Product Owner vs Scrum Master

Last post 07:40 pm February 8, 2018
by Ioan Marian Turcus
6 replies
02:54 pm February 6, 2018

Hi all, 

To my surprise, I am observing that the majority of people are going for the scrum master certification, rather than the product owner. 

As I am fairly new to the industry, I am wondering if you can easily slide from a scrum Master role into a product owner role much easier that you can do it the other way around from product owner to scrum master. 

Any thoughts on this would be much appreciated. 


Thanks !

07:18 pm February 6, 2018

That's a good question, I'm not sure. Personally, I like the Scrum Master position because it allows me the ability to serve my team more than anything. I truly love the coaching and serving aspect of being a Scrum Master and that is why it appealed to me more than the PO role. 

08:17 pm February 6, 2018

I am wondering if you can easily slide from a scrum Master role into a product owner role much easier that you can do it the other way around

I have been a Scrum Master for 14 years, but I think I would find it very challenging to maximize the value of a complex product.

08:36 pm February 6, 2018

Being a coach or being a CEO is not the same but both are very interesting, very challenging, but with a very different mindset.

You can probably have the skills for both position (I'll be more than happy to work with a PO like Ian), but to chose between a Scrum Master and a PO position depends more on your own motivations than you skills.

08:37 pm February 6, 2018

Not an easy question to answer, but I think there are two things I would share 1. Scrum is associated with Scrum Master (and Mastery). Lots of people take PSM classes to learn about Scrum and then, to validate their learning take PSM I. After the class/assessment they might assume any of three Scrum roles 2. Product Owners may work in the business or a product organization that is separate from 'agile' training program which means they don't get included in PSPO or other training. This is a massive mistake as Product Ownership is a crucial role in delivering the right product and learning about how that role works in a Scrum team is key to success. 

Saying all of this we are seeing growth in the PO role and more and more interest across the world. And, as the PO for I see massive value in learning more and more about how to be a good PO. 

03:42 pm February 7, 2018

I think in one of his posts Mike Cohn was talking about where a Scrum Master role can potentially go to and one of the directions was a Product Owner role. Though these two roles do not have direct progression correlation, I think it is possible to switch from one to another.

The thing here is though these roles are very different, have very different goals and skills needed. So if you decide to switch to a Product Owner you'll need to learn a lot of new things and you should expect to be not as effective at first even if you were a great Scrum Master before. 

05:24 pm February 8, 2018

Thanks to all for the feedback, I see that there is a great community here. At my current organization, the role of the scrum master is almost not existing, which I believe is a mistake. Based on your feedback, I would surely go with the product Owner certification, as this is what I am on doing anyway.