Scrum Master vs. Project Manager: How are they different?
In answer to your question about project managers, there is no project manager role in scrum. The duties of a project manager get split between the product owner, scrum master and the development team.
Often, we come across these two words in industries – Scrum Master and Project Manager. Though, both of these roles contribute to the projects. But, they add some confusion to the young professionals who have stepped into the project management world recently. It applies to freshers too, who are planning to build their career in project management. They remain concerned about, which role should they choose to make the career? In fact, they struggle to understand, whether there is any difference in these roles or are they the same? And if they are the same, why are they named different?
Some people consider Scrum Master as the Project Manager in an agile environment. To some extent, they are true, but not completely. Though, these two roles somewhere overlap to a certain extent. They are far different from each other. Scrum Master contributes to agile projects supported by Scrum project management principles. While a Project Manager often focuses on traditional disciplined project management principles. This article uncovers the differences between these two roles. If you are a Project Manager currently, or you are willing to become a scrum master or vice versa. This is definitely a good article to read and understand the nuances of these roles. Who is a Scrum Master? What does a Project Manager do?
- Manages the budget
- Reports to business leadership on project progress
- Focuses on process
- Allocates tasks
- Prioritizes features
- Manages risk
- Coordinates with other dependent teams
- Serves the team where needed
- Removes blockers or impediments that hinder project progress
- Coaches the product owner
- Monitoring the progress of the sprint
- Helps team estimate and increase velocity
- Promotes continuous communication
- Facilitates sprint planning and other scrum meetings
- Monitors and helps improve team dynamics
- Lends support to whatever part of the project needs assistance at a certain time
- Motivates the team
- Acts as the glue that holds the team together
Let’s understand the differences between the two roles:
- A Scrum Master rigidly follows the scrum rules and endorses scrum framework. While Project Managers are free to customize their approach which may range from waterfall to adaptive. Selection of an appropriate approach is based on the project demand.
- A Scrum Master contributes majorly to resource management, quality management, and scope management knowledge areas. While a Project Manager contributes to all ten knowledge areas of project management.
- A Scrum Master works in smaller scrum teams. They are responsible for the performance of their small scrum team. A Project Manager, on the other hand, handles relatively a bigger team. Especially, Program Manager handles multiple project teams. Thus, Project Manager, unlike Scrum Master, is responsible for the performance of various project teams.
- Scrum Masters facilitate daily scrum meetings. While the Project Manager prepares a meeting calendar and communication plan. The frequency of these project meetings is well decided and planned by the Project Manager.
- Project Manager prepares the work schedule for the team member and assigns responsibilities. While a Scrum Master Coaches the team on scrum and motivates them.
- Project Managers ensure to plan and schedule the scope of project work. Even, in some cases, they involve in base lining the project budget. While Scrum Masters are more concerned about maximizing the product value based on user stories.
- Both of these roles need different skills and hence, they need different certifications. A Project Manager pursues PMP or Prince2 certifications for project management roles. While a Scrum Master acquires certification from scrum alliance. (Readers are encouraged to read more about, what is a certified Scrum Master).
- Both the roles are industry-specific. A Scrum Master works in IT or related industry, whereas a Project Manager works in a project which can belong to any industry.
Finally, it’s imperative that a Project Manager’s role is more of a Leadership role. While Scrum Master’s duties include more of facilitating and coaching role. With the advent of PMBOK 6th guide, the role of a Project Manager has become more diversified. A Project Manager’s approach is not only limited to the traditional waterfall as before. But now, he/she can apply incremental iterative models depending upon the scenario. An organization at an early stage of going agile may think – a Project Manager’s role can be transferred into Scrum Master – but it’s a myth. This is because both of these roles are far different in their respective responsibilities and approaches.
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