Scrum Master vs Project Manager: Which is the Ideal Approach in 2024?

No matter which industry you are a part of, it’s unlikely you haven’t heard of these two terms – Scrum Master and Project Manager. A superficial glance might lead you to believe that there isn’t a difference between the two. But, a closer look will tell you that’s not so. 

While a Scrum Master upholds Agile Methodologies, a Project Manager operates on traditional disciplined project management principles. There’s plenty more to the two scrum master vs project manager roles though which we will discuss in this article. We will also throw light on the various responsibilities of a Scrum Master and Project Manager. Finally, we will look at the differences and similarities between the two profiles. 

In the ever-changing business environment of today, organisations are constantly looking for effective project management techniques to boost efficiency and provide positive results. The Scrum Master and Project Manager are two prominent positions in this field. A Scrum Master and a Project Manager have quite different responsibilities, even though both roles are important to a project’s success. This review intends to examine the difference between scrum master and project manager C and offers suggestions for the best strategy in 2024.

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Scrum Master: Definition

Let’s start by understanding the Scrum methodology: there is a product owner, a scrum and a scrum master. 

The Product Owner assigns a task, and a scrum (a development team) breaks the job into smaller fragments known as sprints.

A sprint is a set of effective development procedures that involve reiterative testing and collaboration to reduce the lifestyle of a project. These are known as agile Scrum methodologies that lead to product completion in a short period of time. 

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A Scrum Master is a job role assigned to the team member who ensures these agile values and principles are being followed and that the team is working as per the practices and objectives they previously agreed on. The framework works towards agile adaptive product development through a facilitator (Scrum Master). In this manner, a Scrum Master is essentially the leader of his scrum team.

Must Read: Difference Between Agile Methodology and Scrum Methodology

What are the skills required for a Scrum Master?

There is no official skill assigned for Scrum Masters but the level of experience is taken into account. A Scrum Master is essentially someone who is an expert at Scrum practices and policies and can effectively coach others. 

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Who can assume the position of a Scrum Master is decided as follows. This differs from one team to another:

  1. As each sprint ends, team members assign a new scrum master (from administrative positions) on a rotational basis.
  2. A team member takes up scrum master responsibilities alongside existing responsibilities to work as a part time scrum master.
  3. One individual has the dedicated full-time responsibility of a scrum master for one team 
  4. One individual has the dedicated full-time responsibility of a scrum master for more than one team. 
  5. Termed as an Agile Coach, here we have an individual who works with different teams as scrum master on a need basis.

Roles and Responsibilities: What does a Scrum Master do? 

  • A Scrum defines a set of principles and practices to follow in the Agile Methodology. It is the responsibility of a Scrum Master to ensure they are being adhered to. 
  • He/she makes sure the principles are understood by the team and being followed diligently.
  • He/she puts in efforts and helps team members to maintain scrum principles and agile practices.
  • His/Her main goal is to
  • He works to maximize product value.
  • Scrum Master is responsible for sprint planning
  • He/she schedules regular meetings and conferences of the Scrum.
  • He/she roots out counter influences to ensure the smooth running of processes.
  • He/she works on Product Backlogs as priorities.
  • Scrum Master maintains a transparent relationship with the Product Owner and cooperates in defining items and backlogs for the next sprint. He/she reports to the Product Owner regularly.
  • He/she ensures the scrum is not prone to distractions
  • He/she makes effort to speed up the processes and constantly monitors sprint progress.
  • Scrum Master keeps the team motivated.

Project Manager: Definition 

The Project Manager is someone who is responsible for day-to-day management of a project. A Project Manager is present in a leadership role to see a project from planning to execution. He/she is responsible for defining the scope of a project, resources, budget, and ensures the project proceeds within these constraints. Read about project manager salary in India.

Roles and Responsibilities: What does a Project Manager do?

  • The Project Manager defines the scope of a project with the team members thus, laying the groundwork for the project activities
  • He/she defines the targets of the project and ensures they are being tracked. 
  • He/she is skilled at delegations and assigns responsibilities to the team members as per their skills and expertise. 
  • The PM designs the schedule of the project and the team members. He/she ensures that the schedule is being followed. 
  • He/she outlines the requirements of a project. 
  • The Project Manager takes care that the resource requirements of a project are communicated upfront while getting approval for it.
  • He/she is responsible for the budgeting of a project and puts practices in place to work according to it.
  • The Project Manager indulges in rigorous quality control 
  • He/she is expected to monitor work activities and minimize risks in a project.
  • He/she creates a culture of transparency and open communication among his team members.
  • The Project Manager is accountable to the client or stakeholder and reports to him/her regularly. 
  • He/she works on procuring feedback and implementing it.
  • He/she coordinates with other teams when necessary. 
  • He/she makes sure that a project is delivered in a manner that all project requirements are met from deadlines and budgets to effective utilisation of resources. 

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What are the differences between Project Manager and Scrum Master?

In Agile frameworks, especially Scrum, which prioritises iterative development and adaptable planning, a Scrum Master plays a crucial role. As a facilitator, the Scrum Master makes sure that the Scrum team follows the Scrum process and principles. They are primarily in charge of planning and leading Scrum ceremonies, getting rid of roadblocks, and encouraging teamwork. The team’s empowerment, facilitation of self-organization, and optimisation of the development process are the Scrum Master’s main concerns.

A project manager, on the other hand, is in charge of managing the full project lifecycle, from conception to conclusion. They are responsible for determining the project’s goals, allocating resources, controlling risks, and guaranteeing on-time delivery that is within the project’s parameters. The focus is on meticulous planning, documentation, and control in classic project management frameworks like Waterfall or PRINCE2, where project managers frequently operate. To accomplish the objectives of the project, they organise operations, track development, and consult with key stakeholders.

The table below highlights the policies, job descriptions, goals and team configurations of a Project Manager and Scrum Master to bring out the basic differences between the two:

Project Manager Scrum Master


The Project Manager operates on traditional disciplined project management principles to deliver results. A traditional model is also referred to as the Waterfall model.  Scrum Master is responsible for upholding Scrum policies and agile methodologies in project management.


A Project Manager is applicable to complex project deliveries involving large teams but less risk-oriented scenarios Scrum Master policies are applicable in complex development scenarios.


1. Constant risk assessment to to counter unprecedented challenges

2. Defining project scope before planning any project

3. Maintaining clarity on the expected deliveries 

1.  Approaching complex problems with agility 

2.  Focusing on delivering products of high quality and value

Job Roles

1. Defining project scope, plans, budget and resources required.

2. Coordinating with upper management to align with project scope and requirements.

3. Coordinating with miscellaneous departments if necessary.

4. Instruct and supervise a team to goal completion, or work themselves if necessary.

Counter challenges and stay on top of the Scrum processes.

Spreading Agile and Scrum awareness to ensure successful delivery.

Act as a mediator to Scrum ceremonies.

Utilise available tools to ensure smooth running of project 

Take care of the Backlogs as per the priorities communicated by the Product Owner.

Resolves conflicts within teams 

Keep the team motivated

Keep track of the Scrum processes for efficient execution


Project completion, working within the budget and scope are the designated goals of a Project Manager Ensuring team members qualified to implement Agile practices. Scrum Master trains the teams and directs them to finish the project in the given timeline

Quality Control

PM acknowledges the importance of quality but is not qualified to control it. There is a consultant or a designated quality assurance department to fix errors and ensure quality. Scrum Master takes responsibility for quality assurance and places huge importance on it.

Team Size

Project Managers are used to working with large teams. Project Manager usually works on a massive budget. He/she is also expected to coordinate with other teams, if needed. Scrum Master works with smaller teams despite the size of the project. This is to ensure faster delivery and product quality. 


On an average, a Project Manager’s salary is US $77,000 per year On average, a Scrum Master’s salary is $97,500 per year

What are the similarities between the Scrum Master and Project Manager?

While the Project Manager and Scrum Master are vastly different from each other, they share a few similarities:

Making Mistakes

For both the Project Manager and Scrum Master, there is room for error.  However, they also right the wrong and are expected to learn from their mistakes. The entire framework works on transparent communication, feedback, alleviating incoming risks, and creating a culture for better bonding opportunities in a team.

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A Project Manager is accountable to the client he is working with or his stakeholders. A Scrum Master has to report to the same figures of authority as well as the Product Owner. Neither can assume the position of final authority.


Both the Project Manager and the Scrum Master are bound to fail if they override the foundational principles. Not adhering to them becomes the cause of inconsistencies and instability within an organisation. If they ignore professionalism and are not skilled as per the standards of professionalism, they will fail. There is also the likelihood of failing when a team member’s opinions are not given due respect and attention.

Project Manager and Scrum Master: The Ideal Approach for 2024

There is a rising understanding of the benefits of Agile practises and the necessity for flexibility and adaptability in project management in the changing business environment of 2024. A hybrid strategy that combines the benefits of the Scrum Master and Project Manager positions has become more popular as organisations strive for agility.

The best strategy in 2024 makes use of both the Project Manager’s knowledge of conventional project management and the Scrum Master’s proficiency with Agile methodology. Organisations can gain from greater collaboration, effective resource allocation, and risk management by combining these two roles.

Agile principles are brought to the table by the Scrum Master, who encourages iterative development, continuous improvement, and customer-centricity. They make sure that the team stays concentrated and in line with the project’s goals while facilitating communication. The team is empowered to react fast to changing requirements and provide value iteratively thanks to the Scrum Master’s ability to remove obstacles and encourage self-organization.

To guarantee the project’s success overall, the project manager also utilises their expertise in strategic planning, risk management, and stakeholder involvement. They offer a well-organized framework for handling responsibilities, allocating funds, and monitoring development. A well-balanced project management strategy is achieved when the Scrum Master’s emphasis on flexibility and adaptation is combined with the Project Manager’s focus on planning and control.

The best project management strategy in 2024 will combine the benefits of both the Scrum Master and Project Manager roles. The Project Manager offers structure, planning, and risk management while the Scrum Master adds Agile principles and empowers the team. Organisations may successfully manage the difficulties of the current business landscape, promote teamwork, and produce positive results by using these tactics. By adopting this hybrid strategy, organisations will be able to take advantage of the best of both worlds and adjust to the changing demands of project management in 2024.

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Both Project Manager and Scrum Master have widely used approaches towards management today. There are organisations that also operate on a hybrid model based on the two. However, it’s up to you and your business needs when it comes to selecting one of the two approaches in your organisation. In any case, you would need a skilled professional to assume the role of the Project Manager or Scrum Master – whichever you decide to go with.

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What do you mean by project management?

Project management is the use of skills, information, processes, and activities to produce a defined end result, such as a new or updated product, a modified process, or a new service. It includes all of the duties connected with a variety of fundamental operations, including Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitoring, Controlling, and Closure. It comprises managing a series of activities and the people or organizations responsible for completing those tasks from a given project start date through a predetermined project completion date. There are several ways to manage a project depending on its nature, and a Project Management Methodology is the unique approach that will be used for each project.

What is the average salary of a Project manager in India?

From concept to materials procurement to final presentation, the project management manager manages the whole project process. A Project Management Manager's average income is ₹9,40,462. With less than a year of experience, an entry-level Project Management Manager may expect to earn an average total salary of ₹2,80,000. The average total income for an early career Project Management Manager with 1-4 years of experience is ₹4,80,811. The average total income for a mid-career Project Management Manager with 5-9 years of experience is ₹7,03,518. The average total income for a Project Management Manager with 10-19 years of experience is ₹14,03,001. Employees with 20 years or more experience receive an average total remuneration of ₹24,50,000 in their late careers.

What is the average salary of a Scrum master in India?

The primary role of a Scrum master is to ensure that the day-to-day operations of software development are carried out successfully and efficiently. A Scrum master's average income is ₹12,70,361. An entry-level Scrum master with less than one year of experience may expect to make ₹5,79,557 in total compensation. The average total remuneration for an early career Scrum master with 1-4 years of experience is ₹8,89,851. In their mid-career, a Scrum master makes a total average salary of ₹12,15,114. The average total remuneration for an experienced Scrum master with 10-19 years of experience is ₹15,46,918.

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