Comparison of the ScrumMaster, Product Owner, Project Manager and Team Lead Roles

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Often in my classes, I’m asked for a clear comparison between the various traditional roles and the new roles in Scrum.  Here is a high level summary of some of the key responsibilities and activities that help highlight some important differences between these four roles:

ScrumMaster Product Owner Project Manager Team Lead
NEVER NEVER Assign Tasks YES
NO PARTICIPATES Create Schedule NO
NO YES Manage Budget NO
Remove Obstacles PARTICIPATES YES YES
NO Define Business Requirements PARTICIPATES NO
NO YES (Deliveries) Define Milestones NO
Facilitate Meetings NO YES YES
YES (process and people) YES (business) Risk Management PARTICIPATES
Organizational Change Agent NO NO NO
NO Accountable for Business Results RARELY (just costs) NO

Of course, there are many other ways we could compare these four roles.  What would you like me to add to this list?  Add a comment with a question or a suggestion and I will update the table appropriately!


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3 thoughts on “Comparison of the ScrumMaster, Product Owner, Project Manager and Team Lead Roles”

  1. Can you also please add a compare these with the product manager role? or is the product manager role the same as the product owner role here?

    Thanks

    1. Product Manager and Product Owner are similar in many ways and different in only a few small ways. One difference is that a Product Owner is responsible for exactly one product and no more. Another difference is that a Product Owner must work with the development team daily throughout the whole product development effort. Finally, a Product Owner also has some more detailed tactical activities related to creating and maintaining the Product Backlog (which while similar to a product roadmap, is not identical).

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