You might have a lot of questions in your mind when it comes to the Scrum Master and Project Manager in the Project Management Domain.

  • What are the roles of Scrum Master and Project Managers?
  • What are their Similarities or Differences?
These might be some questions in your mind. To give you an overview of the two professions, you can understand Scrum Masters as professionals who ensure that their team follows Scrum Principles, while a Project Manager is a professional who oversees the entire organizational Project from its initiation phase to its close-out phase.

Scrum is a framework for team collaboration. Scrum allows teams to learn from experiences, self-organize while tackling a challenge, and reflect on their victories and losses to continually improve, much like a rugby squad preparing for a big game.

Apart from this, it is also necessary to understand what is Project in reference to Project Management. A Project is a collection of tasks that must be carried out in order to achieve a specific objective or result. These activities could be straightforward or complex, depending on the Project's size and scope, but every Project can be divided into goals and the actions required to reach them.

Now, to help you understand more clearly about Scrum Masters and Project Managers, we have come up with this guide. If you are one of the curious minds and wish to learn about the differences, similarities, and roles of Scrum Masters and Project Managers, then this guide is especially for you.

Keep reading to learn more!

Who Is A Scrum Master?

The purpose of a Scrum Master in a team is to manage the implementation of the Scrum Framework. He or she is responsible for helping the team members understand the Scrum practices, theories, framework, and the rules and values.

A Scrum Master is a leader in a Scrum Team. Moreover, we can define Scrum as a Project Management Methodology, which is adopted when the scope of a Project involves changes or unpredictability.

We can characterize or define Scrum by daily meetings called standups and short cumulative work cycles known as Sprints. A Sprint may last for 1-4 weeks and allows the Project to develop using an iterative approach rather than an all-at-once approach.

Scrum Master

What Does A Scrum Master Do?

The Scrum Master does not manage the team that is producing the work, rather he or she supports the Product Owner, guides the team, and ensures whether the Scrum Framework is implemented. We can say that the Scrum Master is majorly responsible for the correct implementation of the Scrum practices and frameworks, and for maximizing the benefits of the implemented Scrum methodology.

If we talk about the tasks and responsibilities of a Scrum Master, then it can vary depending upon the type of Project. Here are some roles of a Scrum Master:

  • Lead daily standup or Scrum Meetings.
  • Support team members and guide them in their day-to-day tasks.
  • Mentors the team on the Scrum Framework and best practices.
  • Leading the Sprint Planning.
  • Monitoring the progress of each Sprint.
  • Coach the Product Owner.
  • Promote and enable continuous communication within the team to ensure smooth operations.
  • Motivates the team members.
  • Holds the team together by acting as the glue.
  • Assist with daily reports.
  • Reduce or avoid team conflicts.

What Not To Do As A Scrum Master?

Here are few tips and things that a scrum master should not do in their profession:

1. Don't Act Alone When Making Decisions

One of the most crucial Agile tenets is that no project decision should be made by a single person or specific leader, in this example, a Scrum Master. You are not the only one who must make all project-related decisions. The team members have an equal right to voice their ideas and comprehend the direction the project is taking.

2. No Side Taking by The Scrum Master

Because of his job as a facilitator, the Scrum Master should avoid picking sides in disputes or showing any preference for one party's viewpoint. He should act as a middleman to assist the various parties in coming to a consensus instead.

3. Acting in A Project Manager's Manner

The team members must frequently be under the Scrum Master's watchful eye. However, their function should not be mistaken for that of a Project Manager. They must actively participate in daily stand-ups and retrospectives to make sure everyone has done their bit. The Scrum Master must also make sure that after each sprint, high-quality solutions that can be shipped can be delivered.

Who Is a Project Manager?

Project Manager

A Project Manager is responsible for managing the Project on a daily basis with his or her entire focus being on overseeing all the phases of the Project. The Project Manager ensures that the Project stays within the specified budget and deadlines.

Moreover, a Project Manager also offers Project support and team management. It means that the Project Manager not only plans, controls, monitors, or manages the Project, but he or she is also responsible for reviewing the daily tasks of the individual team members.

What Does A Project Manager Do?

A Project Manager is majorly responsible to lead the meeting, creating schedules, managing budgets, ensuring proper communication with the stakeholders and the team, and keeping a track of the entire Project's progress. We can say that the tasks and roles of a Project Manager are very broad. Other Project Manager tasks include the following:

  • Define the scope of the Project and the Objectives.
  • Maintain clear communications with stakeholders and the Project team.
  • Set a Project budget.
  • Allocate the resources for the Project.
  • Minimize and manage the anticipated Project risks.
  • Track and measure the Project progress.
  • Defining Project scope and goals
  • Maintaining consistent communication with stakeholders
  • Setting a budget and schedule
  • Creating a communication plan
  • Managing risk
  • Create and manage the Project plan, which may include the Project initiation document, project plan, Gantt charts, and other visual documents.

What not to do as a Project Manager

1. Rotating Orders

A project Manager is a team member, as we've already established, and is expected to work with rather than for the team. They should be involved in the process of getting to scope points and overcoming any obstacles from the moment the Project's scope is developed.

2. Forcing Concepts on Team Members

A team meeting and multiple brainstorming sessions are required before beginning a new Project in order to generate ideas and ensure its success. A Project Manager must be willing to implement fresh ideas from the team members in order to properly manage a team. However, the custom of forcing ideas on the team members is unacceptable.

Scrum Master and Project Manager: Similarities

When we talk about a Scrum Master and a Project Manager, they are both involved in Project Management. Since both a Scrum Master and a Project Manager are part of project management, we might see a few overlapping roles, skills, and characteristics. Here is a detailed overview of the similarities that you can find between a Scrum Master and a Project Manager.

Overlapping Responsibilities

  • Both the Scrum Master and the Project Manager have the tendency to coach and guide the organization and the project management teams for improving the overall efficiency.
  • Both the Scrum Master and the Project Manager are not held accountable for the Project outcome e.i the success or failure of a project. In a Scrum team, a Product Owner is accountable for the success or failure of the Project. Ultimately in a Project Management team, the project board is accountable for the same.
  • Both the Scrum Master and the Project Manager help to remove the Project hurdles or challenges. The only difference is that a Project Manager tries to remove the Project hurdles by himself or herself, while a Scrum Master only coaches the teams and the organization to resolve the project hurdles.

Overlapping Skills

  • Communication

    Both Scrum masters and project managers have good communication skills as they both have to communicate well and share the necessary details with the project stakeholders. Moreover, both are also responsible to communicate well with customers, team members, management, suppliers, or other individuals associated with the project.

  • Leadership

    Leadership is an essential skill possessed by both Scrum Masters and Project Managers. However, the leading style may differ between the two roles. A Scrum Master is termed as a servant leader, who is responsible for leading and managing the Scrum framework in the team. While a project manager leads the project management, motivates the team members, and leads members in the project process.

  • Project Authority

    Neither a scrum master nor a project manager has the supreme authority. A Scrum Master has to report to the Product Owner and the stakeholders along with the clients. On the other hand, a project manager has to report to the client and the stakeholders.

  • Organization

    Both Scrum Masters and Project Managers are well-organized professionals. They are good at work management, balancing work-life integration, and seeing the picture as a whole.

Scrum Master and Project Manager: Differences

To understand the differences between a Scrum Master and a Project Manager, you have to understand that both work on different frameworks. A Scrum Master has to adopt and implement a Scrum Framework, while the Project Manager has to implement the Project Management approaches. Here is a detailed view of the differences between the two.

Non-overlapping Responsibilities

  • A Scrum Master does not have to create or manage a business case, while a Project Manager is responsible for creating and managing the business case for the project.
  • A Scrum Master does not manage changes or the change requests in terms of project scope, time, and budget. On the other hand, a Project Manager has to strictly adhere to change management.
  • A Scrum Master may not create any documents pertaining to the project such as project plan, initiation document, Gantt charts, and many others unlike the Project Manager
  • A Project Manager keeps a track on the team and the project progress, whereas the Scrum Master is not responsible to do that.
  • The Scrum Master has no role to play when it comes to business requirements unlike the Project Manager.

Non-overlapping Skills

  • Budgeting

    A Project Manager has to ensure budget management for the Project. It includes setting an anticipated budget for the Project and ensuring that the Project remains within the set budget. On the other hand, a Scrum Master is not required to set Project budgets.

  • Risk management

    A Project Manager is tasked with risk management to ensure the anticipated risks are managed for successful completion of the Project. Whereas a Scrum Master may not be involved in Risk Management for a Project.

  • Scrum Management/ Project Management

    A Scrum Master should have the expertise and the necessary skills of Scrum Management. On the other hand, a Project Manager possesses the knowledge and skills for Project Management.

Other Top Differences Between A Scrum Master and A Project Manager

Basis Scrum Master Project Manager
Objective A Scrum Master makes sure that the Scrum Framework is implemented and the scrum team is successful. A Project Manager ensures that the business requirements are met as he or she is responsible for managing the resources, project timeline, and scope of the project.
Team Size A Scrum Master may work in small teams. A Project Manager may have to manage a number of team members depending upon the scope of the project.
Average Salary (USD) A Scrum Master earns an average annual salary of $1,04,774 A Project Manager earns an average annual salary of $91,464
Document Recording A Scrum Master does not create, manage, or update any document related to a Project. A Project Manager is responsible for creating, managing, and updating all kinds of documents such as project briefs, project budget, Gantt charts, risk log, etc.
Requirements/ Content-Related Responsibility The Scrum Master is not responsible for creating, managing, or dividing work packages among the team members. On the other hand, a Project Manager is responsible for creating, managing, dividing, and distributing work packages within the Project team.
Scope of Position The scope of a Scrum Master role may not be as broad as a Project Manager. However, it is more focused as a Scrum Master increases the organization’s agility by enabling the team to implement the Scrum Framework. On the other hand, the scope of a Project Manager role is quite broad as it includes multiple responsibilities such as creating a business case, coaching the team members, and motivating the team members along with various other task-oriented responsibilities.

Certifications for Scrum Masters and Project Managers

Scrum Master Certification

The two most popular certifications that can certify you as a Scrum Master are listed below.

Certified Scrum Master (CSM): Certified Scrum Master Certification (CSM) offered by the Scrum Alliance, is the Scrum qualification that is most frequently referenced in job descriptions on three major job search websites LinkedIn, Indeed, and Simply Hired. To obtain the certification, you must complete a course and pass an examination.

Professional Scrum Master (PSM I): The PSM I, which is run by Scrum.org, is a frequently mentioned CSM substitute. You can become a PSM certified without completing any coursework, but you must pass an exam.

Project Manager Certification

Credentials in Project Management might help you launch a career in the field or advance in it.

Project Management Professional (PMP): The PMP is a top-tier Project Management Certification that is provided by the Project Management Institute(PMI). For you to be eligible to take the certification exam, you must have at least three years of Project Management experience.

Associate in Project Management (CAPM) Certification: The CAPM is an entry-level Project Management Certification that is also offered by the PMI. To be eligible to take the certification exam, you must have completed 23 hours of Project Management Training and have a secondary degree, such as a high school diploma or an equivalent.


We hope this article was able to provide some essential information about a Scrum Master and a Project Manager whilst answering some of your questions about the similarities, differences, or characteristics of the two roles.

As you might have read above, you would have noticed that there are quite some differences between a Scrum Master and a Project Manager. However, you can also find some overlapping skills and responsibilities between the two since both the roles are a subset of the Project Management Domain.

Moreover, if you are inclined towards the Project Management career path, you can check out our Project Management Certification Training Courses. We offer PMP, CAPM, and PMI-ACP Certification Courses. You can enjoy mock tests, 2000+ mock questions, extensive question bank, and much more.

Techcanvass is one of the largest IT institutions providing several course based on Scrum Certification, ECBA, CCBA etc to the aspirants. The material provided by Techcanvass for these courses are authentic and updated. If you want to become a successful Scrum Master or a Project Manager, enroll yourself in Techcanvass today and see the magic.

About Author


Abhishek Srivastava
-Senior IT Professional , CBAP Certified

Abhishek Srivastava is a seasoned IT professional with diverse experience in Banking, Insurance, Utility and Education domains. Managing large accounts, Program management & Business Analysis has been his forte, having done so for customers like ICICI Bank, NTPC & many other International customers.

In the past, he has been associated with companies like Mastek and 3i Infotech Ltd (erstwhile ICICI Infotech Ltd). An NIT (Erstwhile REC) / IIM Kozhikode graduate, now as an entrepreneur, he is pursuing his dream of creating an organization for providing quality training in the fields of Project Management and Business Analysis. His other areas of interest are Business Analysis consulting and mentorship. Over the years, he has mentored and guided more than 1000 professionals


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