Project Manager vs. ScrumMaster

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Last year, I wrote an article looking at some of the ways that PMs could evolve into the ScrumMaster role. I received a lot of feedback, and many of the comments had a common theme--that people were concerned with the assumption that a project manager could adapt to being a ScrumMaster. Their position was that they were distinctly different roles and you couldn’t expect to be successful by appointing a PM to the ScrumMaster role and moving onward.

Because there was so much feedback, I wanted to touch on this subject again--and this time perhaps focus a little more on whether a PM can be a ScrumMaster. Before I start, a couple of points to ensure that any natural bias that I have is clearly documented:

  • I’m writing this article for a PM community from the background of a project manager--I was managing projects when “scrum” was something that happened in the sport of rugby.
  • I am a very strong believer in the ability of people to adapt and become successful in a number of different roles. Within limits, I hate seeing people pigeon-holed as one particular thing. Given the opportunity and environment, I believe that people can be successful in a number of different roles provided that there is some degree of connection.

So with that done, let’s explore this a little more and hopefully generate some more discussion.

Is a …

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