Although both Project Managers and Scrum Masters are focused on delivering maximum value to the organisation and customers, Project Managers and Scrum Masters do differ in terms of the degree they are involved in project and product delivery.  

A topic that therefore comes up quite often when discussing the differences between Scrum Masters and Project Managers surrounds how a Scrum Master can lead effectively when they do not have the same level of authority as a Project Manager. 

A Scrum Master needs to develop a wide range of competencies in order to lead effectively.   A Scrum Master accountability requires a great deal of leadership capability too, so it’s a great fit for people who are used to leading with authority and have learned to inspire others to follow rather than enforce a set of rules.

Lead Without Enforcing

Leading without enforcing authority and inspiring a collaborative approach is a trait that can be nurtured. My encouragement for people who are getting used to this new way of working is to approach the people you are working with as you would approach other people in a business or organisation outside of your business.

This is a good way to approach it because in these cases, these people are not ‘your people’ and you would have no right to force them to do anything. Instead you would have to negotiate with them, understand them, and collaborate with them so that they too understand why working with you is valuable.

You Are an Influencer

As a Scrum Master, if you can approach working and managing your team in this way, they are more likely to want to work with you and achieve goals together. Ways of working in Scrum is therefore different to traditional project management, because instead of the Scrum Master exercising strict authority and enforcing what must be done, the Scrum Master works as an influencer rather than a dictator.

This means that an effective Scrum Master supports, facilitates and ensures that there are available resources to enable others within the team to maximise the value they can bring to a product or project and the organisation as a whole.

But What If You’re Not Getting The Results You Want?

As simple and exciting as this may sound, it is possible that sometimes as a Scrum Master you may struggle to get the results that we were hoping to get. This may require you to upskill and find new ways of enhancing current work processes.

Getting help from books, mentors, and articles such as this one are all great ways to improve your knowledge and understanding of Scrum and how to be an effective Scrum Master. I also recommend to every junior Scrum Master that they should find a network of fellow Scrum Masters that they can talk to and learn from.

I recommend this because my greatest insights and ideas have come from sitting in coffee shops and exchanging ideas and asking bold questions.   And if you are still struggling, there are some fantastic courses that you can get from professional upskilling, facilitation skills courses, and advanced Scrum Master courses which go more in-depth on the techniques and specialised skills needed to become a great Scrum Master.

Interested to learn more?  Get in touch today and let’s work together on your journey to success!  

Pragmatic Shift is a Scrum Training, Agile Consulting, and Agile Coaching consultancy that specialises in delivering Scrum.Org certified scrum courses, and helping organisations increase their business agility and product development success through agile consulting and coaching.  

We firmly believe that a shift to agile is a pragmatic shift. A natural evolution from traditional project management and product management. A proven, reliable, and resilient framework for addressing compelling problems and developing complex solutions.  

Over a decade’s worth of experience as an agile practitioner, agile consultant, agile coach, and scrum trainer informs our pragmatic approach to change. Agile dogma has no value in the context of product development or organisational change.  

Instead, we look to start where you are, work with what you have, and make meaningful interventions that align with the objectives you are trying to achieve.   Progress over perfection.  

If this sounds like a pragmatic solution to you, visit the following pages for more information.  

Scrum Training:  

Agile Consulting: Coming Soon!  

Agile Coaching:  

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