technologies and digital transformation verticals.
Website : https://www.knowledgehut.com

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2 comments

Exous 25 Aug 2018

The avg salary is in what curency?

KnowledgeHut Editor 22 Jan 2019

Indian currency

Aditya 24 Jun 2019

Excellent article learned a lot of information thanks.

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Organizations hire Certified Team Coach (CTC) to train, coach, mentor, remove obstacles, and lead the team to leverage value delivery, team collaboration, and continuous development across multiple teams. Prerequisites to grab CTC certificationAn active Certified Scrum Professional certification 1,000 hours of Agile coaching experience in the last 2 years without considering your role as Scrum MasterCoaching experience in at least 2 organizations Must be actively participated in a minimum of 5 Agile eventsPractical experience of Scrum implementation and coaching experience in Agile and Scrum framework.What next after CTC certification?Certified Team Coaches (CTCs) can initiate coaching, mentoring, and training the professionals on Agile and Scrum processes once they earn CTC certification. Also, they can recommend up to 50 individuals yearly for whom they have given 25-hours of in-person training or small group training to achieve Certified ScrumMaster® and Certified Scrum Product Owner® certifications. In this way, a CTC certified can contribute to creating a healthy environment of the organizations by coaching the team members on Scrum.      4. Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST)Scrum Alliance offer only one trainer-centric certification in the form of Certified Scrum Trainer®  (CST) certification. This is the most sought-after certification and those who wish to transform the working way of the teams can be a part of this training. Prerequisites to grab CST certificationTo become a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST), you need to have:Detailed knowledge of the Scrum concepts, practices, and principlesAn active Certified Scrum Professional ScrumMaster™ (CSP-SM™) certification from Scrum AllianceHands-on experience in implementing the Scrum framework as a ScrumMaster, Product Owner, or Development team memberTeaching experience in partnership with any Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) or independently-Taught to at least 100 candidatesHosted at least 10 or more days ScrumMaster training sessions Respective certifications in order to train professionals on the courses (e.g. if want to train on CSPO, an individual should hold an active CSPO certification.  What next after CST certification?As a CST, you can teach Scrum to the students who want to work in a Scrum environment. Scrum Alliance considers CST as an active member in the Scrum community who actively takes part in the events and user groups, blogging, and in online discussions.    5. Certified Enterprise Coach℠ (CEC):The Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC) exhibits their years of experience in Scrum transformations at an enterprise level. They also show their in-depth understanding of implementing Scrum practices and principles. The CECs are skilled at Scrum (both theoretically and practically) and guide organizations during their Agile transformation journey.Prerequisites to grab CEC certificationThe individuals aspiring Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC) credential must possess:Knowledge of Scrum practices, proven leadership, and coaching skills An active CSP-SM™ or CSP-PO™ or CSP® certification Working experience in Scrum team rolesCoaching experience in at least three organizations2,000 hours over the past 3 years of work experience as a Coach.What next after CEC certification?Being a CEC certified, an individual can help organizations to become an Agile organization using the Scrum framework to transform the world of work. Also, they can recommend up to 50 individuals yearly for whom they have given 25-hours of in-person training or small group training to achieve Certified ScrumMaster® and Certified Scrum Product Owner® certifications. In this way, a CTC certified can contribute to creating a healthy environment of the organizations by coaching the team members on Scrum.   6. Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®)The Product Owner (PO) creates the product vision, prioritize the product backlog, and help the team in delivering what customers intuitively looking for. The CSPO®  is the certification for the Product Owners that will help an individual in handling the business side of the project. Prerequisites to grab CSPO® certificationThere is no prerequisite to attend  CSPO® training. However, in order to earn this certification, an individual need to attend 2-days of CSPO® course taught by Certified Scrum Trainer®  (CST). What next after CSPO® certification?After taking CSPO certification, you can go for advanced-level certification of CSPO which is an Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner® (A-CSPO®) course from Scrum Alliance. 7. Certified Scrum Developer® (CSD®)The  CSD® certification proves that an individual has skills of building the software using Scrum as a part of the Scrum team. With CSD® , you can strengthen your technical skills in Agile software development. Prerequisites to grab CSD® certificationAny programmer (having coding knowledge) can attend CSD® course. To achieve this, an individual needs to undergo at least 5-days of the formal CSD training course by a Scrum Alliance Registered Education Provider (REP) and a Scrum Alliance Authorized Instructor. In addition to this, the CSD® certification offers the privilege to the CSM certified candidates. They can skip the first 2 days and directly join from the 3rd day of the technical training.What next after CSD® certification?After CSD® certification, an individual can level-up his/her skills with Certified Scrum Professional® for Developers (CSP- D) certification. The CSP certification help teams to constantly improve the ways of implementing Agile and Scrum practices and principles.   8. ICAgile Certified Professional in Agile Coaching (ICP-ACC) CertificationICP-ACC certification in Agile Coaching certification aims to achieve an Agile mindset. After this certification, an individual can easily be able to differentiate between the facilitation, mentoring, professional coaching and teaching and will get to learn the skills like team collaboration and conflict resolution to form a healthy organizational environment.Prerequisites to grab ICP-ACC certificationAn individual with CSM certification and 2-3 years of working experience as a Scrum Master, is eligible to achieve ICP-ACC certification training. What next after ICP ACC certification?Being a certified Agile Coach, you can play the role of the mentor to the Agile team by facilitating Agile practices and empowering teams to reach their goals. More specifically, an Agile Coach can is a guide to the team members who help the team in Agile adoption. Career Roles of a Scrum MasterThe Scrum Master is the heart of the Scrum process who plays a diverse set of roles in the team. Let's have a glimpse of the various roles that Scrum Master can play after the CSM certification:Agile CoachProduct OwnerManager SAFe Scrum MasterConcluding ThoughtsThe Scrum Master role should not be an end itself. There is always a scope of consistent improvement. So, for all the Scrum Masters, ‘What’s your next career path?’ Being a Scrum Master, try not to keep yourself restricted to limited skills. Try to advance your Scrum skills always by taking more advanced Scrum certifications.    So, are you ready to take the plunge with other advanced Scrum certifications after earning CSM certification?  
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The Career Path of a Certified Scrum Master: Found...

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