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Both Scrum Masters and Project Managers can be critical to the success of a project. It’s not uncommon for Scrum Masters and Project Managers to work together on projects, but when you compare the roles of Scrum Master and Project Manager, there are some clear differences.
Scrum Master and Project Manager are both great career options. If you’re considering becoming a Scrum Master rather than a project manager, be sure to keep a few things in mind. In this article, you will find information on how the two roles are similar and how they differ.
What is a Scrum Master?
A Scrum Master works with a Scrum team to guide teammates in creating large products in short cycles or iterations. This involves tackling tasks from a planned backlog, evaluating each completed step, and perfecting the work to achieve set goals.
Scrum Masters ensure that their Scrum teams adhere to Scrum principles to achieve the best results in product development.
Role and responsibilities of the Scrum Master
Scrum Masters work within the Scrum framework, using Agile methodologies to guide their teams towards specific goals. Below are the typical responsibilities of a Scrum Master.
- Keep a Scrum team on task and ensure team members produce high-quality work while following Scrum principles. Have a thorough understanding of Scrum principles and Agile methodology as it relates to product development.
- Guide Scrum teams as they work on sprint backlogs to achieve each sprint’s goals.
- Facilitate daily Scrum meetings to assess the team’s progress towards set goals and make adjustments as needed.
- Maintain communication with product development teams to address any challenges or issues head-on. Resolve any issues that might block the product development process.
Requirements to become a Scrum Master
To become a Certified Scrum Master, you must complete training to learn the principles of Scrum. Meeting the Scrum Master certification requirements demonstrates that you are knowledgeable and have proven abilities as a Scrum Master.
A few organizations offer Scrum Master certification programs. Although program requirements may differ, most require at least a two-day training course and a comprehensive exam. Some organizations offer the exam without a course, so if you choose this option, you must study on your own to prepare.
If you’re not sure you want to commit to a certification program, look for organizations that offer free online training options. In most cases, these are trial versions of a longer paid training program. You might not earn official certification through these abbreviated programs, but you can learn enough to help you determine if a career as a Scrum Master is right for you.
Since different organizations administer different certifications, Scrum Master certification costs vary depending on the program you choose. Fees for Scrum Master certification programs typically range from $150 to $1,995. Most of these programs include exam fees in the cost of their programs.
Benefits of working as a Scrum Master
Being a Scrum Master can be a rewarding career for you if you enjoy motivating and guiding teams through the product development process. A Scrum Master is a servant-leader role that has many benefits for those who become certified.
Excellent earning potential
The difference in income between a Scrum Team Member and a Certified Scrum Master can be substantial. If you transition from a career as a member of the Scrum team to that of a Certified Scrum Master, you should see an increase in your income.
Scrum Masters earn an average annual base salary of more than $95,000, according to a Scrum Alliance salary report. Scrum professionals who earn two certifications can earn over $103,000 per year on average.
Potential employers who see the Scrum Master certification on your resume can know that you have the knowledge and skills to work as a Scrum Master in any organization. This certification reflects your commitment to be a servant-leader for Scrum teams as you guide teams toward their goals using Scrum principles.
Increased career opportunities
Becoming a Certified Scrum Master makes you eligible for additional certifications. The courses and exams you complete to earn Scrum certification can help deepen your knowledge of Scrum and Agile principles.
Additional certifications can help you qualify for higher-level, higher-paying jobs working within the Scrum framework.
What is a project manager?
Successful project managers take on leadership roles, managing important logistical elements of a project. Essential project management skills include planning, organizing, scheduling, and ensuring a project is completed successfully and on time.
Project managers follow a project throughout its life cycle, from start to finish.
Role and responsibilities of the project manager
Project managers manage activities throughout the lifecycle of a project, including the initiation, planning, execution, and closeout phases. Their responsibilities include the following.
- Manage the initial elements of a project, such as defining its scope and making plans for others working on the project to follow.
- Determine the cost of a project and make sure it stays within the allocated budget. This may include the reallocation of resources in the event of unforeseen expenses.
- Manage human resources for a project, including interviewing and hiring team members and other personnel.
- Follow the progress of a project. This includes troubleshooting any issues, assessing risks, and managing any aspect that may affect the quality of the project.
- Communicate with stakeholders to keep everyone informed about the progress of a project.
Requirements to become a project manager
If you want to build a career as a project manager, you should plan to get certified. There are several types of project management certifications, from entry-level credentials to those designed for seasoned professionals, and the requirements for each vary.
Common certifications include Project Management Professional (PMP)® and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®.
PMP certification requirements involve at least a high school diploma, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree. CAPM certification requirements are similar. Depending on credentials, you may also need several years of project management training, as well as work experience in project management or a related field. You must also pass an exam to become certified.
Benefits of working as a project manager
More job opportunities
Earning a project manager certification qualifies you for high-paying, high-demand jobs. In fact, PMPs in the United States earn 32% more than their uncertified counterparts, according to a salary survey by the Project Management Institute (PMI).
Certification also demonstrates that you have the training, knowledge, and skills to effectively manage a variety of projects. Certification can qualify you for jobs you might not otherwise be able to get.
Improved skill set
Getting a project management certification isn’t easy, so this company speaks volumes about your abilities and skill level. Project management certification requires you to apply and master the principles, methodologies, and essential project management skills that can help you succeed as a project manager.
Greater earning potential
As a certified project manager, you can expect to earn more than project management specialists who do not have certification. Globally, PMPs earn median annual salaries 16% higher than their uncertified peers, according to the PMI Salary Survey.
What are the similarities between Scrum Master and Project Manager?
Scrum Masters and Project Managers both play an important role in project development. They are responsible for communicating with team members, developers, and other stakeholders. They must be able to assess situations and adapt when working with others to complete projects that match previously established goals.
What are the differences between Scrum Master and Project Manager?
Scrum Masters work within the Scrum framework by implementing the Scrum principles. They ensure that each segment of a project is executed correctly, and they make the necessary adaptations to achieve the objectives set.
Project managers focus more on the logistical elements of a project’s life cycle, including schedules, budgets, risk management, and resource allocation. These professionals can work with any type of project, not just within the Scrum framework.
Which role suits you best?
Since Scrum Masters and Project Managers fulfill such different roles, there are many factors to consider when determining whether you want to become a Scrum Master or a Project Manager.
If you like the idea of guiding teams through the individual increments of a project to achieve a successful outcome, then a Scrum Master position might be the best option for you. If you prefer to manage the logistical elements of a project in their entirety, from the planning and implementation stages through to completion, then working as a project manager may be a better fit for you.