Eh? Scrum Master vs. Project Manager vs. What is the Product Owner? It’s like comparing apples with lemons. In real life, however, scrum teams are managed by project managers. Project management tools and techniques are essential for Scrum Masters.
This is a question I am often asked. I decided to write this article about roles in different project management frameworks.
Let’s be clear, once and for all.
Watch This ArticleWhat is a Project Manager?
A project manager is someone who applies knowledge and skills in project management to manage a project from its inception to its successful conclusion.
In the real world, however, the spheres of influence and responsibilities that a PM has extend far beyond the project.
A project manager works within ten key knowledge areas:
Management of Stakeholders
But I would also like to add:
A project manager must choose the right processes, tools, or techniques to be used for the project.
The Project Manager can delegate work from certain knowledge areas. However, the PM is responsible for each of them. They are familiar with the best practices and know how to use each one to benefit a project.
Project Manager vs. Program Manager vs. Portfolio Manager
One or more projects can be managed by a Project Manager.
The Program Manager oversees several projects that share a common goal. She is responsible for the higher-level management and coordination of these projects. It involves interdependences, risk, economics of the entire program, as well as coordination of work of multiple project managers
Portfolio Manager works with groups, projects, and other actives that are all aimed at achieving a single strategic goal.
Here’s an example of the hierarchy between portfolios, programs and projectsLevels of Project Managers
Hierarchy of might look like this:
Senior Project Manager
Project Manager or mid-level PM
Assistant Project Manager or Coordinator
The Project Coordinator reports to and assists the Project Manager. He has limited authority to take decisions.
Who is a Scrum Master and what are their responsibilities?
Scrum Master is a role that is specific to Scrum.
A Scrum Master is only able to cover a small portion of the knowledge areas in project management.
According to Scrum Guides, Scrum Master has very limited responsibilities on a project. Many people believe that Scrum Framework can be self-sufficient. Scrum Masters are often required to manage other aspects of a project.
Scrum Master vs Project Manager? Is it a Myth or a Fact?
In one project, theoretical agile cannot co-exist with plan-driven worlds. Different mindsets, roles, processes and artifacts can be created. Yet, in real life you will often see an agile project leader leading a scrum group.
Is it really a confrontation?
I still remember my first days as PM. I didn’t know much about agile, PMBOK(r), Guide, or any other approaches.
(By the by, the latest PMBOK(r), Guide Six Edition goes hand-in-hand with Agile Practice Guide.
I found the scrum debates confusing. Scrum worked for me, even without all the prerequisites. However, there were still many questions:
Is a Scrum Master Certificate required for a PM?
Can a PM be a ScrumMaster?
Is a PM a Scrum Master?
How should Scrum Master interact and collaborate with PM?
Before we answer these questions, I want to clarify the root cause of the confusion regarding Scrum Master and Project Manager.
Is there a role for the “Project Manager?”
You may be familiar with scrum, which identifies roles, artifacts and events. It is not a perfect system.