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Scrum Master vs Project Manager

Scrum Master vs Project Manager
Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Scrum Master vs Project Manager: As different as the titles are, their roles and responsibilities are distinct too. Still, due to the lack of clarity, there is so much confusion and misinterpretation regarding both of their roles. Many new professionals in the field of project management often get confused or struggle to understand the difference between the basic concepts of scrum master and project manager. Because with the transformation from waterfall to agile, the concept of scrum master seems a little identical to the project manager. 

The project head should be aware of the difference between the functions of both scrum master and project manager as the tasks here overlap and are radically different from each other. And then, they must pick the most suitable software service provider, such as tatvasoft.com, for custom software development that has both roles scrum master vs. project manager to offer.

What is a Scrum Master?

The term is often between product owner, project owner, product manager, and project manager. Scrum Master is an entirely different role. The responsibilities of the scrum master also differ from them. As the name suggests, a scrum master is someone who has mastered the specific framework called Scrum. Some might have confused scrum with a method or a tool. Still, it is a framework used to overcome complicated business challenges and offer high business value to the client. 

The perfect definition of a Scrum Master is –  “A Scrum Master role demands the person to look after all the scrum processes taking place in the Scrum framework.”

The scrum masters must follow the rule book containing all the scrum principles and scrum theories to deliver those high business values. The process is streamlined using agile and adaptive software development methods. And it also boosts quality and productivity. The scrum masters work on a single project at a time plus coach multiple teams working on different aspects of the project to guide them through to complete the project as per the predetermined timeline. 

Being a certified scrum master, they are responsible for teaching people about scrum theories, rules, practices, and values. As the master helps their scrum team members effectively collaborate and interact with each other, they are also popularly named servant leaders. 

Roles and Responsibilities of a Scrum Master

As discussed before, a scrum master is a servant leader, and their services are extended to the product manager and scrum team. So let us just look at the responsibility of a scrum master under the following two categories: 

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Photo by Slidebean on Unsplash

Scrum Master responsibilities and services 

  • They help the product owner to effectively handle the product backlog and devises techniques to do the same.
  • They help the product owner to communicate the product needs to the scrum team.
  • Ensures that the product owner understands how to maintain the product backlog and maximize the value.
  • Facilitates scrum events.

Scrum Master responsibilities towards Scrum Team

  • The Scrum Master will mentor and coach team members using scrum rules.
  • They will help the team by removing roadblocks and impediments, thereby improving the team’s progress.
  • They help the team to deliver high-value results and maintain team dynamics.
  • Facilitates scrum events and schedules scrum meetings.
  • They will coach and handhold the team to adopt the Scrum framework. Coaching is needed if the team is new to scrum rules.
  • A Scrum Master plans for scrum implementation in the organization and helps people new to the agile environment or scrum adoption.

As the scrum master provides facilitation to the scrum team, it is his/her responsibility to ensure that their team has created maximized value to offer the client. He/She guides the scrum team through the project to ensure its adherence to the Scrum framework and practices. 

What a Scrum Master does not do

So, we already discussed the scrum master roles, and now we must also look at what does not come under the scrum master’s responsibilities.

  • The Scrum Master does not do the creating and managing of the business case.
  • They do not manage changes or change requests such as Scope, Time, and Budget.
  • The Scrum Master does not create or manage the project plans to include Project Initiation Document, Project Plan, Gantt Charts, etc.
  • They are not responsible for the tracking and measuring of the project or team progress.
  • Also, they do not monitor the results or output of the product.
  • The Product Backlog and the Product Backlog Items are not part of their role. 
  • The Scrum Master has no role regarding the business requirements.
  • Project Risks & Opportunities (unless scrum implementation related)
  • Team Performance and HR-processes (including Performance Management)
  • And many more…….(Including the accountabilities/ responsibilities of a Project Manager…)

What is a Project Manager?

There is a wide range of project management roles where he/she has to leverage their knowledge and expertise to execute the project successfully. The roles and responsibilities of the project manager aren’t limited to any definite project scope or can be defined by some rules on the paper. In the real world, it goes far beyond every other thing. 

The project manager works right from the initiation to the end of the project. Project manager roles are not confined to any specific operation. They supervise and, if necessary, can make modifications in processes such as creating, planning, execution, monitoring, deployment, and final maintenance. Under the project management portfolio, the team, including developers, QA analysts, business analysts, business development team, project support team, and more, have to adapt the project management approach. 

This approach would include everything from the scope of requirements, project initiation to time and management, schedules, quality risk management, and much more. It also consists of some activities like project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and closure. The development team creates a business case during the initiation that helps them justify the clients’ requirements and take the estimate about how much time and money it would need to execute this project. 

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Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

The roles and responsibilities of Project Managers

The most important role of a project manager is to manage the project and ensure that all the client requirements are met. In large projects, the time and place of a project manager are fixed before the project starts. He/She can help multiple teams, including the development team, on how to collaborate and work effectively as well as meet the project timelines at the same time while using the necessary software development. The project manager’s roles and responsibilities are as described below:  

  • Defining project scope to the team
  • Planning project target
  • Preparing the work schedule for the team members
  • Gathering requirements
  • Defining the resource requirements for the project
  • Preparing the budget for a project
  • Assuring quality
  • Mitigating the risks
  • Monitoring the plans
  • Getting user feedback
  • Managing relationships with the client and the stakeholders
  • Ending the project
  • Managing the finance-related issues budget
  • Reporting to business leaders on the project progress
  • Task allocation
  • Risk management
  • Focusing on processes
  • Prioritizing the project related features
  • Coordinating with other teams if required

Conclusion

After understanding the concepts, who could decide which one is better in the scrum master vs. project manager fight? The companies following the traditional waterfall approach would root for project managers, while the latest agile world professionals would see scrum as the better option. But what about the companies that are in the transformation phase from waterfall to agile? 

Well, they can adapt to both the roles and interchange them as the situation demands. There isn’t any rule book that says that the scrum master must be an expert in technologies. However, they must have some basic understanding as they need to imply the scrum practices properly. In such cases, the scrum master can prove to be more effective, whereas, in other situations, the project manager can take over the responsibilities of the project. 

So, now that we know what makes scrum master vs. project manager different and how they work, it will be clearer who can fit where and under what circumstances. 

Featured Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

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