Friday, April 13, 2012

Scrum Masters valued higher than Project Managers by some

So I hear someone say:

My company is not thinking of hiring Scrum Masters for the current Scrum adoption initiative that is underway. We appear to have plenty of Project Managers (yet that community believes they need more "heads"). Yes, "heads" is the unit of measure for our "resources."  So the apparent logic that I have explained to me - because I'm just too illogical to arrive at the obvious is ... we will just let the PMs do the SM roll. Right, no problem there. It shouldn't take too much time to do the Scrum Master's job... just a few meetings and that silly 15 minute stand-up each day.

Yep - that's the plan.

So now lets look at one metric and ask ourselves why this trend is happening.  Let's compare salaries of Scrum Masters to Project Managers.  You can get the  latest info via

 data from Indeed Salary survey 

David Bland (Scrumology) did this some time back and reported that a SM in 2009 averaged $88K/yr, when a PM was earning more. Then again in 2010 when the SM was averaging $95K while the PM was at $91K ($7K delta).  Now the delta is $10K.

So we should ask ourselves - why does the market supply & demand for Scrum Masters out pace the market for Project Managers?  What could possibly create this trend?  Could it be that the job of the SM is different that the typical PM job?  And that the rapid overtaking curve of the SM salary is a result of the market realization that it takes a unique skill set to perform the role well.  Hence the premium paid for a Scrum Master in today's market.

Update July 2014

See Also:

Yes - you need a full time scrum master.

What hiring process do you use?  & How to ACE the behavioral interview ...

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