Can the Scrum Master also be the Product Owner?

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If you’ve experimented with scrum, you’re likely familiar with the Product Owner and Scrum Master roles. But just in case you’re not, here’s a quick breakdown: The Scrum Master is responsible for ensuring that the team follows the Scrum process, while the Product Owner ensures that the team spends time building things that bring the most value to the organization. These roles sound so deceivingly simple that sometimes a single person will try tackling both.

This can happen in a ground-up implementation of scrum when a Product Owner is never officially assigned to the team, leaving the Scrum Master to fill these responsibilities. It can also happen when the team’s Scrum Master is also an individual contributor, and simply too overcome to focus on the scrum process. In these cases the Product Owner may try to step up to lead the process, in addition to their own responsibilities. Regardless of the reason, when a team attempts to combine all responsibilities into a single role, it almost never ends well. Let’s look at some of the ways this can go uneven, and how to fix it.

Scrum Master (SM)

In Agile development methodology, Scrum Master cares about that how the team’s work. Increases team efficiency, motivate his team, spins, and argues for changes that will ensure quality and timeliness. Ensure observance of DoD. Thanks to the measured velocity know how much work will be done in the Sprint. Thanks to the care of the compliance with the quality we are sure that the system does not fall on the second day after the start. Thanks to his soft work well.

Scrum Master Skills:

  • Scrum master coordinate with his team friendly to make an ideal team for agile development.
  • Scrum master develop the product quality.
  • Certified Scrum master certification, would be an advantage but not necessary
  • He protects his team from any distraction and helps them to stay focused and follow agreed-upon rules for scrum meetings.
  • He helps PO to maximize ROI to meet his objectives through the scrum.
  • He removes barriers between from development team and product owner.
  • Scrum master accepts tasks and encourages his team to meet the deadline.
  • Scrum master is like a coach who helps his team to perform better.
  • He has the full authority all over the process.
  • Scrum Master shields the team from any interference.
  • Scrum master Cooperate with the Organization, to track the company’s progress and process.
  • He helps his team to understand self-management and cross-functionality.
  • A good Scrum master has a Project management, Designing, Engineering, Testing background and disciplines.
  • He provides constant guidance to his team.

Responsibilities of the Scrum Master:

  • Scrum Master facilitates team for better vision and always tries to develop 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 obstruct the project success.
  • Scrum Master keeps the team away from the diversion.

Product owner (PO)

The product owner is a demanding position in agile methodology, PO need to understand the clear vision of a product from the customer, end user or stakeholder’s point of view. The product Owner is responsible for managing the product backlog and product backlog visibility. He ensures the business value of the product.

Product Owner Skills

  • The Product owner should know the business value of product and customers demanding features.
  • He should be available to the development team for the consultation, so that the team can implement the features correctly.
  • Product owner needs to understand the feature/program from the point of view of end-user, not from the point of view of the developer.
  • In most organizations marketing is discussed on the sales level, product owner job is to facilitate marketing persons and guide them to make those goals achievable.
  • The Product owner is responsible for the product, from a business point of view.
  • Product owner has a vision for the perfect product.
  • His focus is on ROI (return on investment).
  • He assesses values, Develop cases, themes and epics to ensure that work focuses on product strategy
  • He solves problems, complete trade-off analysis and makes decisions to stay on business deliverable commitment track.
  • He expresses the voice of the customers.
  • He collaborates with stakeholders during the concept development and visioning of the product.
  • He works with project managers and technical leads to priorities and determines the scope for product development cycles.
  • The product owner is client’s voice. His job is to report ROI, risk analysis and product effectiveness.
  • Sometimes the product owner and the customers are same, but sometimes the customers are might be thousands/millions of peoples.

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.

How to fix it

  • Both Scrum Master and Product Owner, for the most part, are full-time jobs. When the same person attempts to fill both roles disaster almost always ensues. In the cases where the Scrum Master is filling the Product Owner’s responsibilities, the simplest solution can be to free the individual of their Scrum Master responsibilities, allowing them to focus on the Product Owner role entirely. Many Scrum Masters eventually gravitate toward the Product Owner role and, as of late, this has become a very popular career progression for those with a taste for Product Management.
  • Keep in mind, however, that your team still needs a Scrum Master. This is your opportunity to identify a team member who’s up for the challenge, and coach them into their new role. If successful, you’ll have a new, dedicated Scrum Master, brought up from within the team, and a new dedicated Product Owner with a background in the scrum process. That’s a pretty big win.
  • In situations where the Product Owner acts as Scrum Master, the solution is to find a new Scrum Master who can dedicate time to the role. Not only does this free the Product Owner from managing the Scrum process, but it also helps create healthy tension between Scrum Masters and Product Owners. Ideally, the Scrum Master and Product Owner act as opposing forces. While the Product Owner represents the interest of the customers, the Scrum Master represents the interests of the team. When a single person tries to fill both roles, this healthy tension is lost and the fulcrum inevitably tips too far in one direction.
  • This is often seen when the Product Owner attempts both roles, as the fulcrum may tip toward bigger feature sets and a rush to market, which not only sacrifices the team’s investment in quality, but can also take a toll on their overall well-being. Freeing the Product Owner to focus entirely on product ownership, while allowing a completely different individual to focus on the scrum process, helps restore balance and better serves the end result.


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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