Scrum Master vs Product Owner

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Software Development

Agile methodology provides an easy and convenient way to work. Scrum is one of the most famous agile methodologies. The methodology consists of 4 main roles: Scrum Master, Product Owner, Stakeholder, and Scrum Team. Each side has its share of responsibility. This is all regarding commitment.

Scrum Master and Product Owner are two essential roles in Scrum software developing methodology. Because they both work in different areas of the project, they are irreplaceable for the project. The Scrum Master is the mediator between the Product Owner (PO) and the development team.

Let’s see how the Scrum Master differs from the Product Owner.

Difference Between Product Owner and Scrum Master

Although the Product Owner and Scrum Master differ in their positions, both complement each other. The Scrum Master must support the Product Owner at every stage. There must be a friendly relationship between the Product Owner and the Scrum Master. Disputes can arise between them if the roles are not clarified. Let’s take a look at the role differences between Product Owner and Scrum Master.

After the Certified Scrum Course, Scrum Master focuses on the success of the project by helping the product owner. The team uses the right process to achieve a successful goal and establish agile principles.

Scrum Master (SM) Skills

Removing obstacles and keeping the team on track

The Scrum Master helps the team strictly adhere to the Scrum practices and helps them achieve their goals. The Scrum Master detects distractions that prevent a team from delivering a quality product. Distractions include unwanted appointments, the complexity of the procedure, work environment, Etc.

Encourage collaboration

The Scrum Master is aware of the day-to-day activities of the team members. Besides, SM shares its experience with team members at meetings, conferences and seminars. The Scrum Master encourages collaboration through meetings, launch planning sessions, iteration planning, and demo sessions.

Good ability to listen and communicate

The Scrum Master must have good communication skills to discuss ideas and plan with the team. Good communication helps you get your message across to customers, teams, and target audiences. Also, listening to team members will help them share their ideas with the Scrum Master. Hence, the Scrum Master must also be a good listener.

Consults the team as a coach

A successful Scrum Master recognizes the value of team collaboration. He/she advises team members as a coach on the implementation of Scrum practices.

Flexibility to accept changes

The Scrum Master must be flexible in accepting any changes. When implementing an Agile methodology, team members can face challenges. Then the Scrum Master can help the team members embrace the change. Scrum Master facilitates daily Scrum meetings for team members to discuss issues hindering project completion.

Contacting the product owner

Scrum consists of three roles: Product Owner, Scrum Team, and Scrum Master. The Scrum Master acts as an intermediary between the development team and the product owner. The two roles, Product Owner and Scrum Master are valuable to the team as they create the perfect relationship with the team and thus deliver the best results.

Servant Leadership Quality

Scrum Master provides collaboration. The Scrum Master is also known as the servant leader. He/she guides team members on following a Scrum approach to motivate team members to achieve the best results.

Responsibilities of a Scrum Master

  • The Scrum Master helps the team improve their vision and always tries to improve the teams’ effectiveness.
  • The Scrum Master guides Scrum processes by fitting with the team using the Agile methodology.
  • The Scrum Master removes obstacles for the Scrum Team.
  • The Scrum Master organizes quick daily meetings to secure immediate validation and proper use of onboarding processes.
  • The Scrum Master helps the Product Owner build a product portfolio and prepare it for the next sprint.
  • Retrospective meetings.
  • The Scrum Master organizes moreover facilitates sprint planning.
  • More importantly, the Scrum Master removes obstacles that hinder project success.
  • The Scrum Master holds the team aside from distractions.
  • The product owner’s responsibility is to concentrate on the product’s success, create the product that works best for users and customers, and create a product that meets the business requirements. The product owner can interact with users and customers, stakeholders, the Development team and Scrum Master.

Product Owner (PO) Skills

  • The product owner must understand the value of the product to the business and the customers’ needs.
  • The Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) certification will be beneficial to the sales team.
  • The development team consults with the product owner, so they should always be available to implement the features successfully.
  • The product owner must understand the program from the end-user perspective.
  • In most organizations, marketing is discussed at the sales level. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the product owner to guide marketers to achieve their goals successfully.
  • The Product Owner is responsible for the product and how the business develops.
  • The product owner must also focus on proper production and return on investment.
  • The product owner must solve problems by completing compensation analysis and making decisions about business results.
  • After the Certified Scrum Product Owner course, the product owner can work with project managers and technical leaders to prioritize product development.
  • Sometimes the product owner and the customers are the same. Sometimes the customers are thousands or millions of people.

Here are some other skills:

Communication skills

Communication is a key success factor for any team member. The team must be open to working together to achieve the overall goal of the project. All team members must communicate effectively. The Product Owner must have good communication skills because the product owner has to work with customers to understand their needs and communicate them to the development team to bring them to life. Lack of effective communication can affect the value of the organization.

Obligations

The product owner must be committed to the project goal, product vision, team, and business. They must be present at all meetings and work with all team members. Therefore, it is very important that you cooperate with everyone. Besides, the Product Owner must be responsible for the process and committed to the project’s success.

Vision

The product owner must communicate the product vision between the order book items and a large project’s goals. They check if the product vision aligns with the vision and needs of the company.

I wonder what works

In this sense, a “bad product owner” is often an excuse for a bad product. I guide for product management and team ownership. My most critical case is a product owner explaining to the team exactly what to build, and the team is not responsible for the result. 

This is what The Product Owner (PO) should always be curious to ask the customer “Why” (about her requirements) and “How” (for the development team). But before asking questions of the team, they need to understand the rules and create a clear vision of the end product.

Product owner responsibilities

  • The Product Owner must attend daily sprint planning meetings.
  • Product features are prioritized by the product owner so that the development team can clearly understand them.
  • The product owner determines the timing of the project.
  • The product owner determines the release date and content.
  • The product owner manages and creates the product backlog, which is nothing more than the backlog of prioritized user stories.
  • The Product Owner defines the user stories for the development team.
  • Take the time to prioritize user stories with multiple team members.

Relationship between Product Owner and Scrum Master

The relationship is a very controversial topic in the agile world. Many people say that there must be a clear contrast between the Scrum Master and the Product Owner, and therefore it takes two people to manage these two roles.

The product owner must have a general understanding of the customer’s requirements. For this reason, the Scrum Master needs a Product Owner. At the same time, the project team requires the Scrum Master to function, maintaining the team’s speed and productivity.

Conclusion

The product owner must be involved in obtaining the details of the project. But along with this, Product Owners expect an experienced Scrum Master to work and guide their team members to work efficiently with good results.


Srikanth Alakunta is a technology enthusiast who writes content on the latest technologies such as Big Data, DevOps, Scrum, Industry-relevant skills and he is working as a Content Contributor at Mindmajix.

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