Project Manager vs. Scrum Master

In a traditional software project, your team is managed by a Project Manager.  He or she works with the team to fully scope the project, creates a Gantt Chart and tracks weekly progress.

He is also the people manager, working with team members for development, review and salary.

On the other hand, in Scrum, the Project Manager keeps personnel responsibilities but project scoping and tracking is delegated to the Scrum Team.  The Team does the scoping and, with the help of the Scrum Master, tracks daily progress for a much smaller scale project.

This means the Scrum Master helps the team track progress with a Burn Down Chart as the Team reports progress.  She also manages the work environment in terms of the Scrum Culture and Scrum Process.

The Scrum Master does not handle personnel issues beyond coaching the Team.  She can call in the Project Manager to deal with severe issues, but otherwise coaches the team toward self-management and team-lead success.

She also works with the Product Owner to groom the Backlog both with and independently of the rest of the Team.  She helps remove obstacles to progress as reported in the Scrum and represents the team and its progress in the Scrum of Scrums.

As you can see, Scrum removes central management in favor of a team approach.

Working Up to Level 1

Since Level 1 is the lowest CMMI level, technically you just start there.  But, the truth is you do need to be successful at development to be at this “ad hoc” level.

Level 1 is characterized by working hard to be successful.  Your organization isn’t using a repeatable process, doesn’t use common practices across the company and doesn’t really seek to improve.

What does it take to “reach” level 1?

A chaotic environment – This is an environment which has no standards or common practices.

Ad Hoc – This is the result of the chaos inherent in a level 1 environment.  Each developer operates in their own silo and their work is a one-off effort.

Heroic Effort – Success is because of the strong capabilities and heroic effort of superstars.  Nothing seems easy and there are no 8 hour days.

Level 1 is more than a starting point, but lacks the maturity of a well-oiled machine.

What, then, does a level 2 organization have that a level 1 organization lacks?

Repeatable processes like agile development, measurements and analysis.