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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.
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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 a fast growing Management Consulting and Training firm that is a source of Intelligent Information support for businesses and professionals across the globe.


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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Scrumban | best Kanban and Scrum

Scrumban is a blend of Scrum and Kanban. Scrumban is an Agile methodology, created to help the existing Scrum teams in exploring Lean and Kanban concepts in the organization & also Scrum and kanban is deciding new agile benchmark in organization. But, why is there a need of merging Scrum and Kanban methodologies? The discrete syllables “Scrum” and “ban”, are enough to describe the several phases of transition from Scrum to Kanban. Basically, Scrumban is an Agile management framework, that is implemented when the teams opt for Scrum as the working way and use Kanban methodology as a magnifying glass to view, understand and carry out continuous improvement in the work.   Today, many organizations are experiencing some issues with the Scrum methodology, so they steer their way of working to the Kanban methodology. But some of the enterprises have discovered an optimized means of clubbing the methodologies forming ‘Scrumban’, as a new way for the teams to follow.   Why are teams merging Scrum and Kanban?   The need of combining these two concepts is due to the cons of both the technologies. Let us see the disadvantages of Scrum and Kanban methodologies. Cons of Scrum: Scrum works according to the emphatic guide. ‘Sprints must be time-boxed to a month or less’, as mentioned in the the Scrum guide. This rule is deccelerating the working pace of the teams.  Each sprint should result in a potentially releasable product at the end of each increment. Scrum teams are asked to deliver the software- designed, coded and tested to the stakeholders, in a very short span. This causes more ‘anxiety’ among the team members. Scrum teams have to entirely commit to the customers’ requirements. In case they fail to achieve the high-priority target, they might have to decide to add some technical debts to solve the time-boxed problem. Cons of Kanban: Kanban provides a very linear technique of work. It was firstly used in the car manufacturing line, which was successful as well. So, it is believed that the Kanban can only be used in the systems which have repeatable processes.  Kanban is not very useful in complex systems like software development process as the software needs change at each and every point.  Merging Scrum and Kanban Corey Ladas was the first to coin the term “Scrumban”. According to him,  “Scrum can be a useful scaffold to hold a team together while you erect a more optimized solution in place. At some point you can slough off the cocoon and allow the pull system to spread its wings and take flight.”    In one of the article, Corey suggested that the time-box principle, mandated by the Scrum, is no longer necessary. In a recently released book, Ajay Reddy stated- “Although Scrumban has evolved as a framework over the years, it has no definitive guide or definition. In fact, as highlighted early in this book, several “authoritative” sources disagree about what Scrumban actually represents”.   There are a few changes made in the practices of ‘Scrumban over Scrum’. Let us look at those changes: Added some specialized teams and functions Self-organization concept, but with some specific boundaries Applied the policies explicitly in the working styles Queuing theory and the laws of flow are applied   Let us see that how Scrumban is distinct from a Kanban method, as follows: Organized around the teams Prescribed a proper framework for the teams to work instead of just specifying a technique as in Kanban Realized the value of time-boxed iterations Focuses on continuous improvement techniques   The team needs a proper structure and a set of practices as a starting point of any project. Comparatively, Scrum is prescribed more than the Kanban technique. Newly formed teams usually benefit from the structured framework. Those teams who like structure and continuous improvement by the Scrum but want continuous flow which is provided by Kanban can go for the Scrum/Kanban hybrid i.e. Scrumban. Large enterprise framework viz., Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) make use of the both models- Scrum and Kanban.   We provide both Scrum training & Kanban Training
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Scrumban | best Kanban and Scrum

Scrumban is a blend of Scrum and Kanban. Scrumban ... Read More