Everyday Video: Scrum Master vs Product Owner

Wondering what the difference between a Scrum Master and a Product Owner is?

The Scrum Master and the Product Owner play critical but different roles on the Scrum team.

The Scrum Master is a master of process and an empowerer of people as they focus on maximizing the impact of the development team. They support the team by removing obstacles and representing Scrum to the rest of the organization.

The Product Owner's primary responsibility is to maximize the value delivered to the product. They take the infinite requests and possibilities and prioritize them for the finite capacity of the team. They serve as the inflection point between the development team and stakeholders

The two roles in tension

  • The Product Owner is product-focused and team-mindful while the Scrum Master is team-focused and product-mindful. They care about both but have a prioritized focus.
  • The Scrum Master protects the team’s health by balancing the product owner’s drive to complete the product with the team's long-term effectiveness.

Reflection Questions

  • What are your goals as you learn about the roles of Scrum Master and Product Owner?
  • Are you looking to grow your skills in a current role or land a new role?
  • What is your plan for learning the basics of Scrum?

If you are interested in learning Scrum or teaching it to your team, you'll want to check out Everyday Scrum. It's a guide for everyday people to learn Scrum and is written intentionally to be accessible to those practicing Scrum outside the software development space.

You may also find these infographics helpful as a summaries of the Scrum Master and Product Owner roles.

Samantha the Scrum Master
Samantha the Scrum Master
Owen the Product Owner
Owen the Product Owner

If you want to explore more Scrum related content, I have lot's of Agile and Scrum posts for you and I've highlighted a few of them below.

Scrum Basics

Scrum Roles

Scrum Books

Related Videos

Related Posts


Are you exploring Scrum? You know, whether you're working with a new Scrum team and you're trying to figure out what everyone does or you're looking into a career shift and trying to decide is a scrum related role right for you. Either way, you're here in the right place because today I'm going to compare the role of Scrum Master and Product Owner.

Everyone on the Scrum team has an important role to play and we don't want there to be confusion or conflict about roles. So it's good to kind of clarify what is each person do. I've played both the role of the Scrum Master and the Product Owner, even at the same time, which I want to recommend. I have a whole video about why that doesn't work super well.

I've trained both Scrum Masters and Product Owners, and I like helping people get kind of a feel for what these roles are like so they can really see which roles they might thrive in because they're different. They're different. They fit different people better. So let's dive in. All right. First, we'll start by just defining each role. All right.

Let's talk about Scrum Master. The Scrum Master is a master of process and an empower of people. They focus on maximizing the impact of the development team. They support the team by removing obstacles and representing Scrum to the rest of the organization. The Product Owner, they're primarily responsible for maximizing the value delivered to the product. So similar to the impact of the team that the Scrum Masters focus on but a little different.

They take in the Product Owner takes in the the infinite requests and possibilities for this product and they prioritize them into the finite capacity of the team. They serve really is that inflection point between the development team and the stakeholders, all of the external stakeholders. So what do the Scrum Master and the Product Owner have in common?

Well, they're both members of the Scrum team. For one, they're both leaders who direct and guide how the team delivers value. Neither are the boss. They actually have that in common. And while they have leadership roles within the Scrum Team, the members of the team don't report to either of them. That's what I mean by they're not the boss.

Like I mentioned earlier, the two roles balance each other. They kind of create a tension between them that keeps the product on track and the team healthy. So let's look at kind of two areas where this is really true. The Product Owner is product focused and team mindful, while the Scrum Master, I would say is really more team focused and product mindful.

So they each care about both the product and the team, but they kind of have a prioritized focus. You know, the Scrum Master, they're trying to protect the team's health by balancing the Product Owner's drive to complete the product. So they're balancing that that drive with the team's long term effectiveness in mind. Now, if you're wondering, you know, which of these roles might be a better fit for you?

Here's some thoughts. If you really like solving puzzles, pushing for clarity, pushing, pressing towards goals, then the role of Product Owner might be a really good fit. Now, on the other hand, if you're a methods and process person, if you enjoy teaching and coaching others, then maybe you might consider that Scrum Master role. Whatever you do, don't try and do both.

I mentioned earlier I have a whole other video explaining why that's kind of problematic. And the main just to kind of give you a little overview. The main reason is like I said before, those two roles, they are in tension with each other. So if you have if you're playing both of them, then you're in tension within yourself.

That's not sustainable. That creates confusion. Not a good plan. Don't do it. If you want again, a deeper dive into either the Scrum Master or the Product Owner role. Check out the videos for each. You can also check out the links in the description that explain each role further. Some of the differences. Some of the commonalities. How do I get certified?

All those fun things. I hope as you learn more about them, you can find a role that fits you well or better understand what each role is. If you're interested in one of the roles and want to give it a try but don't have that opportunity at work, check out in the description. There's a link to practicing scrum in your everyday life and there you'll find some just helpful applications of how to apply scrum in areas like completing home projects or personal development.

So that can give you a chance to kind of play the Scrum Master role or play the product owner in just kind of your everyday life. But I hope you found these videos helpful and that they're helping you kind of understand the different roles of Scrum Master and Product Owner, how they compare, how they're similar, how they're different.

If you have questions, put those in the comments. Would love to engage with you there. If you like this content and you found it helpful, please don't forget to like and subscribe. Thanks and I'll see you next time.