Project Manager Role in Scrum

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Apr 02, 2019

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What is Scrum, exactly?

Scrum is a simple framework that assists individuals, groups, and organizations produce value by developing adaptable solutions to challenging issues. Co-creators of Scrum Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland introduced it to all of us. There are accountabilities, events, artefacts, and the rules that bring them all together that make up this description of Scrum. In simple words, Scrum is a set of guidelines, roles, events, and objectives used to implement Agile projects. 

What does a Scrum Master do?

The scrum master is in charge of ensuring that the scrum framework is followed properly. Scrum contains a set of rules and practices, and it's the duty of a scrum master to make sure that must be followed by the entire team. Scrum Masters coach and guides the team for this whenever necessary. The Scrum Master's job is to support teams, projects, and team members. Your duties and responsibilities may change because Scrum Masters can work in many different contexts. They might be acting as a facilitator, coach, or project manager, depending on where they work. Their responsibilities will frequently change from day to day but mainly they lead daily stand-up meetings, promote open dialogue and conflict resolution, are proactive in identifying and resolving problems and also update the daily activity in a project management tracking tool.

What does a project manager do?

An expert who organizes, plans, and manages projects while adhering to constraints like budgets and timetables is known as a project manager. Project managers oversee the work of entire teams, establish the objectives of a project, consult with stakeholders, and see it through to completion. The project manager is accountable for the success or failure of the project, regardless of whether they are managing a marketing campaign, building a structure, creating a computer system, or launching a new product.

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Project Manager's Role in a Scrum Team

When we look at the surface level, there is no official role for a Project Manager in an agile team as all team members are assigned with distributed responsibilities. However, let us take a detailed look to understand the role of a Project Manager in agile projects.

First, understand that a project manager is not a designation but a role in agile projects. This person does not identify stakeholders and establish project scope but a Project Manager in an agile project is a product vision evangelist. Also, this person helps to integrate people with non-product development teams. The Project Manager in an agile project does not track the project progress but monitors the project metrics. Finally, this person not just closes the project phase but closes the release and procurement.

From the above explanation, you can infer that a project manager in an agile team is a dynamic role and there is no definite designation for a person.

Scrum Master Vs Project Manager

Project managers are in charge of overseeing every aspect of a project, including financial aspects like budget and risk, while Scrum masters ensure that their teams adhere to Scrum standards. If you are confused about scrum master vs project manager which one is better, here are some key differences:


Project Manager

Scrum Master


Plans budget, defines the scope and make sure the project completes on time.

Trains the team members on agile practices. Offers to coach to the scrum team and ensure to tune team members mindset.

Quality Assurance

Manages a QA consultant and ensures quality

Scrum Master is the sole owner for quality


Project Manager handles large-size projects and many people report to him

Scrum projects are medium and small scale. Also manages a small team as most of them are self-disciplined in a scrum team

Primary Role

Works closely with the management and manages the team to ensure delivery

Scrum ceremony facilitator uses tools to ensure smooth delivery, executes the product backlog and motivates the entire team for delivery



In simple words, Project Manager is a leader but Scrum Master is a coach. Project Manager is a decision maker, whereas Scrum Master is a facilitator. Project Manager takes care of the project and its alignment with the business requirement. Scrum Master is the owner of the entire project team and mediates with the customer.

Similarities between Project manager and a Scrum master

Now, you witnessed all the difference between a Project Manager and an Scrum Master. But, do not jump into a conclusion that they both will not meet in a line. There are similarities between Project Manager and an Scrum Master also it is possible for a Project Manager to act as an Scrum Master in agile projects. Continue reading to get enlightenment in that area.

  • Both are individual who deals with the team’s emotion and hence they are closely associated with the team members. They receive feedback and mitigate risk.
  • Project Manager and Scrum Master are not the supreme authority as they both depend on the client and other stakeholders for decision.
  • It is a must that they understand their role clearly to prevent failure of both the team performance and the project delivery.

Before understanding how to become an Scrum Master from a Project Manager, you must agree with the need for the transition.

Why Project Management to Scrum Master

As we are aware that both Project Manager and Scrum Master deal with the team in project delivery, it is good to be an Scrum Master as you can focus on the priorities for a particular sprint. Unlike a Project Master must set priority to the team for the entire project tenure which is time-consuming and cumbersome. Scrum Master has a scope to measure deliverables at every sprint and corrective action can be taken.

Scrum Master need not spend the time collecting, verifying, and ensuring communication between resources as a Project Manager does. But simply can allow the team to talk during the stand-up meeting and resolve conflicts.

Client satisfaction is discussed in every sprint and hence final delivery burden is not there as an Scrum Master. But,as a Project Manager you must wait till the end to know if the customer feels happy about the product delivered. The risk is more working as a Project Manager but not as an Scrum Master.

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Role of a project manager in a scrum team is more than a leader but a servant leader. Therefore begin with a mindset and work with the team. Forget status update as the goal of a daily stand up meeting as it is the time allotted for teams to communicate. The more the team talks, the more is the chance for moving closer to achieving deadlines. You must register in mind that a project manager is just a role in the scrum projects and not a designation as in a waterfall method.

A project manager must become a certified scrum master to take the team along throughout the project. Practice becoming a scrum master by applying the suggestions given in this article in your projects and do away with a traditional project manager mindset.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the role of a project manager in Scrum?

There is no specific role of a project manager in an agile team but the scrum teams are part of every project, and there is no dedicated role of project managers in scrum but they do track their progress. 

Does Scrum have a project manager?

No, Scrum consists of mainly three designations  Scrum Master, Product owner and developer hence there is no designated role of a project manager in scrum.

What are the 4 main roles of a project manager?

Planning, Project initiation, budget creation and resource management are the main responsibilities of a project manager.

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