Scrum is a simple framework for managing projects and product development. Infusing Scrum into your organization will significantly improve productivity, visibility, and control. Everyone wins customers by getting what they want, developers by enjoying what they are doing, and the company’s overall performance increases. This article explains everything about scrum of scrums and gives examples to help you understand better.
What is Scrum of Scrums?
Scrum of Scrums (SOS) refers to a technique that an organization uses to divide large groups into agile teams made up of 5-10 people. Every team chooses one member as their ambassador who participates in daily meetings with other ambassadors from the other team, referred to as Scrum of scrums.
The ambassadors maybe each team’s scrum master, managers or technical contributors. Scrum proceeds just like a daily meeting, and the ambassadors notify the members of the next steps, the projects they have completed successfully and the impediments.
To resolve the impediments, the ambassadors concentrate on the challenges due to lack of cooperation between the teams. They then decide to negotiate responsibility boundaries and create an interface between the group.
A scrum of scrums is a discussion within a team, that usually last between 15 and 30 minutes, and the members raise significant issues then resolve. It focuses on current actions without producing any detailed plans for future work. The scrum is the basic unit of development in agile software development.
Additionally, the scrum helps teams establish and deliver complex products through transparency, adaptation and inspection. It only succeeds when all scrum team members cooperate, work towards the same goal and respect one another.
What is the Purpose Scrum of Scrums?
The purpose of Scrum of Scrums is to synchronize the different teams at an even higher level to work in the same direction. At this level, teams can coordinate and resolve their dependencies, such as the time of work. It’s an indicator for management to see what potential conflicts there are across projects.
Scrum of Scrum also intends to support the agile teams to ensure the team’s productivity increases. It generally ensures that the teams are on the same track and the overall outcome is excellent.
The primary role of scrum of scrums is to communicate expectations while minimizing the drawbacks of regular meetings. It is the best place to keep track of who is doing what when it comes to a team or project and holds the key to perfecting coordination within a group.
Who takes part in Scrum of Scrums?
The people who attend the Scrum of Scrums depends on the agenda of the meetings. The significant people who participate in the session include:
- Agile coach or scrum master
- Product owners from each team
- A team that’s responsible for the output as part of the release plan
- Those who attend to listen, gather information and share with their members
Stages of Creating an Effective Scrum of Scrums
- Forming stage
At this stage, the team members get to know each other and share their personal information. The sharing creates transparency, and some members get to know the likes and dislikes of each other. They also get to identify their common interest, professional background etc., which is very significant in scrums.
- Storming stage
Disagreements typically arise at this stage. The team members team up with the group members from their previously established relationship. They may form inner cycles, which is likely to result in a splintered scrum of the Scrums. At this point, it’s vital to identify obstacles that are hindering the group from achieving their goals. After establishing the cause of conflicts, the members have to resolve the disputes amicably to ensure the team’s success.
- Norming stage
After the group solves their conflicts in the storming stage, they start to work as a team. The members discuss and come up with norms and rules that will give them a framework of how the scrum team runs their meetings. They discuss the logistics, i.e. the time, location and duration of their sessions. Additionally, they discuss how the Scrum will operate and the mode of solving the conflicts that may arise.
The Scrum of scrums team must ensure everyone is involved and no one feels isolated or demeaned. The goal is to collaborate and ensure the success of their projects. Hence, every team member needs to participate in the discussions.
- Performing stage
The performing stage is where the members have agreed, and there is trust and cooperation among them They, therefore, work effectively on their projects. The team needs to be flexible and quickly adapt to change since the scrum demands are susceptible to change as bugs, development efforts and other implementations increase.
The team members must abide by the ground rules that they set at the norming stage. The ground rules are very significant if the Scrum of scrums team has any personal disagreements. In this situation, the team reviews the practices and incorporate all the agreements.
- Adjourning stage
At this particular stage, the Scrum of scrums team has probably accomplished most of its project and, in some cases, exceeded their expectation. The team needs to look at how they worked together and point areas that need improvements in the future. They have to discuss the methodologies and processes that were successful, not forgetting those that failed. After completing all these, the Scrum master may require information about the team’s contribution for performance evaluation.
How are the Meetings Coordinated in Scrum of Scrums?
The Scrum of scrums refers to a meeting that ensures the overall vision between the team members. The members may conduct the meetings daily, twice a week or once a week at a minimum. The meetings occur immediately after the standups, and an ambassador from each team has to attend to represent the rest of their members.
The people who attend the Scrum of scrums meeting are from different teams. The ambassadors represent the work they have achieved together with their team members. They showcase their accomplishments, the next steps and the impediments on behalf of their teams.
Scrum’s primary aim is to ensure the various teams make their sprint goals and the overall project becomes successful.
How to Implement Scrum of Scrums to ensure Agile Success?
Scrum works best when teams have one company-wide backlog and work to capacity together. As soon as teams start to work on separate backlogs, they need to coordinate their upcoming work. Here are some of the best practices to ensure the success of your Scrum of scrums:
- The same essential roles
Scrum of scrums in which every team member acknowledges their responsibility and works in harmony with each other is sure to succeed. The product owner, architect, or coach should ensure the same critical roles. The scrums precisely ensure clarity and makes the structure easy to comprehend and follow, thus eliminating confusion.
- Schedule all team sprints to begin and stop at the same time
The team leaders should ensure all the iterations are arranged for easier planning and predictable releases right off the bat.
- Continuously scale upwards
The team members should apply sprint planning, sprint review, sprint retrospectives and daily stand-ups to continuously scale-up. The scrum master should also encourage the team leaders and appreciate their efforts and achievements in the project.
The Agenda of Scrum of Scrums
The scrum of the scrums team must have a realistic and standard plan. The agenda is usually composed of status reports, discussions, problem resolution, and cooperation among team members. The solutions may be negotiating responsibility boundaries, agreeing to interface between project teams etc.
The scrum of the scrums master coordinates the meeting and decides how the project should run. He then gives directions to each team leader and ensures they are on the right track. In the meeting, the master asks each member the following questions:
- What did you do yesterday?
- What did you do today?
- What obstacles are slowing down your progress?
- What activities has your team done since we had the last session?
- What will your team engage in before we meet again?
All the members have equal chances to answer these five questions. The members raise their concerns and problems, which they resolve after everyone has answered the above questions. The challenges and concerns are usually maintained in a scrum of scrum backlog.
Scrum of scrums backlog is a simple list of outstanding concerns that the members of the scrum meeting either view significant to address or that they are keeping records for other purposes.
Benefits of a Scrum of Scrums
- Streamlines collaboration
The scrum core team works together and interface with the stakeholders to create and validate the deliverables of a project, to meet the goals outlined in a project version.
- Easier for considerable companies to implement a scrum methodology
Scrum of scrums improves the response times and productivity of a company. It involves frequent reviewing of the progress of each team and making changes to target the goals and fit the changing needs.
- Every member stay informed
During the scrum of scrums meeting, each team member attends the meeting, and everyone is given equal time to share their views and challenges. After the meeting, they share with their team members what they discussed and work on their project to ensure success.
- Facilitates consensus
The main goal of the scrum of scrums is to ensure every team agrees with the final decision they make. They resolve any conflict that may arise and ensure every team leader is satisfied with the rules set, thus creates consensus.
- Gives solutions to challenges that may arise
The scrum of scrums offers a means of solving new, unexpected developments that may affect multiple departments or groups.
- Reinforces each team’s roles
Every team is usually allocated a role in a project that the company is dealing with. During the meeting, the scrum master reminds each team leader of their role, keep them on the course, and ensure they don’t drift in another team’s lane.
Example/Application of Scrum of Scrums
An IT company was working on a vast, multi-dimensional project which had distributed teams. The company had multiple versions of its products in the market, and the customers were satisfied with the product. The software was already in the market, and customer’s complaints and issues accumulated, to which the company gave it a priority level to resolve them.
The team dealing with the newer version had to support the older version as this was part of the contract with the customers. The team had to multitask, working on a new version of the product while fixing bugs for the older software version and addressing the customer complaints.
The product owner had already polished the backlog for the software release. Thus, the team had to work on any new complaint that the customer raised. The result was increased complaints to the backlog, and every member left their current work to try and resolve the vast issues.
As a result of the mid-sprint changes, the team shifted their focus. There was unplanned work in the backlog and a delay in establishing and delivering the current project deliverables. The company was on the verge of failing and opted to adopt the scrum of scrums technique which resolved their problem and enabled them to deliver the current project. The scrums enabled them to develop two teams. One for dealing with issues on the earlier version, and the other dealt with current project sprints.
Each team produced three representatives who attended the scrum of scrums meetings. In the meeting, they discussed their achievements any impediments and came up with a solution. It helped to speed up the whole project, and they finally succeeded.
Scrum of Scrum is a commonly used technique and a key to improve the performance of an organization. The team members should be willing to learn and cooperate to ensure the success of their projects. They should identify their setbacks and try to find solutions to them during the meeting. Scrum of scrums enables each member to give their view and hence reach a conscience which is very significant in the success of any company whether large or small.