What I Wish Everyone Knew About Scrum Master Vs Project Manager?


If you are new to the IT industry and trying to figure out the whole project management hierarchy, you would probably think that the roles of a Scrum master and a Project manager are the same.

But that would not be entirely true.

Both of these roles have separate identities and are very different from each other based on a lot of different elements. You just need to mold them into a specific shape or form as per the needs and requirements of your project.

As we move forward on our journey to understand the differences between a Scrum master and a Project manager, we realize that the project manager plays the leadership role and leads the entire planning operation for the entire project development process.

The Scrum master on the other hand plays a support role for the development team members. This SM works closely with the team members and makes sure that they are using the proper Agile principles in performing their duties.

Let’s now take a look at the Project manager vs Scrum master, and the relationship that they share in the overall project development process.

Relationship between a Project Manager and a Scrum Master

Have you ever wondered about the role of a Project manager in scrum? Suppose you are familiar with the entire transition from the Waterfall methodology to Agile. In that case, you might think that just the title of the Project manager is shifted to Scrum master and everything else is the same, but that won’t be true.

Why? Because the responsibilities of a Project manager can’t be converted to a Scrum master role, it has to be done rather differently.

The way to do that is when you transition from the traditional approach aka. Waterfall model to agile, the responsibilities and roles of the project manager are expertly distributed among a variety of team members.

Some of these responsibilities go to the Program manager, some to the Scrum master, some to the Product owner, and some to the rest of the team members of the project development team.

But you must remember that switching from Waterfall to Agile is not a piece of cake.

Unlike the role of a Scrum Master, the role of a Product owner is very close to the Project manager’. That is because the Product owner can be identified as the most responsible entity in the entire project development process.

The Product owner has to make sure that the product backlog is properly maintained and that the product being developed fits the business requirements that have been set by the stakeholders.

If there are any changes required in the product backlog, it is the job of the Product Owner to ensure that those changes are re-prioritized and adjusted accordingly, so that the project is carried out without any issues and work continues seamlessly.

This is an extremely difficult task for the Product Owner, so the Scrum master is always with the development team to make sure that the project is facilitated properly and is completed on time without any issues.

Let’s now move on to the differences between the Project Manager and the Scrum Master.

Scrum Master vs Project Manager

You need to understand the differences between the Project manager and the Scrum master so that you can find out how they are going to complement each other in large-scale projects.

First of all, you need to understand that the scrum master is a facilitator and a coach for the team members of the project development team.

The project manager on the other hand is a decision-maker and a leader that is responsible for managing the project to its entirety, managing the scope of business requirements, and managing the resources that are going to help complete the project.

Let’s take a look at a comparison table of Project Manager vs Scrum Master and find out how they differ from each other.

ParameterScrum MasterProject Manager
GoalsThe Scrum master makes sure that the different team members working in the project development process are well-trained in following the Agile practices to complete their workThe Project manager has different defined goals that they have to achieve like planning the budget for the entire project development process, planning the scope, and finishing the project on time
Team SizeThe team of the Scrum master is always smaller irrespective of budgetThe teams and budgets of the Project managers are always larger and grander
Quality AssuranceThe Scrum master is responsible for the quality assurance of the project or product at handThe Project managers understand the importance of good quality assurance but they don’t know how to work on it
Average Salary (US) Approx.$97,500/year$77,000/year

Every day in the market, we see that organizations that are new to the game of Scrum and Agile commit some deadly mistakes that can torpedo their whole operation.

The most common of these mistakes is the lack of clarity on the roles of the Project manager and the Scrum master. This problem is often seen in those Scrum teams where these roles overlap.

This overlapping is very common as there are a lot of different similarities between the two roles. Let’s take a look at them and understand how they intermix with each other.

Similarities between Project Manager and Scrum Master

  • One thing you need to understand is that neither of these roles is supreme in any sense. Both of them have to report to someone and get things done accordingly. The Project manager has to report to the stakeholders associated with the project and the client.
  • Furthermore, you need to wrap your mind around the fact that both of the individuals that are performing these roles are human and they can make mistakes like the rest of us. But the important thing on their end is that they should rectify their mistakes by receiving feedback from the people around them and getting things fixed.

Responsibilities of a Scrum Master

Let’s now take a look at the responsibilities and roles that the Scrum master has to perform as part of the project development process.

  • They also help the scrum teams following the scrum practices to complete their work
  • Protecting the team from external distractions so that they can solely focus on their work and get things done
  • Plans the sprint and monitors the sprint progress and guides the team on what they should and shouldn’t do
  • Removing barriers so the team can focus on their work and complete the project
  • Promotes team discussions
  • First of all, the scrum master schedules the daily scrum meetings
  • The scrum master also assists with the Product Backlog
  • Guides the Product Owner on the project and how they should take the best route for completion
  • Managing the entire Scrum process responsibly, so that there are little to no hurdles in project development
  • Working with the Product Owner in designing the Product Backlog items for the upcoming sprints
  • Helps teams to speed up the processes and complete the project in the agreed-upon duration
  • Scrum Master acts as a foundation that keeps everyone centered and true to their work

Responsibilities of a Project Manager

Let’s now take a look at the responsibilities and roles that the Project manager has to perform as part of the project development process.

  • They help in gathering requirements for the project
  • They also help mitigate the risks that are in the project
  • Ending the project
  • Risk management
  • The defining project scope for the team
  • The Project manager helps to Plan the project target and what the team has to achieve
  • Preparing the budget for a project, so that the project can be completed in the agreed-upon time
  • They also help in getting user feedback and improving the project
  • Prioritizing the project-related features
  • Preparing the work schedule for the team members, so that they have a clear idea of what they have to do and when they have to do it


This was our comparison guide to find out the differences and similarities between the Scrum Master and the Project Manager. if you have something to add to this article, feel free to email us and we will review it and get back to you ASAP.

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