The regular Scrum-of-scrums is a good initial approach to handle communication between the sub-teams. However, this is not enough. A large team will probably need several coordination virtual sub-teams (forums):

  1. Impediment and progress coordination team. This is the plain scrum-of-scrums.
  2. Technical and Architecture coordination team. During these meetings technical dependencies and impediments are resolved.
  3. Integration team. This team is responsible for integration of all sub-teams results into a a single product.
  4. Product Owner team. All Product Owners from the sub-teams and Master Product Owner.

This is not new or unique to agile teams in any way. Large projects I worked in before the Agile era all had these types of coordination. The difference is that these coordination meetings or product integration will occur more often than in waterfall projects.

This approach is described by multiple people and blogs. Paulo Caroli writes:

We changed the SoS format. At this stage, we broke it into several SoSs: The PM SoS, the Dev SoS and the QA SoS. In fact the PM SoS called was named SoS: Scrum of Scrums. The Devs and QAs meetings had other names such as Dev hurdle and QA catch up. The PMs kept the SoS in a daily basis; the other roles varied the frequency of their catch up meetings.

The SoS became a PM update, but it was an essential (and quick) PM update. Actually, the SoS still kept the stand-up in circle format, which prevented the PMs form giving long updates (specially after standing up in each team stand up, and then in the SoS). Also the PMs were still focusing on answering the original 4 questions of the SoS

via Agile Tips: Three stages of the Daily Scrum.

Mike Cottmeyer presents his approach how to scale Scrum and how you might have different types of scrum-of-scrums in Leading Agile: Scrum of Scrums.

Mike also presents his ideas in this video:

Bruno Collet presents  a similar approach:

The organizational paradigms consist essentially in setting up one or more additional teams to deal with the issues mentioned above. These additional teams are:

  1. Coordination Team
  2. Integration Team
  3. Meta Team
  4. Support Team

via Organizational Paradigms to Scale Agile – PM Hut.

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/william-hamon/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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