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Scrum Master != Project Manager

I like a lot of what I see in Scrum, but I’m not 100% bowled over by it all. For starters I dislike the term Scrum Master, and how Scrum Masters are “created”.

Let’s start with the name, “Scrum Master”. It implies leadership, authority and some sort of responsibility for ensuring that the team delivers. In short, it makes “Scrum Master” sound like a new fangled term for Project Manager.

Combine this with the fact that Scrum Master Certification can be achieved with two days training and a very very simple multiple choice exam and you’ve got real problems.

As a simple experiment, type Scrum or Scrum Master or even Agile into any Jobs Site. The results are kind of depressing. They paint a picture of an entire industry eager to appear agile without actually “getting it” at all.

Here’s the first result from running this experiment myself:

SCRUM MASTER

The Client is a major multinational organisation and a world leader in its field. They have a great reputation as an employer and are expanding at present due to new product development. They are actively looking for a software industry professional to take on the role of Scrum Master/ Project Manager within a software product development environment.

Scrum Master / Project Manager. Already I’m worried.

The Scrum Master will be responsible for the development of new features and enhancements on a number of customer facing applications and platforms.

No. The Scrum Master is responsible for helping you do Scrum correctly. The Scrum TEAM is responsible for developing new features. The Scrum Master does not LEAD that effort, or take responsibility for it.

This is a hands on role where you will act as scrum Master and work through the full software development lifecycle, carefully monitoring and controlling each of the phases from initiation to closure. Experience of project management/project leadership experience would be advantageous.

You will be responsible for all aspects of the Scrum Master role including Daily Scrums and Sprint Planning. You will conduct lessons learned sessions and ensure feedback is used for subsequent sprints. Arrange Sprint Demo and provide inputs and action process changes as/where required.

OK, good, stop there, don’t spoil it.

Ensure project objectives are met within the constraints of project scope, time, cost and required quality. Coordinate and communicate with project resources, internal team, stakeholders and vendors on all aspects of project progression/status. Measure progress and monitor performance (overall, scope, schedule, costs, quality) Risk Management including issue escalation and resolution. Post Project Implementation review to document lessons learnt.

You had to go and spoil it.

We would like to hear from candidates with 6 years + experience in a similar project management role, preferably in a fast paced service delivery environment. You should have exposure to Agile Development Tools proficiency such as Greenhopper and have experience of managing multiple projects concurrently. In addition you should have extensive hands-on experience in producing and grooming backlog, creating release plans etc.

The veil slips. A Job with the Title “Scrum Master”, turns out in the first paragraph to be Scrum Master/Project Manager, and by the end of the Job Spec we’re left with just Project Manager, for multiple concurrent projects.

There are two possibilities here.

1) This company wants a Project Manager and somebody has thrown in some Agile/Scrummy terms to attract more interest.
2) This is a company that is humouring some of it’s developers by letting them “do” Scrum, but in name only. As long as the Scrum Master fulfils the job that used to called “Project Manager” then the developers can call what they are doing anything they want.

If I were looking for a job as a Scrum Master (I’m not) I would run a million miles from this Job Spec.