>

Monday, March 25, 2013

Is Scrum Master a Project Manager in Agile Scrum?

The straight answer to that would be 'no' - and I guess everyone who has spent 30-40hrs learning Agile Scrum would know this short answer, but let's understand why behind it and that is really important.

OK, lets understand why these two roles are NOT same -
1) Agile teams are self-organizing teams, so if you are PMI Project Management guru (aka PMP) you would know - Project Manager spends lots of time and energy in organizing these resources (developers, testers, analysts etc, and their tasks etc) so by definition, these activities are no more required (to a greater extent), so Scrum Master is not supposed to (and may not even know how to...) do resource management. Scrum Master is like a coach in Scrum Team not manager.

2) Scrum Master (also explained as 'servant-leader' in scrum guides) - is there to do specific job(s) - ensure scrum rules/practices are being followed, remove impediments, (and keep chickens (sounds unfamiliar? - read this) away from team but keep them happy). Project Manager on other hand is assumed to be master of all these - so this is actually similarity between these two roles - but Project Manager is expected to anyways be master of all these (e.g. ensure project management practices are being followed, remove hurdles/blockers, keep chickens happy...), but this role carries lot of other responsibilities as well, than just that.

3) Ever heard of WBS, estimation, gantt charts, critical path analysis? - that's what we don't do in Agile Scrum, but on other hand in waterfall, all these are termed as 'most important tasks for a project manager', and hence a Project Manager is different from Scrum Master. Even estimation is done by developers in consultation with Product Owner, and Scrum Master has little role to play there.

So in nutshell, the role of Project Manager is divided is Agile Scrum, and the tasks are distributed (by nature of Scrum), among all members of Scrum Team.

Further reading - I strongly recommend you to read a short and simple (16 pages) Agile Scrum Guide by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland.