The Scrum Master Vs The Product Manager2022.08.27

A sprint backlog is another scrum artifact, managed by the engineering team. It is a list of user stories that need to be completed during an iteration. A good SM enables a PMs work to come to fruition, and helps the product management process move closer and closer to perfection. Product Management Resources Be the best product manager you can be. A Scrum Master is a professional who leads a team using Agile project management through the course of a project.

  • Of course, the job itself becomes very stressful because of the sprawl.
  • Product Owners manage the product backlog and ensure the company gains maximum value from the product.
  • Within agile organisations management as an activity is done ‘horizontal’, instead of the ‘vertical’ approach traditional organisations use with specific management positions.
  • Increments must meet the development team’s definition of done and be a useable product.
  • You’ll need to know the goals, structure, and expectations, processes, requirements, planning, and monitoring that goes into producing better software.

Agile teams adapt to feedback in order to deliver incremental value to customers. Scrum is the most widely used agile methodology for managing software products and application development. A scrum master is a member of a software development team that is practicing scrum — the best known and most widely used Agile software development framework. The scrum master’s key role is to help keep the team accountable to their business commitments — and remove any roadblocks that might impede the team’s productivity. With a scrum master helping every team manage their process,your entire organization can realize some serious gains.

Retrospectives– Note areas for improvement and action items for future sprints. Ensuring that all Scrum events take place and are positive, productive, and kept within the timebox. As described in the Scrum Guide, the Scrum Master is accountable for establishing Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide.

When To Use, A Scrum Master And Product Owner

Monitor the sprint’s progress and remove roadblocks impeding the product’s development. Plan and execute the Agile Methodology with the Scrum development team. They’re marketers, engineers, and support reps all wrapped up into one role. This means they need to possess a wide range of skills to succeed at their job. Scrum Masters are responsible for implementing the Scrum approach with the development and engineering teams. Here’s an example we pulled from Southern New Hampshire University.

Who are Scrum masters in product management

They decide what is the most valuable backlog items to deliver and they work with the team to shape the product. And because it is Scrum, those decisions are quickly delivered into the product, which allows for transparency and adaption. The Product Owner is the ultimate decision maker, but because the product is delivered frequently, everyone involved has insight into the overall direction allowing for feedback and change. The Product Owner however is not all knowing, if you find that person who knows all, hire them as it is very rare.


The product manager can be part of the daily scrum meeting if they want to, but only the scrum master is required. This segregation eases the job of the product manager, and it, in turn, helps the organization function more effectively. A product manager has the responsibility for product development, product design, and product marketing.

Who are Scrum masters in product management

They do this by helping everyone understand Scrum theory and practice, both within the Scrum Team and the organization.

Scrum Master Job Description & Responsibilities

A Scrum Master will be your best option here, as the Scrum framework includes routine meetings. A Product Manager would have to develop a meeting schedule separately. Scrum teams already meet daily in standups, and they’ll also meet periodically outside of that to discuss their progress and any changes they need to make. The Scrum Master can relay these updates to stakeholders and other departments as needed. Where collaboration is required, they can easily bring teams together to work on the project’s development in Scrum.

Many of the tasks performed by these roles may be absorbed in over-arching Product Management roles or by Assistant PMs. All three roles are higher-level jobs and come with an attractive salary. If stakeholders are unaware of how scrum works, they might expect something different from what they are given. Product managers should work to resolve this expectation gap. User stories are the smallest units of work in the scrum framework. The coach that helps keep the team accountable to their commitments to the business and also remove any roadblocks that might impede the team’s productivity.

Who are Scrum masters in product management

Scrum is an Agile framework for developing complex projects, most often software. The Agile project management methodology uses short development cycles, called sprints, that result in the continuous improvement of a product or service. There are many Agile frameworks, and Scrum is a popular option for fast-moving projects. The methodology is highly collaborative and requires efficient processes, and the results of the process depend upon the expertise of the Scrum Master.

The scrum master is quite different from the project manager role in several important ways. First, the scrum master is an Agile role, while the project manager is traditionally a waterfall role — two very different environments. While the scrum master helps the team stay on task and aligned with proper scrum workflows, their role is to coach and motivate, not enforce. They meet with the team on a regular basis to review work and deliverables, most often in a weekly cadence. As a Scrum Master, it’s also important to be proficient in specific technical skills related to Agile management and software development. Scrum is the most widely-used framework for Agile development that yields high-quality products for customers.

Product Owner Responsibilities

Scrum Masters are the go-to experts that ensure the overall success of a project. They coach the development team to follow the Scrum values and methodologies. Additionally, they collaborate with product owners to establish the Agile principles in product development. In a company that has a product owner, the scrum master will interact with the person in that role.

Who are Scrum masters in product management

Just like technology itself, the roles within tech companies are always evolving. This is especially true for the Scrum Master, traditionally a leader among software development teams that use the Scrum framework. As a Scrum Master, you can play an integral role in a company’s success. You may also have the opportunity to develop products that positively impact the world around you by making people’s lives better. On a more granular level, you’ll have the opportunity to foster a positive working environment for team members in a company and ensure the most successful outcome of a product or project.

They research the product market, create product vision, think about product strategy, and guide the product development cycle. That is why scrum masters are often part of the development teams. But there is a reason why scrum master certifications are in such demand. The strongest scrum masters boost productivity, remove roadblocks, and provide much-needed morale. So, the scrum master and program manager play different roles in mitigating risk and removing roadblocks. Additionally, while both leaders are responsible for keeping their teams on track, the project manager owns and makes decisions for the development project.

How Much Do Scrum Certifications Cost?‎

Hence, product owners are generally knowledgeable about product backlog, roadmap, sprint planning, and reviews. The best Scrum Teams have a Product Owner that is available and empowered to make decisions without having to ask for permission. That means that the Product Owner role should be performed by a business person, and for many organizations that means a product manager.

The project manager sets and tracks timeframes and milestones, reports on progress, and coordinates team communication. However, they do so from a place of control, in a more traditional management role. Professionals who opt to get certifications often get more opportunities and earn more than their non-certified counterparts. Because of the self-organizing nature of scrum teams, project managers are no longer necessary for this framework.

This involves interviewing customers, reviewing product feedback, analyzing market trends, and working with upper management to approve a product vision. This means that your employees need to understand the role they play in the development process and how they contribute to the product’s overall success. There are a lot of jobs in Agile Scrum development and defining the responsibilities on each one removes miscommunication and keeps projects on track. In an agile organization, the scrum master can mitigate these risks. They act as a communication bridge between product management and development.

By Team Function

You may also want to consider obtaining the Scrum Alliance Certified Product Owner . They are responsible for ensuring that team members understand, execute, and follow Agile principles, processes, and practices throughout the project. Scrum utilizes a system of tasks and keeps score, often with the help of a product management tool like the Kanban chart or even a simple Excel file. The role of the Product Owner is to organize and prioritize the tasks for the engineers.

That means if the team runs out of time during a sprint before they’re able to complete one of the items, some of the blame rests with you. By communicating their needs and concerns to product management and other stakeholders, or helping to clear roadblocks to the team’s progress. A Scrum Master can do these things, of course, but a Product Owner specializes in communication across teams. Their purpose is to balance various interests during development and ensure the team is making progress on all fronts.

A sprint is the actual time period when the scrum team works together to finish an increment. Business analysis skills help you focus on how to continuously improve a product to meet customer, stakeholder, and company needs. Effective Scrum Masters often have a set of workplace Scrum Master skills in common. Whether you’re just getting started or advancing within your career, building these skills will empower you to lead your team to the best of your ability. When she’s not writing about technology trends, she’s working out or spending time with family.

For a product team creating software using the Scrum agile framework, the scrum master is a technical resource. Often a developer who is responsible for keeping the dev team on track. The scrum master’s main objective is to make sure the team works according to the agile values. That they have the resources, time, and disruption-free environment to succeed.