Project Management

Understanding the PM's Role During and After a Transition to Scrum (Part 2)

Chris Merryman, MBA, PMP, is a Project Management practitioner with over 12 years of experience in the IT industry and has developed and worked on several complex software and hardware projects utilizing PMI's Project Management practices and Scrum methodology. Chris can be reached at

Part 1 of this article covered certain challenges a project manager is likely to face when a Scrum transition is first being evaluated, and a comparison between Waterfall and Scrum methodologies. An overview of the role of Developer/Development Team in a Scrum environment was also covered.

The ScrumMaster is a servant-leader for the Scrum team [6]. The ScrumMaster role closely resembles the project manager role in a weak matrix project structure. This role facilitates the communication between the Development Team, Product Owner and other groups and clears obstacles for the Development Team.

Like the traditional PM role, there is only one ScrumMaster per Scrum team--but they may serve in their role for more than one project team depending on the need. A key differentiation in the traditional project manager role is that as the project progress and the Scrum team becomes more self-sufficient, it is common for a ScrumMaster to be engaged less often--and their time allocated to other Scrum team(s). Several of the traditional project manager responsibilities map directly to the ScrumMaster role (regardless of weak vs. strong, functional vs. matrix environments):

  • Promoting and coaching Scrum team and organization on Scrum principles and practices
  • Clearing obstacles encountered by Scrum team
  • Preparing and reporting status to the Scrum team…

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