What is the difference between Scrum Master and Project Manager

Often, we come across the question, what is the difference between Scrum Master and Project Manager? We are also seeing a title Agile Project Manager. If you also want to know about the differences and/or want to choose any of these career path, you are at the right location to get information.

In this article, we’ll go through the details to understand these roles.


Scrum Master


Project Manager


Let’s start with below criteria(s):




The objective of Scrum Master is to keep focused towards empowering Scrum team. He/She always works to make team self-organized so that it can provide values to project.

Whereas Project Manager focuses towards success of project. He/She always has goal to achieve project objective in term of scope, time and cost. There are other metrics of project as well. Project Manage has to fulfil those needs also e.g. quality, stakeholder satisfaction and vendor management.


Scrum Master is serves scrum team and he/she is a servant leader relationship with team. Scrum Master provides coaching to a team and finally makes it scrum team who understands scrum practices and principles. It ultimately leads to project success but project success is not the responsibility of Scrum Master.

Whereas Project Manager is the owner of project. The success of project depends upon ability of project manager. He/she uses various process, tools, techniques and resources along with Scrum Master for project success.



Why these roles?

Scrum Master believes that team will provide best output by empowering it agile mode. Scrum’s objective is to maximize value from project whereas Project Manager has to meet project objective and generate profit from project.


Scrum Master should help Product Owner in product backlog management & product planning since Scrum Master is expert of scrum tools and techniques.



Scrum Master should also make sure that development team is clear with goals, scope, product domain, application of best practices of scum principles within team to get maximum value as output from scrum team.

Scrum Master is responsible to make development team self organized. Ultimately Scrum Master is there to ensure, team can do the work in the best possible way & make sure that impediments are removed quickly.

Project Manager on the other side, plans for project, executes and delivers project according to requirements within budget and in time.

Team Size

Scrum Master works with the scrum team of between 3 and 9.

But Project Manager can have more resources (living or non-living) in the project. There may be few sub-teams following waterfall methodology or scrum framework of Agile.



Let’s understand or revise the difference or common features of these roles again. Although both Project Manager and Scrum Master support the organization, but Project Manager’s goal is for project success whereas Scrum Master works to add value in final project/project by making team capable.

Sometimes, you will heat a job title Agile Project Manager. But remember that Agile Project Manager is also not a Scrum Master, he/she is a project manager with knowledge of Agile who uses agile practice and can work on adaptive methodologies for project success. Scrum Master can still not be called as Agile Project Manager in any case as he/she doesn’t bother about project constraints e.g. project risks etc.

Scrum Master is only dedicated or allegiance to the team. Project Manager has responsibility to the team & the organization.

Agile provides transparency when the organization asks Agile Project Manager to do something stupid or wrong in any case, now Agile Project Manager has more power to disapprove for his project because of following Agile principles and can retain his/her integrity. He/she doesn’t not only understand standards of Waterfall (predictive project model) but also understands Agile (adaptive project model). Project Manager can select any agile framework like Scrum, Kanban or Lean as per his need for project. Project Manager follows major project management knowledge areas in project e.g. procurement management, stakeholder management etc.



It is imperative that Project Manager role is more of a leadership role while Scrum Master’s duties include more of facilitating and coaching role.

Project Manager’s approach is not only limited to traditional waterfall, Project Manager can opt for waterfall or agile or hybrid (waterfall + agile) in project for bigger team. Scrum Master on the other hand, must be stick to scrum framework of agile for small scrum team to make it self-organized.

Scrum Masters work for projects in IT or alliance industries whereas Project Managers work on various projects that belongs to different industries.




Project Manager and Scrum Master are different roles altogether. They shouldn’t be compared. They have different goals, thought process, principles and ever different growth level hierarchies.



Hope this blog is useful to understand the core of these two roles.

Please comment below your questions if you have any or provide your feedback?





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About Satyendra Mishra

An Engineer by education, Satyendra is a PMP certified Project Manager, Author, Blogger and Learner with 13+ years of experience on Project Management, Microsoft Technologies including ASP.NET, ASP.NET MVC, C#, SharePoint (On premises & Office 365), JavaScript Framework (Angular), Xamarin for Android and related technologies. He is a person with belief, sky is limit for a hard working and dedicated individual. That’s why he devoted himself to field of Software Development and now both are growing with each other. Every year for him turned out to be best year and he received enormous support and love from his companies and his clients from around the world. Now with vast knowledge of software development and its outsourcing process, he decided to move himself into knowledge sharing. Keep a fact in your mind about the comfort level of your clients and this will make you king/queen of your area.
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