Who Is Who: Why Can’t Scrum Master and Project Manager Be the Same Person?
First, we should point out that the Scrum master is a role in the Scrum environments, (not a job position), so people that have other job positions can be a Scrum master: the project manager, the team leader, the senior team-member, etc.
As a Scrum master, you will have the managerial role during the project development. Scrum Master is responsible for ensuring that the project is carried out according to the rules, values and processes of Scrum, and it is progressing as planned.
Main Scrum Master Responsibilities:
- The most important task of the Scrum Master is to make sure Scrum is well practiced. He should explain its principles, show its process, engage with the team, connect with stakeholders, and, most importantly, be an example by living the Agile values and presenting the Scrum behaviors.
- The Scrum Master should always be helpful, honest, and transparent, and to put the benefits of his team ahead of his own benefits. Also – he will assist the team to achieve high-valued results, and to establish self-organization practices.
- The Scrum Master must also resolve issues that obstruct the way of the team’s progress. He can do this by removing them himself, enlisting others to take care of them, rallying the team to overcome them, and/or introducing a change in policy or rules in the organization.
- Another important duty is to organize and attend all Scrum events (daily Scrum meetings); he should carefully consider the scrum artifacts, and let the team to optimize the process and their performance step by step in every subsequent sprint.
- Also, an important duty is to build the capacity of all team members. It is important to improve their skills in using Scrum and helping do the same. If the master fails in this, Scrum will not be applicable in the future.
- An advanced task of the Scrum Master is to use Scrum to improve the creativity, learning, and abilities of the entire team. This is not an easy task and requires large support from senior management. And this is the responsibility that has the best chance of making a long-term and meaningful impact.
Soft Skills of the Scrum Master
The successful Scrum masters will always try to create new management approach (different from the classical one). It is well explained by the experts that the Scrum master should be the conscious of the Scrum team.
To be a Scrum Master is not an easy job. You should be patient, kind, passionate, keen for learning, and to ask for support from others. If you want to become a Scrum Master, adopt a mode of learning – this will make your job so much easier.
Scrum Master vs. Project Manager
Basically, the Scrum Master’s duty is to improve the team’s effectiveness and productivity. This is opposite to the focus on managing the project which is done by the project manager. Other differences between the Scrum Master and project manager include (not an exhaustive list):
- Assist the team to use Scrum efficiently, and not managing the team;
- Remove obstructions (of all types), instead of removing only difficulties tied to the project deliverables and timeline;
- Provide help to others in facilitation of the key Scrum phases, instead of leading the status updates and giving direction;
- Concentrate on the team’s progress, instead of focusing on the project plan;
- Hold the team together – after the project, instead of working with a group of individuals for the duration of the project, and then working with others for the next project.
However, that this is only a short list of differences. There are other interesting concepts to note, such as the roles and responsibilities of a typical project manager. They are split between the Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Team Members, once the team accepts to use a Scrum method. This switch is rather difficult for the individual who was a project manager and is now the Scrum Master.