Myth of Scrum Master & Project Manager role

PM vs SM

Transitioning from Waterfall to Agile can be a long and challenging process. The responsibilities are split amongst team members for different roles, with some being new roles – The Project Manager (PM) handles the management of the project while the focus on the process will now be the role of a Scrum Master (SM) and prioritizing of features will be the role of a Product Owner (PO).

It is often a myth that PM and SM play the same role; but this is definitely not the case and the two roles are in fact very different. Not all SMs have the skills required to be a PM, nor do all PMs have the skills required to be a SM. What then, is the difference between the roles of a PM and SM?

Project Manager

The role of a PM is to manage the stakeholders’ expectation and at the same time manage the team’s project timeline, resources and scope to meet the customer requirements and company’s needs. He / she also coordinates with other teams and allocates tasks. Through allocation, PM will prioritize features and manages risk should he / she identify any.

While the role of a PM ends the minute the project is completed; however, prior to project completion, PM plays an important role. He / she has to complete multiple reports so as to track the project status to ensure that the project timeline is met.

Scrum Master

SM plays the role of a facilitator and / or coach instead of managing a product development team in companies that practice scrum. He / she helps to remove any blockers or impediments that hinder project and coach the PO and the development team.

Companies who practice scrum will have the product development run in sprints; this means that the SM plays an important role in monitoring and visualizing the progress of the sprint and guide the team to estimate product items if required. SM will also facilitate retrospectives for the team to improve.

Role of a Scrum Master

Scrum Master in Titansoft

What about the role of a SM in Titansoft? Adopting the Large Scale Scrum (LeSS) framework, our very own SMs act as a guardians of the scrum process and explain the purpose of that process to the PO or team(s) when they do not comply. SMs in Titansoft beliefs in the following:

  1. Continuous feedback within organization
  2. Each member is able to represent the team
  3. Able to act fast and response correctly to market needs
  4. Believe in yourself, dare to challenge
  5. Passionate people
  6. Everyone has sense of ownership
  7. Expand your specialty & continuously explore new knowledge
  8. Authority distributed to local team

Our SM grows the PO and development teams by challenging their perspectives and being their mirror to help them reflect on the process. This can happen in conjunction with facilitation of any of the following:

  1. Product backlog refinement
  2. Sprint planning
  3. Sprint review
  4. Daily stand-up
  5. Retrospective

Through facilitating these conversations, this will allow teams to better identify their improvement and respond to changes easily to meet customers’ requirements. Conflicts are hard to avoid, and SMs here will help POs and team by bringing them closer and increasing understanding of each other, creating a healthier conflict. This will help the SM work closely with everyone to identify any impediments that are hindering product and the team.

In summary, SM allow the team to self-organize and make changes quickly to reach its goals and objectives. PM, on the other hand, manages stakeholder expectations and track projects status.

Does being a Scrum Master in Titansoft seem right up your alley? Read more about what we’re looking for and apply here.

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