Agile methodology has taken over traditional approaches to managing projects. Over the years, it has become a convenient path to move towards progress in an organization. Scrum is one of the most renowned Agile methodologies. The varied job roles in Agile Scrum Development and thorough understanding of its responsibilities remove hurdles you might encounter during the project process and keep it on track. Scrum Master and Product Owner are two different roles in Scrum development methodology and their roles are often confused with one another. in this post on “Scrum Master vs Product Owner, I will explain the differences & similarities between the two. These two roles are a vital part of most of the projects. As a result, there is a rising demand for Scrum Master and Product Owner.

Let us delve deeper into Scrum Master vs Product Owner responsibilities and what their role entails:

Scrum Master- A Brief Introduction

In this section, we shall explore more about Scrum Master.

First, let’s understand what is Scrum?

Scrum is a well-known agile project management framework used to develop and manage iterative and incremental projects. The process involves breaking a complex task into smaller stages, reviewing, and adapting the changes throughout the process. It is a widely used approach globally.

So, now we need to know where does the scrum master fits here.

According to Scrum Guide, a Scrum Master is a facilitator for the team and the product owner. Rather than manage the team, the scrum master works to assist both the scrum team and the product owner.”

A Scrum Master possesses in-depth knowledge of Scrum methodologies and acts as a coach for the team and ensures that the entire team is aware of Scrum theory and principles. They focus on project success by assisting the product owner and development team and ensuring that the team members follow all the agile practices correctly.

 Skills of a Scrum Master

             

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Knowledgeable

The Scrum Master should be knowledgeable enough to address the technical issues. Having domain working knowledge is sufficient; he/she need not have to be an expert in the domain.

Encourages collaboration

Scrum Master should possess suitable collaboration skills to work with cross-functional teams. They encourage collaboration through stand-up meetings, demo-sessions, the release of the planning session, and iteration planning.

Transparent communication

Scrum Master should possess transparent communication skills without any hidden agendas. Having good communication skills helps to discuss the team’s plans and deliver proper messages to teams and stakeholders.

Patience

Scrum Master should possess ample patience and allow the team members to arrive at appropriate solutions timely. They must step in to resolve the issue only when the team is unable to handle the issue without any support.

Influential

Scrum Master leads cross-functional teams to achieve desired milestones and deliverables. Being a team leader, they must try to link the gap between the project and take necessary actions required to complete it.

Growth Mindset and agility

When implementing new ideas at the organizational level, setbacks and failures are quite common. The scrum master must educate the team to accept the setbacks and keep learning from them.

Unlike agility, persistence is yet another skill for the scrum master. Its duty to ensure that all the team members attend the meeting. Maintaining regular persistence help the team to accomplish its goals.

Coaching capabilities

An efficient scrum master should be capable of explaining WHY and HOW everyone in the team should be involved. Only a great scrum coach knows the strengths and weaknesses of the team. They assist the team members through self-organizing teams, project tracking, creating project vision, and executing simple methodologies.

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Scrum Master –Roles and Responsibilities

Roles

The scrum master role facilitates services to the following people within the organization:

Product owner
  • Organize scrum events upon requirement.
  • Formulate techniques for effective product backlog management.
  • Thoroughly understand and practice agility.
Development team
  • To eradicate impediments hindering the team’s progress.
  • Facilitate scrum events upon requirement.
  • Help the development team to create high-value products.
  • Teach the development team in the organizations where Scrum is not fully implemented.

Responsibilities

A Scrum Master take up various responsibilities and acts as:

 

Coach

A Scrum Master is a coach for the product owner and the development team. He is responsible for ensuring that the team imbibes and follows Agile practices, values, principles, and Scrum framework.  They take all the measures to ensure to make the team step to the next level with improved performance.

Servant leader

It’s a well-known fact that a Scrum Master is the Leader of the team. Often, they are also known as “Servant Leaders.” His main objective is to improve teamwork and their involvement in work. Being a servant leader is just about giving orders to the team and getting the job done; it all about serves as a helping hand to the team and collaborates with the developers and gets the work done efficiently.

Efficient communication

Having excellent verbal and written communication skills is essential to ensure proper communication between the development team, the stakeholders, and products delivered efficiently, adhering to deadlines. It’s the whole and sole responsibility of the Scrum Master to ensure proper communication between the team with the organization. It develops transparency and builds trust across the enterprise.  Having a clear communication flow reduces the interruption to the workflow.

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Removes Impediments

The scrum master’s main target is to keep the team members on progress track and determine the impediments hindering their work quality. Work distractions can be like work environment, unnecessary meetings, and procedural complexity.

Facilitator

Scrum Master acts as a facilitator for the team to provide better vision and improve the team’s working efficiency.

Product Owner: A Brief Introduction

According to Scrum Guide- A Scrum Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work of the Development Team. How this is done may vary widely across organisations, Scrum Teams, and individuals.”

A Product Owner is an essential part of the Scrum team. They are responsible for managing product backlog and prioritize the requirement list for the development team. The product owner represents the customers to the development team to explain the features to be included in the upcoming product release.

Responsibilities of a product owner

Let’s a look at some of the major responsibilities of a product owner:

Scrum Master vs Product Owner- Product Owner responsibilities-Invensis Learning

Defining product visualization

It’s the product owner’s responsibility to communicate and collaborate with the stakeholders to understand their requirements thoroughly. So, it’s inevitable for them to translate their vision to the team and talk back to the stakeholders regarding the same and provide them an in-depth understanding of the project outcome. Every individual in the group should stay in the same phase for the effective accomplishment of the project.

Handling product backlog

The product owner’s primary concern is to manage the product backlog and prioritize them based on the business objectives. The product backlog list isn’t static; instead, it’s dynamic.  It is a live document based on evolving project requirements.

Since the product backlog change recurrently, it is the product owner’s responsibility to create a list that is accessible to the stakeholders, including developers, to ensure improved performance.

Requirement prioritization

Prioritizing your requirements/product backlog is essential to deliver the maximum outcome and achieve goals and mission.  The scope of the project, timeline, and budget should be prioritized according to the requirements.  There are assorted tools available to assist the product owners in accomplishing the task.  The product owner backlog must be prioritized to the sprint planning method.

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Supervising the development stages

With the product priorities, strategy, and vision set in place, the product owner has to spend a significant amount of time supervising product development. They are the key players through every phase of the event. It includes planning till the sprint.

During the planning phase, the product owner works with stakeholders to come up with the steps required for the next iteration.  They also work with the team to identify the process, areas for improvement, and sprint process.

Understanding the client requirements

An accomplished product owner will thoroughly understand the client’s requirement to manage the development process more effectively. The product owner must be capable of understanding market competition and the pain points of the user as well.  Considering the above aspects, the product owner can quickly determine what all the essential features to be implemented with related to time and priority are.

Skills of a product owner

Scrum Master vs product owner- product owner skills- Invensis Learning

Domain proficiency

Having profound knowledge about the market and the product you are dealing with is the primary reason why your organization employs you. Knowing your customers and the way they are utilizing your product is the reason behind hiring you as a product owner.

Improve product value

The main focus of the product owner is to focus on what to deliver next.  An idea regarding what should be focused on an upcoming differentiated product makes you shine as an amazing product owner in your team and stakeholders’ eyes.

Customer to product translator

The job role of the product owner lies between what the stakeholder wants and delivering the product features. Their role is to translate every minute detail of the customer to developers. By doing so, the product owner can make out the difference between the better and best product.

Communication skills

We all work in a team when it comes to product development. Being a product owner, you need to listen to each technical aspect and ensure all the phases go well before the product is being released into the market. Learn all the required communication and influencing skills to make your upcoming product a great one.

Evaluate the progress of the product

The product owner is responsible for the entire development process from the beginning to the final product. They ensure that the development process takes place on a priority basis.

Scrum Master vs Product Owner- Comparison table

Let’s take a look at the top features for comparison between Scrum Master vs Product Owner:

ParametersProduct OwnerScrum Master
Work natureThe work nature of a product is quite burdensome. They have to motivate the team as wellScrum master is more like a team coach and responsible for maintaining the product quality. Their work nature is a little easier than a product owner
QualitiesQualities like communication skills, leadership skills, and sharp mind as essential for a product owner as they are accountable for handling the entire team activitiesHaving good knowledge about scrum theory, practices, principles, and leadership skills are essential for a scrum master as they are responsible for maintaining the product
ResponsibilitiesIt’s the responsibility of the product owner to complete project on-timeScrum Masters ensures a quality product and ensures scrum methodology is incorporated at every step
AccountabilityProduct Owner is responsible for project completion and providing timely update to clientsThe entire quality of the project comes under the scrum master and responsible for giving updates to higher officials about project completion
ReportWhen a project is under process, it’s the responsibility of the product owner to give timely updates to clients and the upper managementA scrum master directly reports to upper management with a report comprising efficiency of the team and quality management

The Takeaway- Scrum Master vs Product Owner

Now we have a clear distinction between Scrum Master vs Product Owner roles and responsibilities.

Scrum Master vs Product Owner has overlying skills and roles and responsibilities. Both the roles possess their own project experience and satisfy client requirements and boost the organization’s reputation.

Hopefully, Scrum Master vs Product Owner blog will help you to make the right decision on whether to become a Product Owner or a Scrum Master

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