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Team Lead vs. Scrum Master: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

In the world of software development, there are many different roles that contribute to the success of a project. Two common positions are that of a team lead and a scrum master. Though both roles are important, there are several key differences between them.

In this article, we’ll discuss the job responsibilities of a team lead and a scrum master, the similarities and differences between the two positions and helpful tips for those interested in pursuing a career in software development.

What is a Team Lead?

A Team Lead is responsible for the day-to-day supervision of a team of employees. They assign tasks, monitor progress and provide feedback and support to team members. They also develop team goals and objectives and create plans to achieve them. In some cases, Team Leads may also be responsible for training and developing team members. They typically report to a manager or supervisor.

What is a Scrum Master?

A Scrum Master is a facilitator and coach for a Scrum team. They help the team to self-organize, self-manage and continuously improve. The Scrum Master is not a project manager, but they do work to remove any impediments that are preventing the team from being productive. They also help the team to stay focused on their sprint goals and ensure that the team is adhering to the Scrum framework. The Scrum Master is responsible for ensuring that the team has the resources and environment they need to be successful.

Team Lead vs. Scrum Master

Here are the main differences between a team lead and a scrum master.

Job Duties

A team lead’s job duties can vary depending on the company and industry they work in. They might manage a team, help develop processes or procedures, coordinate with other teams and departments and report to their higher-level management. Scrum masters typically have similar job responsibilities related to coordinating and leading a team. However, because of the nature of their work, scrum masters tend to have more experience and knowledge related to software development.

Job Requirements

Team leads and scrum masters typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as business administration or computer science. They may also need several years of experience working in their desired field before being promoted to a team lead or scrum master position. Additionally, many team leads and scrum masters pursue certifications through professional organizations, such as the Project Management Institute (PMI) or the Scrum Alliance. These certifications can help professionals stand out to potential employers and demonstrate their commitment to their career.

Work Environment

A team lead typically works in an office setting, often with a group of employees. They may also travel to different locations to meet with their teams and clients. Team leads usually work full time during regular business hours, but they may have additional responsibilities that require them to work overtime or on weekends.

A scrum master is more likely to work remotely than a team lead. This means they can work from home or another location away from the main office. A scrum master’s job requires them to be available at all times, so they may work irregular hours. They may also travel to client sites for meetings.


Both team leads and scrum masters need to have excellent communication skills. They will be responsible for communicating with their team members, as well as other stakeholders in the company. They need to be able to clearly articulate instructions and expectations, as well as give feedback effectively.

Both team leads and scrum masters also need to be good at problem-solving. They will need to be able to quickly identify issues that their team is facing and come up with solutions that can help resolve those issues. Additionally, they both need to be able to work well under pressure and handle multiple tasks simultaneously.

One of the main differences between team leads and scrum masters is that team leads are typically more focused on the day-to-day management of their team. This can include tasks such as assigning work, setting deadlines and ensuring that their team is meeting its goals. Scrum masters, on the other hand, are more focused on helping their team to improve its process and efficiency. This can involve tasks such as conducting retrospectives, identifying areas for improvement and coaching team members on how to be more effective.


The average salary for a team lead is $69,148 per year, while the average salary for a scrum master is $104,205 per year. The average salary for a team lead may vary depending on the size of the company, the industry in which they work and the level of experience they have. The average salary for a scrum master may vary depending on the size of the company, the industry in which they work and the level of experience they have.


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