Role of Scrum of Scrums Meeting in Scaling Scrum

June 24, 2016

One of the major misconceptions or criticisms about Scrum is that it cannot be used to deliver large scale projects that have multiple large teams which are not collocated. And for Scrum to be effective, the teams should ideally be collocated and have six to ten members. However, this is not valid as Scrum can easily be scaled for effective use in large projects. In situations where the Scrum Team size exceeds ten people, multiple Scrum Teams can be formed to work on the project.

Complex projects with numerous large teams working in parallel make it necessary to synchronize and facilitate the flow of information and enhance communication for the project to be successful. Scrum uses one of its events or ceremonies to overcome this barrier, i.e., Scrum of Scrums (SoS) meeting. This meeting is usually facilitated by the Chief Scrum Master and is intended to focus on areas of coordination and integration between the different Scrum Teams.

SoS is a review meeting for all the Scrum teams involved in the project. The main purpose of this meeting is to communicate progress among multiple teams. Scrum Master from all teams attend this meet. The meeting is most effective when the Chief Scrum Master announces the agenda prior to the meeting. This prepares the participants to gather appropriate information and issues to be discussed.

Any impediments being faced by a team which may also affect other teams are brought up in this meeting. Teams get an overall view of the development of the project and redirect their efforts meaningfully. This review meeting plays a crucial role in identifying risks and change requirements of each team which in turn affects other teams’ line of work. This also brings to the forefront any production duplications that may occur because of the scale of the project. An impediment log is created stating internal and external impediments. This log helps in resolving issues systematically.

The Chief Scrum Master (or another Scrum Master who facilitates the Scrum of Scrum Meetings) is responsible for ensuring that all representatives have an environment conducive to openly and honestly sharing information, including feedback to other team representatives. This conducive environment plays a vital role in better communication and identification of important issues. It contributes greatly to the success of the project as a whole. The Chief Scrum Master should take care that all representatives speak their minds and do not reserve their issues and concerns which may later turn out to be costly. Updates are provided in the form of answers to four specific questions:

  • What has my team been working on since the last meeting?
  • What will my team do until the next meeting?
  • What were other teams counting on our team to finish that remains undone?
  • What is our team planning on doing that might affect other teams?

When these four questions are answered, following outcomes are achieved leading to successful project delivery: reduction in non-detection of risks, enhanced coordination among teams, continuous improvement, maintaining of team’s focus on achievement of project objectives, and reduction in need for redesign and rework.

Thus, a SoS is held to coordinate the interdependencies between the related projects. It may then be conducted to coordinate and manage dependencies across all projects.


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