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Product Owner vs. Scrum Master: Key Differences

09th Apr, 2024
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    Product Owner vs. Scrum Master: Key Differences

    Product Owners and Scrum Masters are two integral roles in Scrum, an Agile project management methodology. While both roles are essential for successful Scrum teams, their responsibilities are distinct. When talking about Product Owner vs Scrum Master responsibilities, it is necessary to note that the Product Owner looks after the vision and content of the product. At the same time, the Scrum Master monitors the process of developing the product. When it comes to Scrum Master vs Product Owner salary, the average salary of a Product Owner is USD 107,761 as compared to Master Scrum, which pays around USD 119,600 annually.

    In detail, the Product Owner (PO) is responsible for managing the product backlog, the list of all features, and tasks that need to be completed for it to succeed. The PO also establishes the vision for the product and works with the development team to decide which tasks should be prioritized. The PO is also responsible for communicating the product's vision to stakeholders, gathering feedback, and ensuring the product meets customer needs. The Scrum Master (SM), holding a CSM certification is responsible for managing the process of Scrum. The SM keeps the team organized and running smoothly by facilitating meetings, helping the team with any impediments, and holding team members accountable for their commitments. Additionally, the SM is also responsible for coaching and mentoring the section on the Agile process and helping the team continuously improve. 

    Scrum Product Owner vs. Scrum Master Table


    Scrum Master 

    Product Owner 


    Works as a leader to facilitate team growth. 

    Works as the customer’s representative and works on delivering the customer's needs. 


    Ensures Scrum processes are abided by the team. 

    Strikes a balance between the clients and the team in terms of understanding the need and delivering them. 


    Scrum Masters can schedule and carry out meetings while ensuring team productivity

    Product Owners make decisions regarding product backlogs. 


    Scrum Masters generally interact with the team to work on strengthening the Scrum process.

    The product Owner works as a bridge between the team, stakeholders, and clients. 


    Scrum Masters offer product updates to clients.

    The Product Owner analyzes the available information to project how the product meets the client's requirements. 

    Time Commitment 

    Scrum Masters are committed to facilitating the Scrum process. 

    Product Owners are committed to prioritizing product backlog and aligning it with the client's vision. 

    Scrum Master vs. Product Owner: A Detailed Explanation

    Scrum Master vs. Product Owner Roles

    The Scrum Master is a leader who facilitates the Scrum process and helps the team to reach peak performance. The Product Owner is the customer's representative and is responsible for ensuring that the product created meets the customer's needs.

    Scrum Master vs. Product Owner Responsibilities

    If you're searching for a specific Scrum Master and Product Owner difference, you must know that the Scrum Master is responsible for ensuring the team follows the Scrum process. Moreover, the Product Owner is responsible for developing the product vision, maintaining the backlog, and ensuring the product meets customer needs. 

    Scrum Master vs. Product Owner Authority

    The Scrum Master has the power to facilitate the Scrum process and ensure the team is working together productively. The Product Owner can make decisions about the product and prioritize the backlog. 

    Scrum Master vs. Product Owner Interaction

    The Scrum Master interacts with the team by facilitating the Scrum process, removing any impediments, and helping the team work productively. The Product Owner interacts with the team by providing feedback on the product, helping with requirements, and prioritizing the product backlog. 

    Scrum Master vs. Product Owner Communication

    The Scrum Master interacts with stakeholders and sponsors by helping them understand the Scrum process and providing them with progress updates. The Product Owner interacts by gathering their requirements and helping them to know how the product meets their needs. 

    Scrum Master vs. Product Owner Time Commitment

    The Scrum Master typically spends most of their time working with the team and facilitating the Scrum process. The Product Owner interacts with the team to develop the vision and prioritize the Product backlog. 

    Check out CSPO certification for more details to better understand roles and responsibilities.  

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    How Are They Similar?

    The PO and SM ensure that the developed product meets customer needs and is built within the set goals. Let's look at how they are similar. 

    • Both roles are responsible for communicating the goals and objectives of the project to all involved stakeholders. 
    • They act as facilitators to ensure the project progresses effectively and efficiently. 
    • They both work closely with the development team to ensure they understand the project's requirements to ensure that the product meets the desired outcomes. 
    • They are both responsible for ensuring that all stakeholders are updated on the project's progress. 
    • Both act as a buffer between the development team and other stakeholders to ensure the project objectives are met. 
    • They both ensure that the project meets the desired quality standards and any other goals the stakeholders/sponsors set. 
    • They ensure that the project aligns with the organization's objectives and values. 

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    Who Should You Choose Between a Scrum Master and a Product Owner?

    The choice between a Scrum Master and Product Owner should depend on the individual's skills and experience. If the individual has a strong understanding of the Scrum process and good communication skills, they might be better suited to take on the role of a Scrum Master.  

    On the other hand, if the individual has a good understanding of the product goals and objectives, and possesses experience in product management and customer relations, then they might be better suited for the role of a Product Owner. Ultimately, the decision should be based on the individual's strengths and preferences. A Scrum Master vs Product Owner certification can offer you more areas to speculate. 

    For more information on each role, check out these pointers: 

    Scrum Master: 

    • The Scrum Master is a facilitator and coach responsible for removing any obstacles and errors that prevent the team from delivering the product. 
    • They are responsible for helping the team to adhere to the Scrum process. 
    • They hold the team accountable for meeting their commitments and delivering quality work. 

    Product Owner: 

    • The Product Owner is responsible for evaluating customer needs and translating them into Product requirements. 
    • They ensure that the team builds the right product by prioritizing the backlog. 
    • They are responsible for maximizing the value of the team's work by continuously refining the Product backlog. 

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    CSPO Certification in BangaloreCSPO Certification in SydneyCSPO Certification in Chennai
    CSPO Certification in New YorkCSPO Certification in LondonCSPO Certification in Chicago
    CSPO Certification in SingaporeCSPO Certification in Pune CSPO Certification in Berlin
    CSPO Certification in TorontoCSPO Certification in DubaiCSPO Certification in Los Angeles
    CSPO Certification in HyderabadCSPO Certification in VancouverCSPO Certification in Delhi


    Integrating a Scrum Master or a Product Owner into the workflow can be a great way to help ensure that projects are completed on time and with the best quality. Both roles offer unique perspectives and ensure that the team is focused and organized. To kick-start your career in Scrum, enroll in the CSPO certification course

    By understanding the differences between a Scrum Master and a Product Owner, you can make the best decision for your career. Whether you decide to become a Scrum Master or a Product Owner, ensure that you have the right skills in place to make sure that your projects are successful. To upskill yourself, you can take our Agile Project Management with Scrum training course. It will help you to understand the different agile concepts better.  

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1When it comes to Scrum master or Product Owner, which is better?

    The Scrum Master facilitates the Scrum process using the tools, skills, and resources to succeed. At the same time, the Product Owner manages the product backlog and drives the overall Product strategy. Both roles are essential to the success of an Agile project. 

    2Who is paid more, Scrum Master or the Product Owner?

    When talking about Product Owner vs. Scrum Master salary, the Product Owner is typically paid more than the Scrum Master since the Product Owner has a more in-depth understanding of the product, market, and customer needs. The Scrum Master, on the other hand, is a facilitator and coach who is responsible for ensuring that the team follows the Scrum methodology. 

    3Is Scrum Master and Product Owner the same?

    Differences between Scrum Master and Product Owner are apparent within the Scrum framework. The Scrum Master guides and coaches the team, while the Product Owner sets the product vision and manages the Product backlog.

    4Can Scrum Master play the role of Product Owner?

    Both roles are distinct and mutually exclusive. The Scrum Master coaches and facilitates the team and removes hinders. The Product Owner defines the product roadmap and drives the team to deliver against it. 


    Lindy Quick

    Blog Author

    Lindy Quick, SPCT, is a dynamic Transformation Architect and Senior Business Agility Consultant with a proven track record of success in driving agile transformations. With expertise in multiple agile frameworks, including SAFe, Scrum, and Kanban, Lindy has led impactful transformations across diverse industries such as manufacturing, defense, insurance/financial, and federal government. Lindy's exceptional communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills have earned her a reputation as a trusted advisor. Currently associated with KnowledgeHut and upGrad, Lindy fosters Lean-Agile principles and mindset through coaching, training, and successful execution of transformations. With a passion for effective value delivery, Lindy is a sought-after expert in the field.

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