Scrum Master or Product Owner: What Suits You Better?
Scrum Master or Product Owner: What Suits You Better

Scrum Master or Product Owner: What Suits You Better?

Last updated on 09th Jul 2020, Blog, General

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Gopal (Scrum Master - Specialist )

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Scrum Master and Product Owner: Understanding the Differences


According to the State of Scrum report 2017-2018 based on the data collection initiated in 2013. This survey represents the real world implementations of Scrum.

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    Agile methodology imparts the easy and convenient path to work. Scrum is one of the renowned Agile methodologies. The agile methodology consists of 4 main roles, viz. Product Owner, Scrum Master, Scrum team and Stakeholder. Each role has its share of responsibilities. These roles are all about commitment.

    Scrum Master and the Product Owner are the two vital roles in the Scrum software development methodology. Since they both are working on different areas of the project, they are indispensable for the project. Scrum Master is a mediator between the Product Owner (PO) and the Development Team.

    Difference between the Product Owner and Scrum Master


    Though the Product Owner and the Scrum master vary in their roles, they complement each other. Scrum master should support the Product Owner in every step possible. There should be an amicable relationship between the Product Owner and the Scrum master. Disputes may happen between them if the roles are not clarified. Let us have a look at the differences in roles between the Product Owner and the Scrum Master.

    The Scrum Master concentrates on the project success, by assisting the product owner and the team is using the right process for creating a successful target and establishing the Agile principles.

    Skills of the Scrum Master (SM):

    Removes the impediments and keep the team on track

    The Scrum Master helps the team to strictly adhere to the Scrum practices and helps them in reaching the target. The Scrum Master find out the distractions that are hindering the team from delivering the product quality. The distractions include unwanted meetings, complexity in the procedure, work environment etc.

    Encourages Collaboration

    The Scrum Master notices the daily activities of the team members. Also, the SM share his/her experiences with the team members via meetings, conferences, and seminars. The Scrum Master encourages the collaboration through the stand-up meetings, the release of planning sessions, iteration planning, and demo sessions.

    Good listening and Communication power

    The Scrum Master should have good communication skills in order to discuss the ideas and plan with the team. Good communication helps to deliver messages to customers, teams, and target audiences. Also, listening to the team members will help them share their ideas with the Scrum Master. So, Scrum Master should be a good listener also.

    Mentors the team as a Coach

    A successful Scrum Master understands the importance of the team working in collaboration. He/She mentors the team members as a Coach to implement the Scrum practices.   

    Flexibility for adopting the change

    The Scrum Master should be flexible for adopting any change. While implementing the Agile methodology, the team members may face the problems. So, the Scrum Master should be able to help the team members to adopt the changes. The Scrum Master facilitates the daily Scrum meetings for the team members to discuss their issues that are hindering the project growth.    

    Partnership with the Product Owner

    Scrum consists of three roles – Product Owner, Scrum Team and Scrum Master. The Scrum Master acts as a mediator between the development team and the Product Owner. The two roles- Product Owner and Scrum Master are valuable for the team, as they build a perfect relation with the team and thereby delivering the best results.

    Servant Leadership quality

    The Scrum Master provides collaboration. Scrum Master is also known as a Servant Leader.  He/She guides the team members on how to follow the Scrum approach to motivate the team members to deliver the best.

    To know the price bracket of the CSM certification across the globe refer the link: CSM Certification Cost

    Responsibilities of the Scrum Master:

    • Scrum Master facilitates team for better vision and always tries to improve the efficiency of the teams.
    • Scrum Master manages Scrum processes coordinating with the Scrum team in the Agile methodology.
    • Scrum Master removes impediments for the Scrum team.
    • Scrum Master arranges daily quick stand-up meetings to ensure quick inspection and proper use of adaptation processes.
    • Scrum Master helps Product Owner to shape the product backlog and make it ready for the next sprint.
    • Conducting retrospective meetings.
    • Scrum Master organizes and facilitates the sprint planning meeting.
    • Most importantly, the Scrum Master removes the impediments that hindering the project success.
    • Scrum Master keeps the team away from the distractions.
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    The Product Owner’s responsibility is to focus on product success, to build a product which works better for the users and the customers and to create a product which meets business requirements. The Product Owner can interact with the users and customers, Stakeholders, the Development team and the Scrum Master.


    Skills of the Product Owner (PO):

    • Product Owner should have an idea about the business value of the product and the customers’ demands.
    • Certified Scrum Product Owner Certification (CSPO) will be beneficial for the sales team.
    • The development team consults the Product Owner, so he should always be available for them to implement the features correctly.
    • Product Owner should understand the program from the end-user point of view.
    • Marketing is discussed on the sales level in most of the Organizations. So it is the Product Owner’s duty to guide the marketing persons to achieve the goals successfully.
    • Product Owner is responsible for the product and the ways to flourish a business.
    • Product Owner has to focus on the proper production and ROI as well.
    • Product Owner should be able to solve the problems, completing trade-off analysis and making decisions about business deliverables.
    • After Certified Scrum Product Owner course, Product Owner can work with the project managers and the technical leads to prioritize the scope for product development.
    • Sometimes Product Owner and the Customers are same, sometimes Customers are thousands or millions of people.

    Some other skills are as follows:

    1.Communication Skills

    Communication is the key factor for any team member to be successful.  The team should be open to working together to achieve a common project target. It is very important that everyone on the team should communicate effectively. Most probably, the Product Owner should possess good communication skills. As the Product Owner needs to work with the customers’ to understand their needs and conveying that to the development team to bring it to reality. If they could not able to communicate effectively, it may affect the organization value.


    The Product Owner should be committed to the project target, product vision, team, and the business. They have to attend all the meetings and work with all the team members. So, it is very important for them to collaborate with everyone. Furthermore, the Product Owner must be accountable for the process and be committed to the success of the project

    3. Vision

    The Product Owner should be able to clearly communicate the product vision between the backlog items and the large project goals. They check whether the product vision is aligned with the company’s vision and needs.

    4.Curious about what they work

     Concerning that “bad product owner” is so often the excuse for bad product. I coach towards product leadership and team ownership. My worst case is product owner telling the team exactly what to build, and team not taking ownership of the outcome. The Product Owner (PO) need to be curious always to ask ‘Why’ from the client (about his/her requirements) and‘How(to the development team). But before asking the questions to the team, they should understand the rules and able to create a clear vision of the final product.

    Responsibilities of the Product Owner:

    • Product Owner has to attend the daily sprint planning meetings.
    • Product Owner prioritizes the product features, so the development team can clearly understand them.
    • Product Owner decides the deadlines for the project.
    • Product Owner determines the release date and contents.
    • Product Owner manages and creates the product backlog for implementation, which is nothing but the prioritized backlog of user stories.
    • Product Owner defines user stories to the development team.
    • Spending some time to prioritize the user stories with a few team members.

    The Product Owner and Scrum Master Relation

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    This question is highly debatable in an Agile world. Many say that there needs to be a clear contrast between these the Scrum Master and Product Owner and therefore needs two individuals to manage these two roles.

    The Product Owner should have an overall vision of the client’s requirements. Due to this reason, the Scrum Master needs the Product Owner. Whereas the project team requires the Scrum Master to work maintaining the velocity and capacity of the team.

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