Traditional project management is evolving with Agile. Enterprises are rewriting the metrics of your effectiveness as a project manager, to succeed in the new age roles such as Scrum Master requires a complete mindset shift.

You need to give up your command and control mindset, and learn ways to motivate the team and let them grow organically. The effective scrum masters are skilled at communicating effectively, they collaborate well, resolves conflicts within the team quickly. They let the team grow organically.

This question often pops-up in an interview; the intent is not to understand the theory. The interviewer wants to understand your capability to perform the role as a Scrum master and ability to shed out the old skin.

We asked this question as part of our scrum interview challenge. Below is the compilation of few selected answers. We hope this helps you build a prospective around both the roles and prepares you to handle this question in your next interview.

Priyal Karekar

Cisco

Project Manager [PM] owns the goal of delivering a project. The team assists the PM in delivering the work products of the project. The PM is in charge of the project management processes right from planning to the execution stage. PM is the center of all the action and is a single point of contact for successful delivery of the project.

The project Managers have the “Project” Mindset. With this mindset, all the key decisions are taken by the PM. The mindset is all about how to deliver the project on time. The teams follows and executes them.

To successfully achieve the project goal, PM must be having project context and knowledge, delegate tasks, update plans, drive multiple status meetings, communicate with stakeholders and focus on process.

Unlike Project Manager, the Scrum Master[SM] is not accountable for delivery of the project. SM is grounded in servant leadership and facilitation, the SM roles do not map directly to any deliverables.

The SM owns the goal of making the team accountable for the project. The Team is at the center of all the action. Scrum master takes the back seat, guides the team by demonstrating the best practices of scrum ceremonies, mentors, grooms, coaches, and develops the team into self-organized, self-managed team. SM inculcates the agile mindset, scrum values, and promotes XP Practices into the team in a way that the team sustains delivering the customer value continuously with no compromise on quality.

Team follows “agile manifesto” values and does all the work done by the traditional project manager. Once the teams are fully coached and transformed into high performing self-organized teams, it’s like attaining Nirvana for the agile teams. The Scrum Master makes the team self-organized, shields the team from outside distractions and assists the team in unblocking any impediments, so that the team can achieve its desired goal.

Traditional Project ManagerScrum Master
Project Manager (PM) owns the goal of delivery of project.Scrum Master (SM) owns the goal of making the team accountable for the project.
PM does all the work right from Planning, prioritizing features, managing dependencies across teams, takes Risks, communicates etc.Team follows “agile manifesto” values and does all the work done by the traditional project manager.
PM is single point of contact for driving the delivery of the projectScrum Master guides the team towards delivery of project.
PM is the center of all the action and is a single point of contact for successful delivery of the projectThe Team is at the center of all the action. The Scrum master is out of the action and plays a role of facilitator and servant leadership.
Priyal

Summary:

Large projects with predictive planning can benefit with the Project Manager role who has in depth knowledge in that area. This helps to create integrated project plans, outline dependent features, manage scope, change request, budget, collaborate on resource requirements, overall monitoring and control of the project etc.

Scrum Masters will be a great benefit to coach the teams of organizations, those are inclined to deliver value incrementally in shortest sustainable lead time, with improved quality, with a culture that fosters collaboration and encourages innovation, and develop full stack and motivated knowledge workers.

Subhendu Chattopadhyay, Product Delivery Manager

Cognizant Technology Solutions

Traditional project manager tries to control the project by allocating tasks to team member, scrum master creates an environment that allows team members to pick their tasks. Scrum master guides the team to their success and work as a servant leader.
Subhendu

Scrum Challenge


Sandip Trivedi, Scrum Master

HCL Technologies

Traditional PM is the person who lead the team to manage and execute the project while SM is a servent leader and works as a facilitator who helps team to achieving the goals by removing blockers and guide them in scrum values and principles


Arjun, Scrum Master

A scrum master is a coach and a facilitator while a traditional project manager is the one who manages a project in terms of scope, timelines, resources, budget and amount of work. A PM’s focus is on Project while a Scrum Master’s focus is on Team and Team members. A SM’s looks after the team dynamics and helps in making a team self organizing which can take its own decisions. He also teaches a team to treat every one equal. He also teaches people to live by scrum values of Trust, Respect, Courage, Commitment and Openness. He should be a humble and have empathy. None of these attributes are must required in a PM and PM looks after the team and project. He has to get the work done and may take my way r the highway approach.


Naveen Vaddireddy, Scrum Master

Allstate solutions

Traditional project manager act on command and control scrum master act on influence and mentoring. Scrum master will inject one team nature in individuals that foster the respect, courage within scrum teams.


Harish Janjam, Senior Software Engineer

PayPal India Pvt. Ltd.

While Traditional Project Manager mostly take the role of a care taker of a project to ensure the timelines, Scrum Master teaches and coaches the team to be resourceful and help in their journey towards self-organisation. Scrum Master’s usually influence without authority and hence the team grows organically.


Ajay S, Sr Advisor, Product Management

Dell

Scrum Master is referred as a facilitator, who manages the teams that are implementing the Agile methodology. Scrum framework is the best framework for smaller teams of developers, who can break their work into a Sprint in order to get your project done at the end of every sprint. The Project Manager has to report to the client and the stakeholders, whereas the Scrum Master has to report to the Product Owner alongside the stakeholders and clients.You will find out that the Project Manager plays the leadership role by leading a planning for the execution of the project. Scrum Master plays a support role for the team members, by working closely with the team and assuring that they are following Agile principles properly.


Abhijit Madangeri, System Architect

Tecnotree Corporation

In simple words, Scrum Master empowers the team to take up responsibilities and individually commit themselves as a team and for the team, whereas, a traditional PM only focuses on completion of an assigned task.
Scrum Master’s priority is the TEAM, but a traditional PM’s priority, most of the time is assigned work. A good Scrum Master believes that, “A great team always delivers”.


Sai Krishna Akundi, Test Manager

Firstly, there is no role as such ” Project Manager” in Scrum. In general Project manager’s role is to manage the projects and ensure that the project meets the requirements.
Scrum Master is referred as a facilitator, who manages the teams that are implementing the Agile methodology. Scrum team decides on work items and break their work into a Sprint in order to get your project done at the end of every sprint.
Sai Krishna

Scrum Challenge


Shailesh Maheshwari, Expert Engineer

Allscripts

Scrum master is people servant who facilitates delivery practices by using scrum guidelines. Process and tools to be used are decided on the flay based on the nature of work initially. And ceremonies like retrospective, early feedback demos, stand ups are used to make teams self governing and happily accountable.


Pregiya Dhar, SA Program Managemnet

Publicis.Sapient

Scrum Master is a servant leader who helps running scrum across one or multiple scrum teams, surfacing and resolving impediments through moderation. Also although the SM is not responsible for task allocation or backlog creation, he/she ensures the team stands true to the goal, is scrum oriented and in turn self-organized.

The PM on the other hand is responsible for planning, task delegation , impediment resolution, conflict resolution, risk managemnet, reporting, Sprint/ Product Backlogs etc. He/She is primarily the task master for the team and responsible to meet the deliveriries at the end of each iteration, release or Sprint.


We have published all the 3 blogs of Level 1 :
  1. What technique do you follow for the retrospective meeting?
  2. What is the Difference between Traditional Project Manager and Scrum Master?
  3. How do you measure the story points? Provide examples.
Would you like to answer this question, send your answer on atul@izenbridge.com, your answer will get reviewed by Expert and if your answer qualifies that will be published in the same blog with your name.