September 2009


Scrum of Scrums practice can be used for large teams. When a team grows beyond 9-10 people you need to divide your team into sub-teams. Each sub-team will have their own sprint backlog and conduct their own daily stand-up meetings. To get the information flow to work between the sub-teams a coordination meeting (scrum of scrums meeting) is needed.

The Scrum of Scrums (SoS) meeting has roughly the same agenda as the normal Daily Scrum, but here it is the communication between the teams (sub-teams) that is addressed. One or two people from each sub-team meet 2-3 times per week. The meeting is typically not timeboxed since problem solving is also part of the meeting.  Each sub-team presents the following information:

  • What have we done since last SoS?
  • What do we plan to to until the next SoS?
  • What impediments are we struggling with?
  • Are we about to put something in another sub-team’s way?

At the end of the meeting this groups walks through the impediment list and tries to solve them. After the meeting the following happens:

  • The people from the sub-teams present the result from the SoS on their next daily Scrum meeting.
  • The Main Scrum Mastercan report current status to customer, management or steering group.
  • Impediment owner performs action to eliminated the impediment.

See also Advice on Conducting the Scrum of Scrums Meeting May 2007 published in Scrum Alliance Website.

Story based stand-ups can also be a technique to try if you have a larger team.

Boris Gloger has the following advice to run Scrum of Scrum meetings:

Here a my 3 Secrets to run them successful.

1. No ScrumMaster from the teams goes to the Scrum of Scrums = means, the team members goes to the Scrum of Scrums

2. Maintain a cross-team impediment backlog. You need a ScrumMaster to facilitate this meeting. I usually have a Super- ScrumMaster, Über-ScrumMaster, Master of ScrumMasters 😉 Call him as you like. f.e. Scrum Evangalist.

3. Ensure that the SoS makes sense to the teams. Again – impediments in this meeting needs to be raised, and solved until the next day. Either by the teams or by the Scrum Evangalist.

via 3 Secrets for good Scrum of Scrums.

InfoQ has an article with collected thoughts and experiences about Daily Scrums for large teams: InfoQ: Do Stand-ups Stand Up for Larger Teams?.

In the Scrum world people are committed or involved. See the Classic Story of the Pig and Chicken.

The Daily Scrum is for the Committed ones.

Committed and involved could be mapped to the ARCI designations for roles and responsibilities. This might help to map an agile process into a more formal or traditional organization.

  • Committed (pig) is the equivalent of A(ccountable) and R(esponsible)
  • Involved (chicken) is the equivalent of C(onsults) and I(nformed)

This CI or pig and chicken designation removes the problem of command and control by merging the doing, with the giving of orders. Committed designation allows for empowerment and its alter-ego self-organization. Committed allows for shared responsibility (in the common sense) and shared ownership. Everyone on the team, doing the work is committed and they are all jointly accountable.

via Chickens and Pigs.

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/max_westby/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Vanilla stand-up meetings may, in some cases, be a challenge to get them working. Remember the Dysfunctional Scrum Team!

Distributed teams makes this even harder. To start with the communication within the team requires services such as phone conferences and instant messaging. In addition to this, there are especially two  factors that makes these meetings difficult:

  • Time-zone differences
  • Language differences

Please look at the CPrime Blog for Daily Scrum Meetings for Distributed Teams how this can be handled.

Anyone tried Red card meeting during Daily Scrum?

In a red card meeting everyone is give a red and yellow card. When anyone feels that the ongoing conversation is not of any direct interest to them they hold up a yellow card. When they feel the ongoing conversation is not of any direct interest to anyone they hold up a red card. Depending on the meeting size, but for twelve people one red or three yellow cards triggers the next agenda item.

from Red Card Meetings.

Mattias Skarin has a similar technique to use the timeout sign: Stop runaway meetings with the timeout sign.

In the Rally Chalk Talks series, Jean Tabaka is talking about the Daily Stand-up meeting.

This is a presentation with the standard concepts: stand-up, short, non-problem-solving, etc. However, she has a interesting variant of the the the questions.

Jean alternative version of the classic three questions:

  • What did I commit to getting done yesterday?
  • Based on that, what can I commit to getting done today?
  • What is getting in the way of my commitments?

Some teams add a fourth question:

  • What new information have I brought since yeterday?

The purpose is to get more focus on the team member’s commitments.

These slides present guidelines how to run your daily stand-ups:

By Paul Jackson

A 1-minute animated introduction to the Daily Scrum by Agile Advocate.

The video clip provides brief answers to the following questions:

  • Why 15 minutes?
  • Why Stand Up?
  • What are the Daily Scrum rules?
  • What do people speak about at the Daily Scrum?
  • What is the role of the manager (?)
  • How do you keep things to 15 minutes?
  • How do you scale the Daily Scrum?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

via 1min Video Introduction to the Daily Scrum | Agile101.

Agile Stand Ups from Agile Advocate on Vimeo.

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