Scrum of scrums
|Scrum of scrums|
|Methods and techniques|
Scrum of scrums is a technique that allows agile management of large projects, the scope of which prevents their implementation by a standard Scrum team of 3-9 people It is one of the methods of scaling agile methodologies by synchronizing bands, and its elements can be used to implement other scaling methods such as Less, SAFe or DAD. Just like other agile methodologies, the most popular application is the IT industry, but it can also be used in scientific and clinical research as well as in other high technology industries.
The genesis of Scrum of scrums
Scrum of scrums is an attempt to respond to the demand for large projects or programs using the Scrum methodology. The main goal remains the synchronization of several Scrum teams in a way that speeds up the implementation of the project, or does not interfere with the continuous increase in value in a program consisting of several related projects, without using additional processes and unnecessary bureaucracy. The idea assumes that Scrum as a set of frameworks and recommendations related to the process remains unchanged, only the context in which they are implemented changes.
Rules and practical implementation
In practice, the scaling technique uses selected ceremonies and Scrum artifacts, which, after scaling to a higher level, are used to synchronize many teams. First of all, it is the Daily Scrum meeting, an original planning meeting aimed at synchronizing the members of the development team to update the action plan and identify obstacles in the context of achieving the intended Sprint goal.
A team that becomes a team of leaders or ambassadors chosen by development teams and those who, according to the team, may be useful in planning, requires a scaling. Such persons may include internal suppliers, external and internal consultants, i.e. people who contribute to the project, but do not work in Scrum. An example of such internal consultants can be System Testers, representatives of the marketing department, or persons responsible for introducing DevOps practices and automation of processes related to software testing and installation.
The Scrum of Scrums meeting is used to synchronize many teams through regular meetings aimed at:
- communication of what has been done since the last SoS and may apply to other teams
- communication of what is planned for the next SoS and may apply to other teams
- identification of obstacles and problems
On this basis, the action plan is updated. If necessary, the Scrum artifact, which is the Backlog of tasks, is also scaled. The result of each SoS meeting is then an updated list of tasks enabling efficient synchronization of teams. In this situation, you can use the Kanban array to visualize the task status.
Often, however, interested in solving a given dependency or problem, organize another meeting in a small group of specialists for immediate solution. This is a very efficient operation and limits the amount of documentation, but it is not possible in any organization.
Scrum of scrums should be held regularly, but the frequency and duration of each meeting should be based on personal experience. Depending on the dynamics of tasks for some organizations, too frequent meetings will not be productive, for others even daily, 15-minute synchronizations will be necessary.
The organization and running of the meeting may be dealt with by the Scrum Master, however, often due to the presence among the leaders of business representatives or external suppliers, this role is too weakly anchored in the company's hierarchy. In this case, this task is usually entrusted to business representatives or Agile Coaches.
Team of teams
A particularly useful element of Scrum of Scrums as an independent technique for scaling agile management is to create a Scrum team for each area of the company's operations and to perform regular synchronizations at various levels.
An example of this is the simple scaling of synchronization meetings:
- Daily Scrum development team daily
- SoS team leaders every week
- SoS senior management staff every month
Such a team will work with each other primarily outside of the SoS meetings, because the update of the plan will indicate the dependencies and problems to be solved between the meetings. In addition to the synchronizing aspect, the aspect of team work comes into play, which is not only more efficient, but also more focused on providing value to the organization, not individual ambitions.
It is worth noting that such a team should be built in accordance with other Scrum values, and to develop efficient methods of team work, an experienced Scrum Master may be needed. Agile Coach working with the leaders or senior management of the company.
SoS in other scaling techniques
The synchronization and planning meeting can also be used in other, more formal, scaling techniques for agile management. In this case, they will be used primarily to improve project communication between Scrum teams. In accordance with the idea of agile software development, SoS as a meeting promotes direct communication by reducing formalities and bureaucracy. Some of the scaling techniques also directly use the idea of Scaling Backlog tasks, or creating a Team of Teams, responsible for providing appropriately rescaled business value.
- Beck, K., Beedle, M., Van Bennekum, A., Cockburn, A., Cunningham, W., Fowler, M.,... & Kern, J. (2001). The agile manifesto.
- Vlaanderen, K., Jansen, S., Brinkkemper, S., & Jaspers, E. (2011). The agile requirements refinery: Applying SCRUM principles to software product management. Information and software technology, 53(1), 58-70.
- Moe, N. B., Dingsøyr, T., & Dybå, T. (2010). A teamwork model for understanding an agile team: A case study of a Scrum project. Information and Software Technology, 52(5), 480-491.