agile top banner

Product Manager vs Scrum Master - Top 7 Differences To Learn

Read it in 10 Mins

Last updated on
07th Jun, 2022
Published
07th Jun, 2022
Views
1,293
Product Manager vs Scrum Master - Top 7 Differences To Learn

Comparing the duties of a project manager with a scrum master is equivalent to comparing apples with oranges. These are two distinct professions with few job components in common. Nonetheless, both roles necessitate similar personality traits, and both can be fashioned into various project approaches. When comparing and contrasting the roles of the project manager and the scrum master, you'll see that the project manager takes the lead in project planning, whereas a scrum master provides support to team members in close collaboration with them and assuring that the Agile principles are followed correctly. But before we go into the debate to clarify the situation, we'll look at the product manager vs. scrum master topic and highlight the contrasts in this article. However, it is crucial to know what product manager vs. scrum master roles is.

Who Is a Product Manager?

The product manager is the public face of the product since they visualize it before it is built. They are the primary person in charge of a product's market performance. Their primary responsibility is to collaborate directly with the company to gain project-related knowledge and provide explanations to the team for why certain functionalities are included. As the customer's representative, they are expected to explain the product's concept without needing to go into technical aspects. They anticipate customer demands and make the product vision explicit for the developers to know their responsibilities. A project manager's job also consists of ensuring that any product enhancement adds value to the product, the company, the industry, and the customers. The following are some of the most important roles a product manager plays in an organization. 

  • The product manager holds the project's overarching roadmap, which shows the entire product over the next few years. The product manager consults and engages with end-users to identify their needs and develop a product strategy. They also put the product's concept into a format that developers can understand, ensuring to fulfill all end-user demands. 
  • After the product has been manufactured, the product manager's main responsibility is to examine the product backlog before each iteration meeting. They must guarantee that the prioritization of demands and the incorporation of input is appropriate, as discussed. The product manager is free to re-prioritize the product backlog based on new requirements, updated estimates, and customer feedback. Those adjustments, however, must be carefully considered and should not cause any misunderstanding within the Agile team. 
  • Product managers are responsible for overseeing each stage of product development, including planning, refining, reviewing, and sprinting. Working with stakeholders to identify and organize the steps for the next iteration is part of the planning process. Following that, the process is refined, highlighting areas for improvement in sprint planning. 
  • During the product development phase, client feedback is extremely valuable. Customers should be thoroughly informed about market knowledge, current competitors, and user behavior, and the highest potential product features should be recommended. 
  • Product managers must understand the needs of their customers and be able to recommend the key qualities of their products. To acquire all the necessary skills for a product manager you can enroll in the POPM training program and gain extensive knowledge and experience for the position of a product manager. 

Who Is a Scrum Master?

A scrum master is an Agile team leader or coach who encourages and supports Scrum. They help everyone grasp Scrum theory, practices, and values so that everyone on the team follows it completely. A scrum master assists developers in collaborating with other individuals within the organization, including product owners and stakeholders, in ensuring robust and efficient interaction and the development of an optimal and appealing product. They are not actively involved in developing product strategies and iterations, but they do assist developers in achieving their objectives by discussing and comprehending their roadblocks. As the person in charge of people's interactions during product development and delivery, a scrum master must have soft, technical skills and know the latest tools and procedures. Some of the most important roles that a scrum master plays in an organization are: 

  • Both the developers and the product owners have a coach in the scrum master. They serve as a connection between the two and ensure that communication runs smoothly. The scrum master breaks down boundaries between the product owner and the developers, allowing the product owner to lead development directly. A scrum master ensures that the team works together productively to improve performance. The scrum masters are the instructors who teach the developers how to tackle problems independently. 
  • The scrum master serves as a leader, assisting developers with communication with the product owner and other team members. They do not act as supervisors and expect the developers to work. However, they ask the group members if they can help with any job that needs to be done. Although they serve as team coaches, they are not their commanders. 
  • The scrum master assists the Scrum team in adhering to the Scrum values and the Scrum team's approaches. The scrum master does not have the same power as the project manager, but they ensure that the team can establish and follow its procedure to complete the work quickly and efficiently. 
  • Several obstructions arise when a sprint is being created that prevent the sprint from moving ahead. This could cause a sprint delivery delay, which may lower customer satisfaction and business value. The scrum master serves as an obstacle remover, clearing any obstacles that the developers could not eliminate. This guarantees that the developer does their work on schedule and produces high-quality sprints that improve the project and boosts the team's productivity. 

Difference Between Product Manager and Scrum Master 

Let's look at the difference between scrum masters and product managers and how their responsibilities differ from one another. 


Scrum Masters
Project Managers
Main Focus
Scrum team members and their development are the scrum master's primary concerns.The project manager's the primary goal, on the other hand, is to ensure that the project runs smoothly.
RisksThe role of the scrum master is to eliminate risks early and often, allowing the Scrum team members to progress.The project manager must take care of the risks associated with the particular project.
RoleScrum Master is a team facilitator and serves as a servant leader.The product manager serves as a team leader and is responsible for project performance and ensuring that everything goes according to plan.
Key Responsibilities
A scrum master leads the Scrum team and stakeholders in Scrum training and coaching and encourages the developers' ability to add more value to the product.A product manager verifies that all project components are well-managed and within acceptable parameters. They also ensure that stakeholders' expectations and project goals must be harmonized.
Flexibility in Job Roles
A scrum master operates in the Agile framework, which means they can incorporate alternative methods that provide value while adhering to the Scrum guidelines and norms.Project managers have greater freedom in their responsibilities since they can choose the best method and tailor it to their specific needs.
Skills Required
A scrum master must be a great team coach, mentor, instructor, facilitator, promoter, stimulator, and supporter.Project managers must possess all leadership traits, including communicating effectively, making decisions, negotiating effectively, and motivating others.
Expertise
Scrum masters must be excellent coaches with solid Scrum ideas and knowledge.Product managers are educated and trained to carefully plan, design, execute, and deliver projects.

Product Manager vs. Scrum Master: Which One to Choose? 

It would be unfair to suggest that one role is better than the other or that the scrum master's role is easier than the project manager's. Each one of the two responsibilities is distinct and requires distinct procedures. The only resemblance between the two positions is that they are interested in optimizing outcomes, but neither role is directly responsible for the project's failure or success. However, the following factors can assist you in deciding between the two. 

  • When it comes to getting things done, some people take a strategic approach, constantly considering the broad picture and a few moves ahead. These qualities relate to a product manager who has to be aware of the comprehensive view on all occasions, see the product as a whole, and be able to prioritize and plan the team's course of action for months. Others are more adept at quickly resolving difficulties and putting out fires. These traits relate to a scrum master who is more of a strategist, someone who recognizes problems and responds in a way that removes the obstacles while simultaneously empowering the people involved. 
  • Irrespective of the function, communication skills are essential in Agile. The scrum master, in particular, is a profession that requires excellent communication abilities. 
  • The product manager position is ideal for anyone interested in the business aspect of a product. In Agile, the product manager is in charge of most of the business side. They engage with stakeholders, prioritize the product backlog, and guarantee that the rest of the team knows the product's business logic. 
  • Empathy, or the ability to notice and comprehend other people's feelings, is a valuable skill in the corporate world, regardless of what you do or what role you play. Scrum masters that are extremely empathic are the most effective in Agile. To enhance your skills from a beginner to an expert you can enroll in Agile courses for beginners and apply your knowledge to become an efficient scrum master. 

Conclusion

Both the project manager and the scrum master have a range of duties. Choosing between the scrum master and project management certifications is a difficult decision that requires careful analysis of the merits and downsides of each. Any path you choose, KnowledgeHut's POPM training and Agile training programs will help you enhance your abilities and secure you a superb product manager or scrum master position. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Q1: Can product managers run Scrum?

 No, product managers cannot run scrum. Product managers must regularly communicate with the scrum master, project team, and other Scrum staff members according to the Scrum structure.

Q2: Is scrum master paid better than product manager?

The typical beginning salary for a product manager is slightly higher (only by a little margin) than the scrum masters. So, you can choose either role depending on where lies your expertise. 

Q3: Is a product manager better than a scrum master?

 It would be misleading to say that the scrum master's job is simpler or superior to the project manager's because the two roles are distinct and require separate methodologies. 

Q4: What are the duties of a scrum master?

 The basic duties of a scrum master are: 

  • Remove roadblocks and maintain Scrum processes. 
  • Make team members aware of Agile and Scrum methodologies to increase efficiency.
  • To motivate the team. 
Profile

Mounika Narang

Author

Mounika Narang is a project manager having a specialisation in IT project management and Instructional Design. She has an experience of 10 years 
working with Fortune 500 companies to solve their most important development challenges. She lives in Bangalore with her family.