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Topics: Agile, Scrum
Agile Project Manager vs. Scrum Master.
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Cassandra Medley Formstack Indianapolis, In, USA
I've been looking for specific content that outlines the difference in tasks & responsibilities between these two roles. I am a CSM and my role is changing to an Agile Project Manager, and I just don't see the difference in my day to day activities. What am I missing?

I have my CAPM as well. If more traditional project management is what they feel is missing from the scrum master role, I don't know that the Agile PM position would fill that need, as it appears to be a scrum master position.
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Ana Magaly Reyes Hill FUNDEUIS Bucaramanga, Santander, Colombia
Hola estoy en e animo de montar una propuesta de la oficina PMO agil, algunos documentos que me sugieran para leer?
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1 reply by Sergio Luis Conte
Sep 17, 2023 6:25 AM
Sergio Luis Conte
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Hola Ana. He arrancado desde cero oficinas de proyectos desde hace mas de 20 años. Sé que no contesto tu pregunta. Y no lo hago porque no hay nada sólido que haya encontrado, todo es muy marketinero. Mi primera recomendacion es no ponerle sustantivos a la PMO. Una PMO contiene todos lo relativo a project/program/portfolio management independientemente del enfoque que quieras darle. La PMO debe ayudar a generar soluciones, donde solucion es igual a "la cosa" a generar (producto/servicio/resultado) mas "la forma" de crearla (proyecto). Para definir la forma hay que pensar en una piramide. En la base, el enfoque (ágil, lean, tradicional, etc). Arriba el ciclo de vida (cascada, iterativo, incremental, iterativo-incremental, etc). Arriba el método (SDLC, Scrum, DSDM, etc) y arriba la herramienta que soportará a todo lo demas. Con esto, teniendo claro los procesos/herramientas/skills podes componer, para cada proyecto, una forma diferente. Un poco DA apunta a eso. AGILE NO ES UTILIZAR UN METODO (perdon la mayuscula, es para enfatizar). Agile es un tema de arquitectura. No porque lo diga yo, asi se definió en 1990 buscando una alternativa a Lean. Es decir, es top-down. Luego o en paralalelo se gestó el enfoque bottom-up que lo hizo famoso pero enfocado (valga la redundancia) en crear productos de software. De ambos grupos fui parte, por eso lo puedo contar. Bueno, espero que este comentario te haya servido. Abrazo desde La Tierra del Fin del Mundo!
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Sergio Luis Conte Helping to create solutions for everyone| Worldwide based Organizations Buenos Aires, Argentina
Sep 16, 2023 11:38 AM
Replying to Ana Magaly Reyes Hill
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Hola estoy en e animo de montar una propuesta de la oficina PMO agil, algunos documentos que me sugieran para leer?
Hola Ana. He arrancado desde cero oficinas de proyectos desde hace mas de 20 años. Sé que no contesto tu pregunta. Y no lo hago porque no hay nada sólido que haya encontrado, todo es muy marketinero. Mi primera recomendacion es no ponerle sustantivos a la PMO. Una PMO contiene todos lo relativo a project/program/portfolio management independientemente del enfoque que quieras darle. La PMO debe ayudar a generar soluciones, donde solucion es igual a "la cosa" a generar (producto/servicio/resultado) mas "la forma" de crearla (proyecto). Para definir la forma hay que pensar en una piramide. En la base, el enfoque (ágil, lean, tradicional, etc). Arriba el ciclo de vida (cascada, iterativo, incremental, iterativo-incremental, etc). Arriba el método (SDLC, Scrum, DSDM, etc) y arriba la herramienta que soportará a todo lo demas. Con esto, teniendo claro los procesos/herramientas/skills podes componer, para cada proyecto, una forma diferente. Un poco DA apunta a eso. AGILE NO ES UTILIZAR UN METODO (perdon la mayuscula, es para enfatizar). Agile es un tema de arquitectura. No porque lo diga yo, asi se definió en 1990 buscando una alternativa a Lean. Es decir, es top-down. Luego o en paralalelo se gestó el enfoque bottom-up que lo hizo famoso pero enfocado (valga la redundancia) en crear productos de software. De ambos grupos fui parte, por eso lo puedo contar. Bueno, espero que este comentario te haya servido. Abrazo desde La Tierra del Fin del Mundo!
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Kwiyuh Michael Wepngong Senior Accountant| Africa Eye Foundation; Magrabi ICO Cameroon Eye Institute Yaounde, Centre, Cameroon
I've gained interesting views reviewing the responses
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Johnny Franco Arboine Sr TPM, CSM, ACP, PMP, SAFe Agile 6.0, SAFe Agile 6.0 POPM, SAFe Agile 6.0 SASM| CCI Systems Pinecrest, Nc, USA
Given the Agile Training out there, I would say that there are different flavors of Agile Scrum Master or Agile Coach. There is Standard Agile, PMI/ACP (Agile), SAFe Agile, and many others. Each Agile Certified Scrum Master (CSM) methodology taught is slightly different. I prefer SAFe Agile 6.0 which is the most balanced and well rounded of them all.
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Nicole Petite Project Manager/Scrum Master Al, USA
Aug 24, 2022 6:37 PM
Replying to Keith Novak
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There is no one set of terminology. What is a Scrum Master in Scrum, is a Team Lead in DA, a Coach in XP, and an Agile Coach in Spotify.

What I might think of as an "Agile Project Manager" is a broader position than a Scrum Master. You can have multiple lower level teams working in a scrum fashion to execute parts of a larger product, coordinated by a PM. The PM could be more like a Senior Scrum Master, but the SM role itself can be much more limited in scope.

Since any company can define new job titles any way they want, focus on the responsibility, not the title. I became a "senior engineer" after 1 year in my first job. Sounded good. Didn't mean more than Level 2.

If you get to define your own job description and priorities in your performance reviews, I would advise defining your position in a way that you feels describes it best. Then your functional manager is signing onto the fact that is your formal job description.
Disregard, was attempting to respond to Cassandra. 
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Nicole Petite Project Manager/Scrum Master Al, USA
Aug 24, 2022 6:46 PM
Replying to Cassandra Medley
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Thank you Keith! In referring to the job titles I was in essence referring to the responsibilities those titles “contain” I guess. As I’m not seeing very many traditional “project managmernt” tasks in those role description, and I’m fairly certain that is what they are wanting/missing. In the job description I was given for this new role, it was missing PM work and seemed like just changing the name of the job instead of addresses the issue. Which is what has left me confused. But thank you for the advice. I like that. I’ll try writing my own and see what i come up with.
Hello Cassandra. I too am an Agile CSM and an Agile Project Manager and these two roles differ slightly based on the needs of each team or project. For instance, my scrum team has acclimated to being agile on their own which is what our main task is as a CSM. So the only thing I do for this team is facilitate their meetings. I have taught them to communicate with each other. So my CSM position is mostly hands off, to facilitate. Nothing more.

For my Agile PM position, I am involved and make many more decisions from the planning of the project, requirements, team, WBS, cost, stakeholders, etc. Agile works the same way in both positions, especially in software projects (I am engaged in several). CSM, hands off. PM, fully involved with all decision making. I hope this helps!
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Markus Kopko, PMP Principal Project Management Consultant| Karer Consulting AG Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

Dear Cassandra,


Transitioning from a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) to an Agile Project Manager can be an interesting shift, and it's great that you're looking to understand the nuances between these two roles. While there are overlaps, especially in an Agile environment, there are also distinct differences in terms of responsibilities and focus areas.

As a CSM, your role primarily revolves around facilitating Scrum practices, ensuring the team adheres to Agile values and principles, removing impediments, and helping the team to self-organize and collaborate effectively. The Scrum Master is more of a servant-leader and coach for the Scrum team.

Moving to an Agile Project Manager role, while it encompasses many of these facilitation and leadership qualities, often involves a broader scope:

Project Oversight: As an Agile Project Manager, you might find yourself more involved in the end-to-end management of the project. This includes project planning, monitoring progress, managing budgets, and ensuring project deliverables align with business objectives.

Stakeholder Management: Agile Project Managers often play a more significant role in liaising with stakeholders outside the Scrum team. This involves communicating project progress, managing expectations, and negotiating resources.

Strategic Alignment: Agile Project Managers need to ensure that the project aligns with the broader strategic goals of the organization. This means a closer collaboration with upper management and possibly other teams to align project goals with organizational objectives.

Broader Methodology Application: While a Scrum Master focuses on Scrum practices, as an Agile Project Manager, you might need to be versed in and apply a range of Agile methodologies like Kanban, Lean, or SAFe, depending on the project's requirements.

Risk Management: Another key area is risk management. Agile Project Managers often take on a more proactive role in identifying, analyzing, and mitigating project risks.

If your current day-to-day as a CSM already involves some of these aspects, the transition to an Agile Project Manager might not feel dramatically different. However, you may find that the expectations in terms of strategic oversight, stakeholder management, and broader project accountability are heightened in this new role.

Given your CAPM certification, you already have a grounding in traditional project management principles, which can be a valuable asset in your new role, even within an Agile context.

The key might be to discuss with your organization what specific gaps or needs they are looking to address with the Agile Project Manager role. Understanding their expectations can help clarify how this role differs from your current responsibilities as a CSM and how you can align your skills and experience to meet these new challenges.

What aspects of traditional project management do they feel are missing in the Scrum Master role? And how do they envision the Agile PM role addressing these gaps? Getting clarity on these points might help you see the distinction more clearly and prepare for the transition effectively.


BR,


markus

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pamela bidear Field Cordinator| Ayo-West African Foods Md, USA
Aug 25, 2022 9:09 AM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
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Cassandra -

The responsibilities of these titles vary widely from company to company and it has a lot to do with where they are on their journey to becoming more agile.

I'd use this as an opportunity to sit down with key stakeholders to get their assumptions on the table so that you can avoid expectation gaps.

Kiron
I strongly support your thoughts because the bigger picture is to become agile practically which is to be flexible with changes.
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Guillermo De la torre Digital Transformation Manager| Grupo Delta Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico
Regarding the role that is required to apply to a different program (and in every one of the projects)

I, as a Project & transformation manager, I always start setting meetings with the top management, sponsors, and key personnel to understand the velocity that they require to have the results of the implementation. Specifically, I have felt that the level of velocity and the time required to receive the benefits after the implementation has been increased. In the past, I remember when I was presenting different parts of the implementation plan; the benefits expected, the duration, the cost, and Quality were in specific the main concerns of the participants, but the velocity was not one of the main concerns or rarely was mentioned as a key element to consider inside of the project.

But more recently, in years of pre-pandemic times; the project's initial meetings and plan reviews (and I imagined were associated with the increment of the market complexity), the points and comments, regarding the activities, were more related to the “acceleration” of the execution, not only considering the project, but the velocity of the execution of every activity. “velocity” was always the comment or main concern, that those type of people mentioned during the meeting. They always expect to be very clear in how I will make a rapid implementation, with maximum velocity even if a project can’t be executed with an agile methodology.

Currently, as a Project manager and scrum masters, we need to find the best way to mix these two methodologies, to find the best way to obtain a rapid result. The program has increased the complexity due to some of the projects requires to assume the leadership of the projects in a cascade type of project, some others, work applying scrum guiding part of the software construction team, some others working with the project teams and functional teams to set the MVPs developments; and some others projects, making role changing between cascade and agile to try to dimmish the execution complexity and avoiding the team collapse due to the increase of complexity during the execution of both methodologies at the same time.

In the end, I do not consider a different role but a new big role “with nitrogen” because I need to apply a mix of methodologies at the same time but, understand in which one I need to guide the project teams and when I need to direct my project team.
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