What is Scrum of Scrums? Purpose and Best Practices
April 3, 2023 Max 7min read
Have you ever been working on a project with a ton of people involved and felt it needed to be more manageable to keep track of everything?
It can be super frustrating when everyone is working on their tasks, but no one seems to know what’s happening with the bigger picture. That’s where the “Scrum of Scrums” comes in!
The name sounds weird, almost like a tongue twister or a joke. But it’s a real thing and a fundamental concept in the development world.
The idea behind a Scrum of Scrum is to bring together representatives from different teams working on the same project. By meeting regularly and sharing updates, everyone can better understand what’s happening across the entire project and make sure all the different pieces are coming together smoothly.
But why is this so important? When you have multiple teams working on a project, it can be straightforward for things to get off track.
One team may need to learn what another team is doing and end up duplicating work. Something may fall through the cracks because everyone assumed someone else was handling it.
By having a Scrum of Scrums, you can catch these issues early and ensure everyone is on the same page.
So, in this article, we’re going to dive deeper into the whole Scrum of Scrums concept. We’ll cover what it is, who’s involved, and why it’s crucial for successful project management. Let’s get started!
What Is Scrum of Scrums?
Definition of Scrum of Scrums:
Scrum of Scrums is a technique used to scale up scrum to larger groups by dividing them into agile teams of 5-10 individuals. Each sub-team designates an ambassador to participate in a daily meeting with ambassadors from other sub-teams. This helps maintain communication and coordination between sub-teams.
Scrum of Scrums is like the conductor of a complex orchestra comprising many different teams. It’s a technique used in agile project management that helps these teams work together to deliver complex solutions.
Scrum of Scrums aims to connect multiple teams working towards a common goal. The goal is to ensure everyone is on the same page. It is especially true when scaling agile practices to larger teams.
By breaking up a large team into smaller groups and establishing regular communication, Scrum of Scrums helps maintain personal relationships, trust, and a shared sense of purpose.
But it’s not as simple as just dividing the work and hoping for the best.
Balancing skills, redefining interfaces, and carefully allocating work duties is crucial when splitting teams. This way, you can avoid unexpected dependencies and bottlenecks.
Retrospectives and prioritization of improvement stories can help teams overcome these challenges and keep everything moving smoothly.
Ultimately, Scrum of Scrums is all about coordination. It allows multiple teams to work together towards a common objective.
This benefit ensures that everyone moves in the same direction and contributes to the project’s overall success.
Who Attends Scrum of Scrums?
Scrum of Scrums is a scaled agile approach that allows multiple teams to collaborate and work towards a common goal.
In this framework, teams communicate and coordinate with each other to deliver complex solutions.
Regarding Scrum of Scrum meetings, having the right participants is essential to ensure effective communication and coordination between teams.
Here are some points to consider regarding who should attend:
- Number of participants: The optimal number of participants should be between five and ten people.
- Scrum Master: Conventionally, the scrum master of each scrum team should attend. However, it may limit the perspectives shared during the meeting if only the scrum master is present.
- Technical Expert: Including a development team member with technical expertise in addition to the scrum master is advisable. It provides technical input that helps in the success of the project.
- Product Owner: If necessary, the product owner may also attend the meeting. However, their attendance should stay within the focus of the gathering.
- Scrum of Scrum Master: While self-leading meetings work well, more prominent groups may require a designated Scrum of Scrum Master to manage the process effectively.
- Representation: Any team or organization in charge of a deliverable included in the release plan should send a representative to the Scrum of Scrum meeting.
Purpose of Scrum of Scrums
Let us look at the scrum of scrums purpose.
Communication of Issues
If a particular scrum team faces any issues, it can affect the rest of the system directly or indirectly. The Scrum of Scrums meeting provides a platform to communicate these issues, ensuring that all teams are aware and can coordinate to resolve them.
Sharing Progress Information
Scrum of Scrums meetings bridge the gap between different Scrum teams working on a single or connected project. Representatives from each team can share information about their progress, enabling others to understand their status and adjust their plans accordingly.
The meetings also create a platform for task synchronization, enabling teams to prioritize and communicate remaining efforts and responsibilities. It helps ensure all teams are aligned towards a common goal and working on the most critical tasks.
Scrum of Scrums Agenda
Upon examining the Scrum of Scrums meeting plan, it becomes apparent that it closely resembles the agenda of the daily scrum. The same inquiries posed during the daily scrum are also posed during the Scrum of Scrums, including:
- What tasks got completed since the previous meeting?
- What tasks will be completed by the next meeting?
- Are there any impediments hindering the progress of each team?
Each representative is required to respond to these questions based on the status of their team, thereby providing an overall view of the project’s progress. The team members determine the frequency of meetings.
The Scrum of Scrums could be held daily, similar to the daily scrum, and the meetings should last no more than 15 minutes.
If daily meetings aren’t feasible, the team could meet thrice weekly on alternate days. These longer meetings could summarize the daily questions.
What Is the Goal of the Scrum of Scrums Event?
What’s the deal with a Scrum of Scrums? Well, it’s all about bringing different teams together to create one unified output. We’re talking about eliminating those pesky bottlenecks, integrating multiple teams’ work, and coordinating everyone’s efforts.
To ensure everything runs smoothly, each team sends a representative to answer crucial questions.
- What have they accomplished since the last meeting?
- Any roadblocks?
- What’s on the agenda for the next meeting?
- Will any upcoming tasks interfere with the work of other teams?
- Have they faced any obstacles from other teams?
By getting everyone on the same page, we can foster an environment of cooperation and coordination – or what we like to call cross-team synchronization. And that’s what makes a Scrum of Scrums such a powerful tool for success.
Best Practices for Scrum of Scrums
It’s crucial to follow best practices to ensure an effective Scrum of Scrums (SoS) meeting. It includes providing suitable team composition and an appropriate meeting agenda. Here are some tips to consider:
Establish Meeting Guidelines
To start, establish the guidelines for the length and frequency of the Scrum of Scrums meeting ahead of time. Schedule the meeting at most twice a week, with a time frame of 15-30 minutes, tops, like regular scrum meetings.
This timeline will help keep everyone focused and productive.
Address Problems and Track Progress
Set aside time during the meeting to address problems and prevent them from becoming roadblocks. To make sure everyone is moving forward, monitor the status of ongoing and completed scaled daily scrums.
Encourage Transparency and Definition of “Complete”
To reach a consensus on what constitutes “complete,” foster honest communication among your team members and promote a positive work atmosphere. It will help ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.
Share Progress Points and Deliver Stories Early
Each team should prepare to share its progress points during the meeting. Deliver stories dependent on other teams early in the sprint to ensure everyone is on the same page. This way, you get time to address any issues that may arise.
Prepare and Track Timeline
Create and maintain a timeline for the team’s demo meeting to ensure everyone knows of upcoming milestones and deadlines.
Select Appropriate Attendees
Make sure that the meeting attendees represent each team. Selecting the appropriate people will ensure the meeting is productive and everyone’s voice gets heard.
Emphasize Agile Practice
Keep in mind that status talks and scrum meetings are different. Status meetings are an artifact of the waterfall approach and have no place in agile practice.
Instruct Attendees to Report Back
Finally, ensure that each attendee reports to their team about the meeting. If people need to know why they are attending, what good are these meetings?
By following these best practices for the Scrum of Scrums meeting, you can help your team scale agile and achieve its goals more effectively.
Scrum of Scrums is a valuable technique for coordinating multiple teams working on a single or connected project.
Scrum of Scrums divides larger groups into smaller sub-teams and ensures regular communication. This way, there will be alignment toward a common goal and ensures everyone is on the same page.
It helps to catch issues early and keep everything moving smoothly. The Scrum of Scrums meetings enable representatives to share information about their progress and synchronize tasks. It also allows for communicating any problems or impediments.
So, if you’re working on a large project with multiple teams involved, consider implementing Scrum of Scrums to help you achieve success!
More like this:
- What Are Agile Ceremonies? Definition and Overview
- What Is Scrum Meeting? (Definition, Meaning and Types)
- Scrum Velocity vs. Scrum Capacity: What Should You Choose?
- Top 9 Scrum Master Certifications and Their Value
- Scrumban: Your Guide Toward Flexibility in Product Management
- What Is an Agile Roadmap? Definition and Create
Scrum and Scrum of Scrums (SoS) are agile methodologies used in project management, but they serve different purposes. Scrum is a framework used by a single team to complete complex projects in a sprint, while Scrum of Scrums is a technique that connects multiple teams working on a common project to ensure transparency, inspection, and adaptation at scale. SoS is particularly useful for large, complex projects requiring the work of multiple teams to deliver a cohesive solution.
In contrast to typical daily Scrum meetings, the Scrum of Scrums meeting does not necessarily have to occur every day. The teams’ preference can determine its frequency, and the meeting may occur once or twice a week as needed. The representatives are empowered to decide on the frequency of the meeting. While the recommended time-box for Scrum of Scrums meetings is 15 minutes, this may also be subject to variation.
Scrum is a lightweight framework designed for small teams emphasizing collaboration and flexibility. Managing large-scale projects requiring coordination and alignment across multiple teams and organizational levels is more structured using the SAFe framework. Designers created the two frameworks for different purposes. Project or organization-specific needs determine their application in other contexts.