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Scrum Master and Product Owner: Understanding the Differences

According to the State of Scrum report 2017-2018 based on the data collection initiated in 2013. This survey represents the real world implementations of Scrum.     Agile methodology imparts the easy and convenient path to work. Scrum is one of the renowned Agile methodologies. The agile methodology consists of 4 main roles, viz. Product Owner, Scrum Master, Scrum team and Stakeholder. Each role has its share of responsibilities. These roles are all about commitment.     Scrum Master and the Product Owner are the two vital roles in the Scrum software development methodology. Since they both are working on different areas of the project, they are indispensable for the project. Scrum Master is a mediator between the Product Owner (PO) and the Development Team.     Let’s see how a Scrum Master is different from a Product Owner. Difference between the Product Owner and Scrum Master-   Though the Product Owner and the Scrum master vary in their roles, they complement each other. Scrum master should support the Product Owner in every step possible. There should be an amicable relationship between the Product Owner and the Scrum master. Disputes may happen between them if the roles are not clarified. Let us have a look at the differences in roles between the Product Owner and the Scrum Master. The Scrum Master concentrates on the project success, by assisting the product owner and the team is using the right process for creating a successful target and establishing the Agile principles.     Skills of the Scrum Master (SM): Removes the impediments and keep the team on track The Scrum Master helps the team to strictly adhere to the Scrum practices and helps them in reaching the target. The Scrum Master find out the distractions that are hindering the team from delivering the product quality. The distractions include unwanted meetings, complexity in the procedure, work environment etc. Encourages Collaboration The Scrum Master notices the daily activities of the team members. Also, the SM share his/her experiences with the team members via meetings, conferences, and seminars. The Scrum Master encourages the collaboration through the stand-up meetings, the release of planning sessions, iteration planning, and demo sessions. Good listening and Communication power The Scrum Master should have good communication skills in order to discuss the ideas and plan with the team. Good communication helps to deliver messages to customers, teams, and target audiences. Also, listening to the team members will help them share their ideas with the Scrum Master. So, Scrum Master should be a good listener also. Mentors the team as a Coach A successful Scrum Master understands the importance of the team working in collaboration. He/She mentors the team members as a Coach to implement the Scrum practices.    Flexibility for adopting the change The Scrum Master should be flexible for adopting any change. While implementing the Agile methodology, the team members may face the problems. So, the Scrum Master should be able to help the team members to adopt the changes. The Scrum Master facilitates the daily Scrum meetings for the team members to discuss their issues that are hindering the project growth.     Partnership with the Product Owner Scrum consists of three roles – Product Owner, Scrum Team and Scrum Master. The Scrum Master acts as a mediator between the development team and the Product Owner. The two roles- Product Owner and Scrum Master are valuable for the team, as they build a perfect relation with the team and thereby delivering the best results. Servant Leadership quality The Scrum Master provides collaboration. Scrum Master is also known as a Servant Leader.  He/She guides the team members on how to follow the Scrum approach to motivate the team members to deliver the best. Responsibilities of the Scrum Master:   Scrum Master facilitates team for better vision and always tries to improve the efficiency of the teams. Scrum Master manages Scrum processes coordinating with the Scrum team in the Agile methodology. Scrum Master removes impediments for the Scrum team. Scrum Master arranges daily quick stand-up meetings to ensure quick inspection and proper use of adaptation processes. Scrum Master helps Product Owner to shape the product backlog and make it ready for the next sprint. Conducting retrospective meetings. Scrum Master organizes and facilitates the sprint planning meeting. Most importantly, the Scrum Master removes the impediments that hindering the project success. Scrum Master keeps the team away from the distractions. The Product Owner’s responsibility is to focus on product success, to build a product which works better for the users and the customers and to create a product which meets business requirements. The Product Owner can interact with the users and customers, Stakeholders, the Development team and the Scrum Master.   Skills of the Product Owner (PO): Product Owner should have an idea about the business value of the product and the customers’ demands. Certified Scrum Product Owner Certification (CSPO) will be beneficial for the sales team. The development team consults the Product Owner, so he should always be available for them to implement the features correctly. Product Owner should understand the program from the end-user point of view. Marketing is discussed on the sales level in most of the Organizations. So it is the Product Owner’s duty to guide the marketing persons to achieve the goals successfully. Product Owner is responsible for the product and the ways to flourish a business. Product Owner has to focus on the proper production and ROI as well. Product Owner should be able to solve the problems, completing trade-off analysis and making decisions about business deliverables. After Certified Scrum Product Owner course, Product Owner can work with the project managers and the technical leads to prioritize the scope for product development. Sometimes Product Owner and the Customers are same, sometimes Customers are thousands or millions of people. Some other skills are as follows: 1.Communication Skills Communication is the key factor for any team member to be successful.  The team should be open to working together to achieve a common project target. It is very important that everyone on the team should communicate effectively. Most probably, the Product Owner should possess good communication skills. As the Product Owner needs to work with the customers’ to understand their needs and conveying that to the development team to bring it to reality. If they could not able to communicate effectively, it may affect the organization value. 2.Commitment The Product Owner should be committed to the project target, product vision, team, and the business. They have to attend all the meetings and work with all the team members. So, it is very important for them to collaborate with everyone. Furthermore, the Product Owner must be accountable for the process and be committed to the success of the project 3. Vision The Product Owner should be able to clearly communicate the product vision between the backlog items and the large project goals. They check whether the product vision is aligned with the company’s vision and needs. 4.Curious about what they work Concerning that “bad product owner” is so often the excuse for bad product. I coach towards product leadership and team ownership. My worst case is product owner telling the team exactly what to build, and team not taking ownership of the outcome. That’s what “bad” looks like. https://t.co/Um4rgvJ7yk — Jeff Patton (@jeffpatton) April 4, 2018 The Product Owner (PO) need to be curious always to ask ‘Why’ from the client (about his/her requirements) and ‘How(to the development team). But before asking the questions to the team, they should understand the rules and able to create a clear vision of the final product. Responsibilities of the Product Owner: Product Owner has to attend the daily sprint planning meetings. Product Owner prioritizes the product features, so the development team can clearly understand them. Product Owner decides the deadlines for the project. Product Owner determines the release date and contents. Product Owner manages and creates the product backlog for implementation, which is nothing but the prioritized backlog of user stories. Product Owner defines user stories to the development team. Spending some time to prioritize the user stories with a few team members. The Product Owner and Scrum Master Relation     This question is highly debatable in an Agile world. Many say that there needs to be a clear contrast between these the Scrum Master and Product Owner and therefore needs two individuals to manage these two roles. The Product Owner should have an overall vision of the client’s requirements. Due to this reason, the Scrum Master needs the Product Owner. Whereas the project team requires the Scrum Master to work maintaining the velocity and capacity of the team. Choosing the best The Product Owner has to get involved in grabbing the project details. But, along with that, the Product Owners expect an experienced Scrum Master should work and guide his/her team members to work efficiently yielding good results. The Scrum Master and the Product Owner have mostly overlapping roles and responsibilities and skills as well. Every one of them requires an alternate level of communication and mindset.
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Scrum Master and Product Owner: Understanding the Differences

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Scrum Master and Product Owner: Understanding the Differences

According to the State of Scrum report 2017-2018 based on the data collection initiated in 2013. This survey represents the real world implementations of Scrum.
 

state of scrum
 

Agile methodology imparts the easy and convenient path to work. Scrum is one of the renowned Agile methodologies. The agile methodology consists of 4 main roles, viz. Product Owner, Scrum Master, Scrum team and Stakeholder. Each role has its share of responsibilities. These roles are all about commitment.

 

sohrab salimi

 

Scrum Master and the Product Owner are the two vital roles in the Scrum software development methodology. Since they both are working on different areas of the project, they are indispensable for the project. Scrum Master is a mediator between the Product Owner (PO) and the Development Team.
 

 

Let’s see how a Scrum Master is different from a Product Owner.

Difference between the Product Owner and Scrum Master-

Direct communication encouraged
 

Though the Product Owner and the Scrum master vary in their roles, they complement each other. Scrum master should support the Product Owner in every step possible. There should be an amicable relationship between the Product Owner and the Scrum master. Disputes may happen between them if the roles are not clarified. Let us have a look at the differences in roles between the Product Owner and the Scrum Master.

The Scrum Master concentrates on the project success, by assisting the product owner and the team is using the right process for creating a successful target and establishing the Agile principles.

 

 

Skills of the Scrum Master (SM):

  • Removes the impediments and keep the team on track

The Scrum Master helps the team to strictly adhere to the Scrum practices and helps them in reaching the target. The Scrum Master find out the distractions that are hindering the team from delivering the product quality. The distractions include unwanted meetings, complexity in the procedure, work environment etc.

  • Encourages Collaboration

The Scrum Master notices the daily activities of the team members. Also, the SM share his/her experiences with the team members via meetings, conferences, and seminars. The Scrum Master encourages the collaboration through the stand-up meetings, the release of planning sessions, iteration planning, and demo sessions.

  • Good listening and Communication power

The Scrum Master should have good communication skills in order to discuss the ideas and plan with the team. Good communication helps to deliver messages to customers, teams, and target audiences. Also, listening to the team members will help them share their ideas with the Scrum Master. So, Scrum Master should be a good listener also.

  • Mentors the team as a Coach

A successful Scrum Master understands the importance of the team working in collaboration. He/She mentors the team members as a Coach to implement the Scrum practices.   

  • Flexibility for adopting the change

The Scrum Master should be flexible for adopting any change. While implementing the Agile methodology, the team members may face the problems. So, the Scrum Master should be able to help the team members to adopt the changes. The Scrum Master facilitates the daily Scrum meetings for the team members to discuss their issues that are hindering the project growth.    

  • Partnership with the Product Owner

Scrum consists of three roles – Product Owner, Scrum Team and Scrum Master. The Scrum Master acts as a mediator between the development team and the Product Owner. The two roles- Product Owner and Scrum Master are valuable for the team, as they build a perfect relation with the team and thereby delivering the best results.

  • Servant Leadership quality

The Scrum Master provides collaboration. Scrum Master is also known as a Servant Leader.  He/She guides the team members on how to follow the Scrum approach to motivate the team members to deliver the best.

Responsibilities of the Scrum Master:

Responsibilities of the Scrum Master

 

  • Scrum Master facilitates team for better vision and always tries to improve the efficiency of the teams.
  • Scrum Master manages Scrum processes coordinating with the Scrum team in the Agile methodology.
  • Scrum Master removes impediments for the Scrum team.
  • Scrum Master arranges daily quick stand-up meetings to ensure quick inspection and proper use of adaptation processes.
  • Scrum Master helps Product Owner to shape the product backlog and make it ready for the next sprint.
  • Conducting retrospective meetings.
  • Scrum Master organizes and facilitates the sprint planning meeting.
  • Most importantly, the Scrum Master removes the impediments that hindering the project success.
  • Scrum Master keeps the team away from the distractions.

The Product Owner’s responsibility is to focus on product success, to build a product which works better for the users and the customers and to create a product which meets business requirements. The Product Owner can interact with the users and customers, Stakeholders, the Development team and the Scrum Master.
 

Product owner responsibility

Skills of the Product Owner (PO):

  • Product Owner should have an idea about the business value of the product and the customers’ demands.
  • Certified Scrum Product Owner Certification (CSPO) will be beneficial for the sales team.
  • The development team consults the Product Owner, so he should always be available for them to implement the features correctly.
  • Product Owner should understand the program from the end-user point of view.
  • Marketing is discussed on the sales level in most of the Organizations. So it is the Product Owner’s duty to guide the marketing persons to achieve the goals successfully.
  • Product Owner is responsible for the product and the ways to flourish a business.
  • Product Owner has to focus on the proper production and ROI as well.
  • Product Owner should be able to solve the problems, completing trade-off analysis and making decisions about business deliverables.
  • After Certified Scrum Product Owner course, Product Owner can work with the project managers and the technical leads to prioritize the scope for product development.
  • Sometimes Product Owner and the Customers are same, sometimes Customers are thousands or millions of people.

Some other skills are as follows:

1.Communication Skills

Communication is the key factor for any team member to be successful.  The team should be open to working together to achieve a common project target. It is very important that everyone on the team should communicate effectively. Most probably, the Product Owner should possess good communication skills. As the Product Owner needs to work with the customers’ to understand their needs and conveying that to the development team to bring it to reality. If they could not able to communicate effectively, it may affect the organization value.

2.Commitment

The Product Owner should be committed to the project target, product vision, team, and the business. They have to attend all the meetings and work with all the team members. So, it is very important for them to collaborate with everyone. Furthermore, the Product Owner must be accountable for the process and be committed to the success of the project

3. Vision

The Product Owner should be able to clearly communicate the product vision between the backlog items and the large project goals. They check whether the product vision is aligned with the company’s vision and needs.

4.Curious about what they work

The Product Owner (PO) need to be curious always to ask ‘Why’ from the client (about his/her requirements) and ‘How(to the development team). But before asking the questions to the team, they should understand the rules and able to create a clear vision of the final product.

Responsibilities of the Product Owner:

  • Product Owner has to attend the daily sprint planning meetings.
  • Product Owner prioritizes the product features, so the development team can clearly understand them.
  • Product Owner decides the deadlines for the project.
  • Product Owner determines the release date and contents.
  • Product Owner manages and creates the product backlog for implementation, which is nothing but the prioritized backlog of user stories.
  • Product Owner defines user stories to the development team.
  • Spending some time to prioritize the user stories with a few team members.

The Product Owner and Scrum Master Relation
 

The Product Owner and Scrum Master Relation

 

This question is highly debatable in an Agile world. Many say that there needs to be a clear contrast between these the Scrum Master and Product Owner and therefore needs two individuals to manage these two roles.

The Product Owner should have an overall vision of the client’s requirements. Due to this reason, the Scrum Master needs the Product Owner. Whereas the project team requires the Scrum Master to work maintaining the velocity and capacity of the team.

Choosing the best

The Product Owner has to get involved in grabbing the project details. But, along with that, the Product Owners expect an experienced Scrum Master should work and guide his/her team members to work efficiently yielding good results.

The Scrum Master and the Product Owner have mostly overlapping roles and responsibilities and skills as well. Every one of them requires an alternate level of communication and mindset.

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1 comments

kritesh anand 28 Jun 2018

Very nice Information is taught for scrum training. Above blog have nice information regarding product Owner.

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CSPO Vs PSPO: Deciding Between the Two Scrum Certifications

A product owner is a leader responsible for maximizing the value of the products created by a scrum development team.Both CSPO and PSPO relate to the expertise of a product owner in Scrum framework.As Mike Cohn puts it:“The Scrum product owner is typically a project's key stakeholder. Part of the product owner responsibilities is to have a vision of what he or she wishes to build and convey that vision to the scrum team. This is key to successfully starting any agile software development project. The agile product owner does this in part through the product backlog, which is a prioritized features list for the product.”The expertise of product owner is centered around the following:It’s about the productIt’s about understanding product benefitsIt’s about customer experienceIt’s about design thinkingIt’s about collaborationCSPO and PSPO both relate to product ownership which in turn requires business acumen and competency on product vision and roadmap aspects.Both CSPO and PSPO courses offer a learning of wide array of principles, rules, practices, techniques and practical tools that help product owners become effective and successful.As Scrum.org puts it:“Product ownership is about more than mechanics: it’s about taking accountability and focusing on value in everything you do. The role of a product owner is to identify, measure, and maximize value throughout your entire product lifecycle.”If you’re someone who is comfortable with the "business side" of projects, you are probably the right person to aim for a Certified Scrum Product Owner® certification.-Scrum AllianceWhat is CSPO?As defined by the Scrum Alliance, a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) is someone who has been taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer about the Scrum terminology, practices, and principles that will enable them to fulfill the role of Scrum Product Owner.What is PSPO?PSPO stands for Professional Scrum Product Owner, a course and certification offered by Scrum.org. The Scrum.org mission is “To Improve the profession of Software Development”.Differences between CSPO and PSPOCSPO is an abbreviation which stands for Certified Scrum Product Owner. This is a certification offered by the Scrum Alliance, specifically for the Product Owner role.PSPO is an abbreviation which stands for Profession Scrum Product Owner. This is a certification offered by scrum.org, specifically for the Product Owner role.In my opinion, both certifications are equivalent and define a high-quality standard. There’s a difference in the way of obtaining certifications and how to maintain this.Certifications issued by Scrum Alliance are obtained by taking an online exam after mandatory attending a 2-day training given by a Certified Scrum Trainer.Certifications issued by scrum.org are obtained by taking an online exam without the prerequisite of attending a training. Certifications issued by scrum.org do not expire. Of course, to test and validate your knowledge, having a decent understanding of the product owner role is mandatory, therefore preparation and study are key. Participating in a training to learn, and to experience what Scrum is about, is always highly recommended.While it is quite easy for the people who are very involved in the Agile community to identify the most recognized certifications, but it is not a simple task for those who just arrived at the Agile world.Through this blog, I will provide you a short overview of the differences between CSPO and PSPO credentials to help you in making an informed decision.Note: Please note that these reflect my personal views only.The CSPO workshop is usually informative about Scrum and Agile although the quality may be variable and depends very much on the specific instructor and the materials they provide.The basic Comparison of CSPO and PSPOCSPOPSPOCSPO is offered through Scrum AlliancePSPO is offered through scrum.org CSPO has continuing education credit requirements every three years and is renewable. PSPO never has to be renewed Accreditation BodyThe accreditation body of the CSPO and PSPO certifications are as follows:PSPO - Scrum.orgCSPO - Scrum AllianceRenewal of CSPO and PSPO CertificationsPSPO - once earned, credential does not expire and does not require renewal.CSPO - once earned, credential valid for two years. Starting Feb 2019, renewal would require 20 Scrum educational units(earned in last 2 years only) and a renewal fee of USD 100 PricePSPO - 200 USD for certification license only. Attending the workshop could cost around 500 USD.CSPO - 500 USD. The cost varies based on the location from which you attend the workshop.Need of Course PSPO - No need to take up the course.CSPO - To earn CSPO certificate, you must attend 2 days CSPO classroom training from  a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) from Scrum Alliance.After Exam CertificationOnce you pass the PSPO exam, you will get industry-recognized "PSPO I" certification, along with a PSPO I logo that you can use to identify your achievement. Similarly, on clearing the CSPO certification exam, you will get a certificate from Scrum AlliancePassing ScorePSPO - 85%CSPO - None. Activities to be completed to achieve the credential is at trainer discretion. Time limit: PSPO - 60 minutesCSPO - NoneNumber of Questions: PSPO - 80CSPO - NoneFormat: PSPO - Multiple Choice, Multiple Answers and True/FalseCSPO - NoneLanguage: PSPO - EnglishCSPO - NoneDifficulty levelPSPO - IntermediateCSPO - NonePSPO has subsequent complexity levels in the form of PSPO I, II, IIICSPO has subsequent complexity level in the form of A-CSPO. Password Expiration DatePSPO - When you purchase a password, it is set up in Scrum.org system and emailed to you within one business day. All Students completing a PSPO course are emailed a password upon completion of the course (typically within 3-5 business days). No expiration date for passwordsCSPO - Depends on the online workflow set up by the Certified Scrum TrainerMembershipPSPO - Membership of Scrum.org and the membership does not expireCSPO - 2 Year Membership with Scrum Alliance. You are eligible to join local user groups and social networks, enjoy discounts on global events, search for careers on our online job board, and more.Other benefitsPSPO:  Once you get certified, your name will be listed on Scrum.org.CSPO: Once you receive the credential, your name is listed on Scrum Alliance portal.The verdict:The main aim of the CSPO certification is to understand the working of Scrum and the role of the Product Owner playing in a Scrum team. While the objective of the Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO) certification is to develop a solid understanding of the Product Owner to maximize the value of the software products and systems.PSPO has a level of difficulty associated with it. The things which I like about PSPO certification is that the certification does not mandatorily requires you to attend an in-person workshop. You can prepare all on your own and directly proceed to the examination. Also, PSPO has a lifetime validity once acquired, no need to renew the certificate. To evaluate the value of any certification we need to consider:How knowledge or competency in a subject is evaluated and how rigorous is the assessment process. The cost involved with attaining the certification and the validity also play an important role.Before reaching any conclusion on which Scrum certification is better-CSPO or PSPO to choose, you must have heard somewhere that simply earning a skill is not enough, you need to prove your potentiality to the employers. Certification is just a way to reach to the recruiters. To get noticed by the potential employer, start looking for the various certifications options available to steer your success. 
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