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In the IT industry, when it comes to project management and development, people mostly get confused between the terms Project Manager and Scrum Master. They think that both are the same thing and either one can be used. And because of that mistake, things can start falling apart, leading to the failure of an entire project. 

Sometimes people also assume that a project manager is an old school who traditionally does things and when the development is made under an agile environment then the ScrumMaster assumes the role of project manager. The difference is just that they work by different principles. 


Now the question arises what's the real difference between them? While comparing Scrum Master and Project Manager distinctively, it's revealed that they are not just quite different, both of them have unique roles to play in the project. So, to understand all of that perfectly, in this article, we will go through what particular roles and responsibilities Scrum master and project manager assume while working on the project and then we will discuss what are the things that differentiate them. So let's move on. 


Who is a Scrum Master?


Scrum Master is an individual who handles the inter-team communication and facilitation of a project. A Scrum Master is responsible for all the aspects of a project, including change [control, risk management, team structure, and more. He works with the Product Owner to ensure that the Product Backlog is updated regularly. The Scrum Master also supports the business by ensuring that there are no impediments in accomplishing tasks assigned to his team members.


Role of a Scrum master  


The role of a scrum master was originally used to facilitate the team but has now become more of an individual who manages the process and works with the team to get them to where they need to be.


The role of a Scrum master is to ensure that the Scrum team operates efficiently and delivers high-quality products that meet customer expectations. A good Scrum master has a deep understanding of the product development process, including all aspects of stakeholder management, and can provide the right level of direction and guidance to the team members.


The primary responsibility of a Scrum master is to ensure that all projects are completed within their time scale and budget, which includes providing regular status reports on progress and identifying any impediments to timely completion. In addition, the Scrum master ensures that all team members understand their roles and responsibilities, communicate effectively with each other, and adhere to best practices for software development.


The Agile framework has been designed to improve processes and increase productivity in projects by eliminating unnecessary steps, improving communication between departments, and reducing waste. It also helps organizations adopt agile methods because it provides them with a framework for developing high-quality software products on time and within cost targets.


Responsibilities of a Scrum Master 


The Scrum master's responsibilities are as follows:


  • Ensure that all team members understand what it means for them to be involved in the Scrum process.

  • Facilitate the daily scrum meetings by helping the team set priorities and make decisions, and by providing information about upcoming events or changes that may affect the team's work.

  • Ensure the project meets its goals while adhering to its agreed-upon scope and timeboxed requirements.

  • Help ensure that everyone on your team understands their roles within your project and plays their part in achieving its goals, including developing a clear understanding of how they will contribute toward achieving your project's goals.

  • He will be responsible for training the whole team in using Scrum.

  • He will make sure that the team members are following the rules, regulations, and procedures that have been defined by our company and by the Scrum Master Certification Board.

  • He will ensure that there is no conflict between any team member or between different teams within our organization.

  • Encouraging communication between team members and management.

  • Ensuring that any impediments to progress are resolved before each story is accepted by management.

  • Creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable speaking up without fear of judgment or criticism from others on the team.

  • The Scrum master is responsible for helping the product owner to make good decisions about what needs to be done and when it needs to be done.

  • The Scrum master ensures that the tasks are allocated fairly by ensuring that they remain transparent and objective, while also taking into account any dependencies.

  • Continuously improving the process to ensure it delivers value to customers. The Scrum master continuously improves their role based on feedback from others to deliver value to customers as quickly as possible.


Who is a Project Manager? 


A project manager is in charge of the planning, preparation, and progress of the project. The role can be performed by either an individual or a team.

The main goal of a project manager is to get the most out of all resources available to their team. To do this, they must have clear goals for each phase of the project and then monitor progress towards those goals every day.


The project manager must also be able to communicate with stakeholders from multiple departments and make sure that everyone knows what is going on with the project.


Role of a Project Manager


The role of a Project Manager is to manage the project from beginning to end. The Project Manager plays an important role in ensuring that the project runs smoothly and within budget, while also ensuring that all stakeholders are informed and involved in the project. They will ensure that all necessary documentation is prepared and approved by the client before moving forward with their delivery of services.


To effectively manage projects, it is important to have solid experience in accounting, finance, planning, organizing, and implementing processes. So, a project manager should also have extensive knowledge of the industry or sector as well as an understanding of business management practices such as customer service and sales skills.


It also comes under the responsibility of the project manager to coordinate, plan and manage all the project activities. And it's also their job to see to it that every team member is sticking to their goals and doing their work properly. 


The Project Manager also coordinates with other departments such as marketing, customer service, and sales to ensure the success of any project. They also need to make sure that the team is always moving forward, which requires that they have a good understanding of what needs to be done when it needs to be done, and how much time it will take. The project manager also needs to keep an eye on all aspects of the project, as well as it's budget and time frame. As such, they have an important role in ensuring that things remain on track and within budget. So, the project manager has to work very closely with every team member.


Responsibilities of a Project Manager


The responsibilities of the project manager are to:


  • Define and communicate all project requirements, including their interrelationships.

  • To make sure that the project is undertaken well according to the plan. 

  • Communicate with stakeholders as required, including clarifying any misunderstandings or concerns.

  • Monitor progress and report on issues, both technical and non-technical, to management as needed.

  • Planning and coordinating the activities required to complete a specific task or objective

  • Tracking progress against time, cost, quality standards, and other measurements

  • Ensuring that all team members understand their roles and responsibilities in the project

  • Controlling resources, such as budgeted funds or labor resources

  • Setting up meetings with clients, vendors, and other stakeholders to make sure they're aware of what's happening with their product or service

  • Resolving conflicts between team members and stakeholders

  • Ensuring that the team is well trained in their roles and responsibilities for the project

  • Establishing a project charter and scope statement


Differences between Scrum Master and Project Manager


Scrum Master and Project Manager are two different roles in the project management world. Although they share some similarities, it is important to understand the differences between these two roles to make the right decisions for your team or organization. The major differences between them lie in their responsibilities, skills, and knowledge.


The Scrum Master is responsible for defining an Agile framework and ensuring that all members of the project team adhere to that framework. The Scrum Master ensures that the product backlog is managed effectively and that it stays clear of any unnecessary details. The Scrum Master also helps his/her team members understand the importance of daily stand-up meetings and how these meetings can help them accomplish their tasks more efficiently.


The project must manage all the aspects of the project fright from the beginning to its end. They ensure that all aspects of a project are being handled properly by their team members including cost estimations, schedule estimates, quality standards, etc. 


Project managers need to be experts in multiple fields such as accounting, software development, marketing, finance, and many other disciplines which may be required by an organization to successfully manage its projects.  On the other hand, a scrum master needs to have good knowledge about agile methodologies like scrum or Kanban along with other management skills such as delegating tasks, communicating across team members, etc., to ensure smooth functioning between various departments involved in managing projects effectively.


The role of the Scrum Master is to facilitate team communication and ensure all participants are aligned with the Scrum principles. The primary focus of a Scrum Master is to support the development teams’ ability to deliver high-quality software at the end of each Sprint. The project manager also makes sure that the team has all the necessary resources, tools, and information needed to complete their project on time and within budget.

The key difference between a Project Manager and a Scrum Master is that the previous one has been tasked with more administrative duties than the latter. For example, in Scrum, there is no need for a Scrum Master as there is only one product owner per team who owns all the products on his/her product backlog. However, there can be multiple teams working on different products within an organization or across organizations within an organization (e.g., an enterprise architecture team). 


In this case, there would be multiple product owners managing their respective backlogs as well as prioritizing them based on business requirements and customer needs; therefore, they would also require project managers who are responsible for coordinating these efforts across departments within an organization or across organizations within an organization (e.g., enterprise architecture team).


A scrum master is someone who takes on one or more roles but doesn't necessarily have a full-time job like a project manager. They're often hired by companies when they need help managing their projects as well as helping other teams within the organization, so they can use their knowledge and experience to help make sure projects are functioning properly.




In their scope of work, the role of both Project Manager and Scrum Master are very important. What the companies and individuals need to realize is that they can't switch their places and take on each other’s responsibilities. 

Although there are many similarities between their roles and skills, they are dedicated to very unique goals. And that's what separates them. It's for the long-term benefit of the team as well as the progress of the organization as well.

Scrum Master vs Project Manager

19 February 2023


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