Scrum Master Vs. Project Manager: What Are the Differences?

September 26, 2022

Someone new to Agile methodology may get confused between SM and PM; we will discuss the difference between them.


Being in the world of Agile development, you have often come across these terms: Project Managers and Scrum Master. For those of you, who have almost no idea about these, let us explain further to gain more clarity. Project managers can be Scrum Masters, and Scrum Masters can be Project managers, but both roles are different, with different responsibilities. 

A project manager is a term used to describe the person in charge of almost any kind of project, whereas a scrum master is a function entrenched exclusively on a scrum team. Though a project manager is primarily concerned with maintaining the team on track and encouraged, a scrum master is primarily concerned with guiding a team to follow scrum principles. This includes finances, deadlines, and project documentation.

Table of Content

What is Scrum and what does Scrum Master Do?

What Does a Project Manager Do?

Difference Between the SM and PM

Similarities between SM and PM


What is Scrum, and What Does Scrum Master Do?

It is a project management methodology in which ambiguity or unexpectedness is deemed acceptable. Scrum methodology consists of brief daily meetings called standups and short, sequential work periods called sprints. A sprint usually lasts one to four weeks and assists in maintaining an ongoing method of goal-achieving rather than an “all-at-once” strategy for the project. 

The Scrum Master’s primary duties include managing and implementing the Scrum framework into operation. The Scrum Master plays a strong and supportive role by facilitating team communication and collaboration so that the achieved value is optimal.

List showing responsibilities of Scrum Master

Detailed tasks could include:

  • Hosting meetings, such as sprint planning, daily standups, and sprint review
  • Resolving the difficulties preventing a team member from working effectively
  • Encouraging effective interaction and collaboration

What Does a Project Manager Do?

Professionals that coordinate a team to make sure projects are finished on schedule, within budget, and with their goals met are known as project managers. They are frequently entrusted with running meetings, making schedules, handling finances, coordinating with stakeholders and the team, and managing risks. Tasks for project managers may include

List showing responsibilities of Project Manager

Detailed tasks could include:

  • Project scope and goals definition.
  • Communicating consistently with stakeholders
  • Creating a timeline and budget
  • Planning a communication strategy
  • Controlling risk

Differences Between Scrum Master and Project Manager

Comparison FactorsScrum MasterProject Manager
Responsibility for coaching the teamResponsible for coaching the organization and the team. Both roles are crucial to the productivity and performance of the group.Responsible for coaching the organization and the team. Both roles are crucial to the productivity and performance of the group.
Resolving the hindrance in terms of project managementIf a project faces a blockage, Scrum Master coaches the team or organization to fix the problem.While Project Managers try to resolve the obstacles themselves.
GoalEnsures that the team members have received the necessary training to implement Agile methods. Additionally, SM trains the Scrum teams and discusses the project’s completion schedule. Agile and DevOps work together to accomplish a similar goal.Has established objectives such as on-time project completion, estimated budget, and scope of the project.
Team SizeRegardless of the budget, they prefer to operate in small teams. And particularly focused on the development and testing teams.Project Manager works with more people. He keeps everything in check, including designers, development, testing, and content team.
Creating DocumentationThere is no responsibility for the Scrum Master to create, manage, or update any documentation.Project managers are responsible for all documentation, including project briefs, budgets, risk logs, and project plans.
Project scope and requirementThere is no content, qualification, or product involvement for the Scrum Master. Project scope, resources, and requirements are not managed by the SM.The project manager is responsible for dividing the project scope between stakeholders and team members. The PM is responsible for requirements and resources.
Core ResponsibilitiesScrum Masters play a specific role. Among their responsibilities are making the organization more agile and assisting with understanding the Scrum framework.In contrast, a project manager has a wide range of responsibilities. It is essential that they can write business cases, coach, and motivate the team assiduously.
Skills and characteristicsExpert in Agile
The SM should be proficient in agile methodologies, frameworks, and practices.

Team Coaching
SMs should coach their teams and stakeholders to change their mindsets and behaviors. In addition, they are expected to advise and consult the team on agile governance and agile contracting.

To be servant-leader
SMs set an example for others to follow. By showing the appropriate examples, the SM leads the way to change.
Time management and negotiation skills
Project managers are responsible for delivering projects on time. To solve roadblocks and keep the project on track, a PM needs effective negotiation skills.

Risk Management
In order to be successful as a PM, you need to be able to identify, manage, and address risks.

Leading a team to successfully complete a project calls for motivation and mindfulness among the team members.

Similarities Between Scrum Master and Project Manager

  • Both the project manager and the scrum master are fallible human beings. They both fix the problems and learn from them. They can both communicate, take criticism, reduce risks, and foster strong team bonds.
  • The truth is that neither the project manager nor the scrum master possesses absolute dominance. The client and the stakeholders must be reported to by the project manager, and the product owner, stakeholders, and clients must be reported to by the scrum master.


The project manager and the scrum master have many traits, as we said previously. To make the work materialize, both the proper person and specific skill sets are required. You can therefore select an SM or a PM depending on how you estimated your project and thought about your options.

But if you go for the Scrum framework, designate an SM to assist you in maximizing output. Most likely, there are many moving elements in software or web development in this case. A good SM will ensure that timelines are maintained while maintaining cultural accountability.

A project manager is necessary to take on the crucial roles of the planner, organizer, and problem-solver.

ultroNeous Technologies helps develop a roadmap for successful development. Contact us, and we’ll come up with a unique management strategy and methodology.


Jinesh Shah



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