Scrum Master vs Project Manager

Scrum Master vs project manager

Scrum Master vs Project Manager: What’s the Difference

It’s no secret that the Scrum Master vs Project Manager positions are close. Think of them as similar who share a similar vision but take slightly different approaches to achieve that vision. And while they would both agree they are passionate about their work, certain distinguishing characteristics set them apart.

Scrum Master vs project manager

Although project managers and scrum masters can be both roles, they are different.

Who is a Scrum Master?

A Scrum Master is someone who helps the team to accomplish their shared goal and make progress towards it. They help the team to learn and improve their skills, which in turn helps them deliver more value to the business. Although Scrum Masters often work with project managers, they are not project managers. A Project Manager provides the project plan, whereas a Scrum Master is responsible for helping the team deliver value.

Who is a Project Manager?

A project manager is a person who manages a group of people who are working together to accomplish a goal. The project manager’s role is to coordinate the project, keep it on track and within budget, and ensure that all team members work together effectively.

Scrum Master vs Project Manager: Roles and Responsibilities

Role of Scrum Master

The role of a Scrum Master in scrum project management:

  • Ensuring everyone on the team understands what they need to do and how they can do it better.
  • Helping people on the team communicate better with each other.
  • Helping people on the team understand how they relate to different groups within your organization or across organizations.

Role of Project Manager

The role of a project manager is to:

  • Identify potential risks that could affect the project’s success.
  • Help define what “done” means for each stage of the project.
  • Ensure that everyone involved in the project can communicate their roles and responsibilities.

Scrum Master vs Project Manager: Goals

Goals of Scrum Master in Scrum Project Management

  • Ensures that the team members have received the necessary training to implement Agile methods.
  • Coaches the Scrum teams and discusses the project completion schedule.

Goals of Project Manager

  • Has established objectives such as on-time project completion, budgeted budget, and scope

Scrum Master vs Project Manager: Team Size

Team Size of Scrum Master in Scrum Project Management

  • Always strive to make things smaller, says the scrum master. Regardless of the budget, they prefer to operate in small teams.

Team Size of Project Manager

  • Regardless of the budget, they prefer to operate in small teams.

Scrum Master vs Project Manager: Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance in Scrum Master

  • The scrum master ensures quality and is well aware of its significance.

Quality Assurance in Project Manager

  • Quality is important, and PM is aware of this, but she is unsure how to accomplish it. Typically, a consultant is recruited to correct the mistakes.

Scrum Master vs Project Manager: Certifications

  • Certified ScrumMaster (CSM): According to research by Coursera, the Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), offered by the Scrum Alliance, is the Scrum certification most frequently referenced in job listings on three different job search websites. So, to obtain the certificate, you must complete a course and pass an examination.
  • Professional Scrum Master (PSM I): The PSM I, which runs, is frequently mentioned as an alternative to the CSM. You can become PSM certified without completing coursework, but you must pass an exam.

Shared Characteristics and skills for the Scrum Master and the Project Manager

Because these two roles play such an important part in any project, it’s helpful to understand their shared characteristics and skills.


The Scrum Master and Project Manager must be effective communicators who can explain complex concepts in simple terms. They should also be able to listen well when others are talking, identify issues and get feedback from team members without creating unnecessary tension or drama.


The ability to stay organized is an essential skill for both roles since they’re responsible for overseeing multiple projects simultaneously. Keep track of deadlines, budgets, schedules, resources, and other details related to each project so that no one gets left behind. Additionally, both roles must be organized enough to avoid having out-of-date information on their desks, which could result in confusion or even errors.


Both are leaders. They lead by example, not by command. They are servant leaders who put their team ahead of themselves. The Scrum Master drives the development team towards high performance. At the same time, the Project Manager leads their project team towards high performance by removing project impediments, ideally before they become a problem.


The Scrum Master and Project Manager need empathy to build trust with their co-workers to help them perform better. Empathy is required because they need to understand what their co-workers are thinking to help them improve their performance or remove impediments that prevent them from completing at their best.

Tips for Project Managers Working With Scrum Masters

  • Learn the fundamentals of Jira so that you can track the tickets that interest you and avoid asking the Scrum Master about the status of a key.
  • Drive the dependencies that are independent of the App Development teams.
  • Recognize that the sprint commitment secures the work for two weeks at a time to prevent interruptions. Any change or request for anything more priority than another should wait until the following sprint, not the current one.

Tips for Scrum Masters Working With Project Managers

  • Be open and honest about resource capacity and availability, particularly when it changes.
  • Inform the project manager when Scrum rituals and events are postponed or changed, as well as what sprint features are scheduled for discussion.
  • To enable the PM to independently locate and use the system for status checks and information on releases, share access to and demonstrate the setup and structure of Jira boards, epics numbers, and stories.

Scrum Master vs Project Manager: Summing Up

Both positions in a company carry a lot of credibilities. The Project Manager lends credibility to each Stakeholder associated with the project they are managing, whereas the Scrum Master adds credibility to the Scrum Framework. As we can see, the argument between Scrum Master and Project Manager is not a comparison of two similar professions; each has an important responsibility to perform inside the firm.

An SM’s function is more of a coach and facilitator, whereas a PM’s role is more of a leadership one.

Whatever role you choose, you should have the ability to handle the teams perfectly. Using the Scrum Poker tool helps you to manage all the tasks and activities in an agile environment more perfectly.

Recency Bias
Epic vs User Story vs Tasks vs Initiatives vs Themes

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