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Topics: Agile, Scrum
Role of PM in Scrum Projects
What has been your experience on agile projects that have a project manager and scrum master as separate people. Scrum doesn't define the role of a PM. What responsibilities are typically shared and what remain separate?
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John -

Remember that Scrum is a product (not project) management framework, hence the lack of a defined PM role.

On very small projects, an SM might take on some of the other knowledge areas which a PM would tackle but on any moderately sized or complexity project, a PM would be responsible for almost all knowledge areas except for those related to direct team member interactions. This is especially true when you have a team of teams where the PM would act as the "conductor" of the overall initiative.

Take a look at Disciplined Agile's Program lifecycle as it provides insights into how the two roles might happily co-exist.

Kiron
I have similar question as John. Our company does not recognise PM has a role in an agile project. They think SM can do what a PM can do. So most of the SMs are coming from a BA background. Really, is BA a better choice to be a SCRUM Master than a PM?
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3 replies by David Portas, Ganesh Kumar, and Sergio Luis Conte
Sep 03, 2021 3:50 AM
David Portas
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Scrum Masters are often experienced developers, BAs or others who have worked as part of a development team. They may have a dual role as both a developer and SM on a Scrum team because SM for a single team is unlikely to be a full time role.

The other kind of SM is a Scrum specialist / agile coach who isn't a developer and doesn't necessarily have a lot of technical knowledge but acts as a SM, advisor and support for multiple teams. A former project manager may be a good fit for that kind of role if they have the necessary experience but SM is very different to a PM role. The product owner, not the SM or PM, manages scope and priorities and is accountable to stakeholders for the success of the work. If a former PM does take on a SM role then they ought to make it clear to the team that they are not acting as PM.
Sep 03, 2021 6:47 AM
Sergio Luis Conte
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In this case, with all my due respect, I do not agree with @Kiron. No matter that, PM is not a role in Scrum based projects. What I see along the years, including it in my actual work place, is PMs assume the Scrum Master role in Scrum Master projects.
Sep 05, 2021 2:31 PM
Ganesh Kumar
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Hello Ying,

Some projects that I have come across, prefer BA to work as a SM, reason could be, since BA's gather requirements,
bridge the gap between business and IT.

My better half is a BA and has recommended this link:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/can-busines...-musab-barakati
Scrum emphasises product delivery rather than project management, although Scrum works just as well as a framework for projects. The Product Owner determines what gets done and when, and acts as a spokesperson and liaison for other stakeholders. A PO is typically someone with operational or strategic ownership of the product or a senior person among the key users of the product.

Many Scrum teams do work well without a PM. In my experience in software and data projects a PM does sometimes take on a communications and support role and assists the PO in stakeholder engagement and management reporting. On larger pieces of work with multiple Scrum teams the PO often has a bigger role to play in programme management and co-ordination between teams.
Sep 02, 2021 11:24 PM
Replying to Ying Ying Peggy Tsui
...
I have similar question as John. Our company does not recognise PM has a role in an agile project. They think SM can do what a PM can do. So most of the SMs are coming from a BA background. Really, is BA a better choice to be a SCRUM Master than a PM?
Scrum Masters are often experienced developers, BAs or others who have worked as part of a development team. They may have a dual role as both a developer and SM on a Scrum team because SM for a single team is unlikely to be a full time role.

The other kind of SM is a Scrum specialist / agile coach who isn't a developer and doesn't necessarily have a lot of technical knowledge but acts as a SM, advisor and support for multiple teams. A former project manager may be a good fit for that kind of role if they have the necessary experience but SM is very different to a PM role. The product owner, not the SM or PM, manages scope and priorities and is accountable to stakeholders for the success of the work. If a former PM does take on a SM role then they ought to make it clear to the team that they are not acting as PM.
Sep 02, 2021 11:24 PM
Replying to Ying Ying Peggy Tsui
...
I have similar question as John. Our company does not recognise PM has a role in an agile project. They think SM can do what a PM can do. So most of the SMs are coming from a BA background. Really, is BA a better choice to be a SCRUM Master than a PM?
In this case, with all my due respect, I do not agree with @Kiron. No matter that, PM is not a role in Scrum based projects. What I see along the years, including it in my actual work place, is PMs assume the Scrum Master role in Scrum Master projects.
In the scrum environment, the defined profiles are the Scrum Master, the Product Owner, and the Development Team. However, the role of the Project Manager is still fundamental in organizations, since it communicates with Scrum teams, either because the implementation of Scrum is beginning or because the transition to the agile world has not yet been achieved.
Most organizations still feel the need to have someone who connects the Agile-Scrum areas with the rest of the organization that is using Cascade or Hybrid Project Control, and this is the moment where the Project/Program/Portfolio Manager performs his role.
Hello John

Attempting your question on, what responsibilities are shared by PM & SM.

Though PM & SM roles are clearly defined and there are several reference available.

They can collaborate on the work to ensure project goals are achieved. Both PM & SM in their own stream or functioning have Training, resolving conflicts, managing risk, quality assurance, monitoring progress, communicating with stakeholders, removing impediments which can be shared.

However, in case there is a separate PM and SM are part of the same project, which is quite unlikely considering the cost if the size of the project is small.


Do refer to :
https://www.projectmanagement.com/discussi...t-in-a-project-


As regards roles being separate, you can refer to several posts
like for the PM - accountable for project delivery, managing finances, project budgets, reporting to business leaders, goal is delivery, etc.
SM - guides PO, facilitating daily meetings, sprints, binds the team together, removes blockers.
Sep 02, 2021 11:24 PM
Replying to Ying Ying Peggy Tsui
...
I have similar question as John. Our company does not recognise PM has a role in an agile project. They think SM can do what a PM can do. So most of the SMs are coming from a BA background. Really, is BA a better choice to be a SCRUM Master than a PM?
Hello Ying,

Some projects that I have come across, prefer BA to work as a SM, reason could be, since BA's gather requirements,
bridge the gap between business and IT.

My better half is a BA and has recommended this link:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/can-busines...-musab-barakati

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