While there may be some debate as to their discreteness, the scrum master and agile project manager do take on different positions within business teams. How do the two compare, and is it possible to act in both roles simultaneously?

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What is a scrum master?

The role of the scrum master is pivotal to ensuring the self-organising team is motivated, free from obstructions to progress, coherent in achieving consensus, and that the rules of the scrum within the group are followed. However, he or she doesn’t take responsibility for the outcomes of the group; while they are responsible for facilitating the scrum process, it is the group as a whole that takes responsibly for the outcomes of agile projects.

This role necessitates the need for mentoring skills, effectively helping the team to help themselves. The scrum master should be knowledgeable in the scrum process and in meeting organisation, while being adept at persuasion and effective in providing feedback.

Personal and professional skills can be developed and honed through experience or with the help of training, such as with scrum master training in Dublin at https://www.althris.com/courses/scrum-master/.

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What is the role of the agile project manager?

It is the project manager that shoulders responsibility for the project itself. The manager identifies, implements and monitors the cost, risk and time implications of the project, as well as overseeing the quality and being accountable for steering the direction of the project and its outcomes.

This is an important role with high responsibility that requires business acumen alongside people skills, the ability to adapt, and management finesse. In tandem with businesses applying agile project management methodologies, the Project Management Institute has predicted that there will be a growing demand for project managers over the next decade.

The overlap between the roles

Within the scrum framework, the master and the agile project manager think differently and perform different roles. Both roles necessitate the need for planning, but the project manager will use a performance index while the scrum master will use burn rates and velocity.

The scrum master can support and feed back to the project manager. However, the scrum master’s allegiance and responsibility lies with the team, whereas the project manager is accountable both to the organisation and for the team.